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The CL Corner: Clearing, Rather than Deleting, an IFS File

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Here's the command IBM should have given you but didn't.

 

In recent articles, starting with "Trying to Get a Handle on Your IFS?," we've seen how to automate the deletion of an IFS stream file when a file has not been used within a user-determined number of days. Rather than deleting a stream file, though, some companies would prefer to clear a stream file—similar to how the Clear Physical File Member (CLRPFM) command can be used to clear a database file member. Unfortunately, if you were to prompt generically for all commands that start with the letters CLR (that is, prompt for CLR*), you would find that there is not a Clear File (CLRF) or Clear Stream File (CLRSTMF) command on your system—or at least not one provided by the i operating system. For this reason, today's article will look at how to implement a CLRSTMF CL command.

 

Our CLRSTMF command will have one parameter: the path to the stream file to be cleared. In keeping with our previous commands, we'll start by defining prompt text for the command. Using the USERMSGF message file we've created in the past, add two message descriptions using the following commands.

 

ADDMSGD MSGID(FIL0001) MSGF(USERMSGF) MSG('Clear Stream File')

ADDMSGD MSGID(FIL0002) MSGF(USERMSGF) MSG('Stream file')

 

The command source, defined in member CLRSTMF of source file QCMDSRC, follows. 

 

CMD        PROMPT(FIL0001)                            

PARM       KWD(STMF) TYPE(*PNAME) LEN(1024) MIN(1) +  

             PROMPT(FIL0002)

 

One parameter, STMF, is defined. STMF is a required parameter and is defined as a path name with a rather arbitrary maximum length of 1024 bytes. To create the CLRSTMF command, specifying the program CLRSTMF as the command processing program (CPP), you can use the following CRTCMD command.                 

 

CRTCMD CMD(CLRSTMF) PGM(CLRSTMF) PMTFILE(USERMSGF)

 

The CPP source, stored in member CLRSTMF of source file QCLSRC, is shown below.

 

Pgm        Parm(&File_In)                                 

Dcl        Var(&File_In)    Type(*Char) Len(1024)         

                                                          

Dcl        Var(&File)       Type(*Char) Len(1025)         

                                                           

Dcl        Var(&Open_Flags) Type(*Int)                    

Dcl        Var(&Open_File)  Type(*Int)                    

                                                          

Dcl        Var(&Errno_Ptr)  Type(*Ptr)                     

Dcl        Var(&Errno)      Type(*Int) Stg(*Based) +      

                            BasPtr(&Errno_Ptr)            

Dcl        Var(&Errno_Chr)  Type(*Char) Len(4)            

Dcl        Var(&MsgID)      Type(*Char) Len(7)            

                                                           

Dcl        Var(&Write_Only) Type(*Int)  Value(2)          

Dcl        Var(&Truncate)   Type(*Int)  Value(64)         

Dcl        Var(&Null)       Type(*Char) Len(1) +                 

             Value(x'00')                                        

                                                                 

ChgVar     Var(&File) Value(&File_In *TCat &Null)                

ChgVar     Var(&Open_Flags) Value(&Write_Only + &Truncate)        

CallPrc    Prc('open') Parm((&File) +                            

                            (&Open_Flags *ByVal)) +              

                       RtnVal(&Open_File)                        

                                                                  

If         Cond(&Open_File = -1) Then(Do)                        

           CallPrc Prc('__errno') RtnVal(&Errno_Ptr)             

           ChgVar Var(&Errno_Chr) Value(&Errno)                  

           ChgVar Var(&MsgID) Value('CPE' *Cat &Errno_Chr)       

           SndPgmMsg MsgID(&MsgID) MsgF(QCPFMSG) +               

                     MsgType(*Escape)                            

           EndDo                                                 

                                                                  

CallPrc    Prc('close') Parm((&Open_File *ByVal))

EndPgm                               

 

If your system is V6R1 or later, you can create the CLRSTMF program using the command shown below.

      

CRTBNDCL PGM(CLRSTMF)

 

If your system is on a release prior to V6R1, you can create the program using the two following commands.

 

CRTCLMOD MODULE(CLRSTMF)

CRTPGM PGM(CLRSTMF) BNDDIR(QC2LE)

 

There are several ways you might clear a stream file. The approach used in this article is to call the Open File API (open), which is documented here. The open API requires two parameters: a path to the file to be opened and a set of values that define how the file is to be opened.

 

The path parameter passed to the open API requires that the path value be null terminated. So, as we did in the DIR3 program of previous articles, the CLRSTMF program first concatenates a null byte (&Null) to the path value that is passed as the &File_In parameter to the program. This null-terminated value is then stored in variable &File.

 

The program then sets the &Open_Flags variable to indicate how we want to open the stream file identified by the &File variable. The &Open_Flags parameter is defined as a 4-byte integer value (that is, it's 32 bits in size) where individual bits of the integer value are associated with options on how the file is to be opened. As an integer variable, the individual bits can be addressed as numeric values. For instance a value of 1 sets the 32nd bit "on," a value of 2 sets the 31st bit "on," a value of 4 the 30th bit, and so on. For the open API, the 31st bit, when on, indicates that the file is to be opened for output only; and the 26th bit when on that the length of the file is to be set to zero if the file exists when the open API is called. Setting the file length to zero is essentially clearing the file. To address these bits, the program declares two variables: &Write_Only, which, with a value of 2, corresponds to the 31st bit of an integer; and &Truncate, which, with a value of 64, corresponds to the 26th bit of an integer variable. To set these two bits to "on" within the variable &Open_Flags CLRSTMF simply adds &Write_Only and &Truncate, storing the result in &Open_Flags.

 

Having set the necessary values for the &File and &Open_Flags parameters, CLRSTMF now calls the open API passing &File and &Open_Flags. The open API returns an integer value that is referred to as a file descriptor. When the open is successful, this file descriptor can be used to access the opened file. When the open fails, the API returns a file descriptor value of -1.

 

If the open is successful (that is, the return value &Open_File is not -1), the program simply closes the file using the Close File or Socket Descriptor API (close), documented here, and returns. As the file has been cleared and we have no desire to write to the file (at this time anyway), our task has been accomplished.

 

The close API defines one parameter, which is the file descriptor identifying the file to be closed (&Open_File). It's worth noting that files opened by the open API are not automatically closed (unlike database files referenced by DCLF), so the call to close is necessary in order to free up resources associated with the open file.

 

If an error is encountered when calling the open API (the &Open_File value returned by the API is -1), the CLRSTMF program sends an escape message to the user, describing the failure. If, for instance, you ran the command CLRSTMF STMF('gone') and the file 'gone' did not exist, escape message CPE3025 (No such path or directory) would be sent.

 

Identifying what message to send is accomplished by using the errno API (__errno). Note that that there are two leading underscores in the API name. The open API, like most of the IFS APIs in an error situation, will provide additional information on the error through an integer value known as errno. To access this value, you call the __errno API. The __errno API has no parameters and returns a pointer to the errno value. This value, when concatenated with the message prefix 'CPE' identifies a message within message file QCPFMSG, providing textual information describing the error.

 

The CLRSTMF program, when the open API returns a &File_Open value of -1, does this error-related processing:

 

  • Calls the __errno API, which returns a pointer (&Errno_Ptr) to the most recent errno value
  • Converts the numeric &Errno value to a 4-byte character form (&Errno_Chr). Note that &Errno is declared as being based on &Errno_Ptr.
  • Concatenates the constant 'CPE' with &Errno_Chr, storing the result in variable &MsgID
  • Sends an escape message where the message is identified by variable &MsgID

 

In the above case (not finding the file 'gone'), the errno value set by the open API is 3025, resulting in escape message CPE3025 being sent. Depending on how you want a given program to work, you could also use the 3025 errno value to condition error recovery rather than send an escape message. In the case of a CLRSTMF CPP, sending an escape message does seem appropriate though.

More CL Questions?

Wondering how to accomplish a function in CL? Send your CL-related questions to me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. I'll try to answer your burning questions in future columns.

as/400, os/400, iseries, system i, i5/os, ibm i, power systems, 6.1, 7.1, V7, V6R1

Bruce Vining

Bruce Vining is president and co-founder of Bruce Vining Services, LLC, a firm providing contract programming and consulting services to the System i community. He began his career in 1979 as an IBM Systems Engineer in St. Louis, Missouri, and then transferred to Rochester, Minnesota, in 1985, where he continues to reside. From 1992 until leaving IBM in 2007, Bruce was a member of the System Design Control Group responsible for OS/400 and i5/OS areas such as System APIs, Globalization, and Software Serviceability. He is also the designer of Control Language for Files (CLF).A frequent speaker and writer, Bruce can be reached at bvining@brucevining.com. 


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    • Viruses, native objects, and the integrated file system (IFS)
    • Power Systems and Windows-based viruses and malware
    • PC-based anti-virus scanning versus native IBM i scanning

    There are a number of ways you can minimize your exposure to viruses. IBM i security expert Sandi Moore explains the facts, including how to ensure you're fully protected and compliant with regulations such as PCI.

     

     

  • Fight Cyber Threats with IBM i Encryption

    SB PowerTech WC GenericCyber attacks often target mission-critical servers, and those attack strategies are constantly changing. To stay on top of these threats, your cybersecurity strategies must evolve, too. In this session, IBM i security expert Robin Tatam provides a quick recap of IBM i security basics and guides you through some advanced cybersecurity techniques that can help you take data protection to the next level. Robin will cover:

    • Reducing the risk posed by special authorities
    • Establishing object-level security
    • Overseeing user actions and data access

     

     

     

  • 10 Practical IBM i Security Tips for Surviving Covid-19 and Working From Home

    SB PowerTech WC GenericNow that many organizations have moved to a work from home model, security concerns have risen.

    During this session Carol Woodbury will discuss the issues that the world is currently seeing such as increased malware attacks and then provide practical actions you can take to both monitor and protect your IBM i during this challenging time.

     

  • How to Transfer IBM i Data to Microsoft Excel

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_Generic3 easy ways to get IBM i data into Excel every time
    There’s an easy, more reliable way to import your IBM i data to Excel? It’s called Sequel. During this webinar, our data access experts demonstrate how you can simplify the process of getting data from multiple sources—including Db2 for i—into Excel. Watch to learn how to:

    • Download your IBM i data to Excel in a single step
    • Deliver data to business users in Excel via email or a scheduled job
    • Access IBM i data directly using the Excel add-in in Sequel

    Make 2020 the year you finally see your data clearly, quickly, and securely. Start by giving business users the ability to access crucial business data from IBM i the way they want it—in Microsoft Excel.

     

     

  • HA Alternatives: MIMIX Is Not Your Only Option on IBM i

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericIn this recorded webinar, our experts introduce you to the new HA transition technology available with our Robot HA software. You’ll learn how to:

    • Transition your rules from MIMIX (if you’re happy with them)
    • Simplify your day-to-day activities around high availability
    • Gain back time in your work week
    • Make your CEO happy about reducing IT costs

    Don’t stick with a legacy high availability solution that makes you uncomfortable when transitioning to something better can be simple, safe, and cost-effective.

     

     

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  • Backup and Recovery on IBM i: Your Strategy for the Unexpected

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Robot automates the routine tasks of iSeries backup and recovery, saving you time and money and making the process safer and more reliable. Automate your backups with the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution. Key features include:
    - Simplified backup procedures
    - Easy data encryption
    - Save media management
    - Guided restoration
    - Seamless product integration
    Make sure your data survives when catastrophe hits. Try the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Manage IBM i Messages by Exception with Robot

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Managing messages on your IBM i can be more than a full-time job if you have to do it manually. How can you be sure you won’t miss important system events?
    Automate your message center with the Robot Message Management Solution. Key features include:
    - Automated message management
    - Tailored notifications and automatic escalation
    - System-wide control of your IBM i partitions
    - Two-way system notifications from your mobile device
    - Seamless product integration
    Try the Robot Message Management Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Easiest Way to Save Money? Stop Printing IBM i Reports

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Robot automates report bursting, distribution, bundling, and archiving, and offers secure, selective online report viewing.
    Manage your reports with the Robot Report Management Solution. Key features include:

    - Automated report distribution
    - View online without delay
    - Browser interface to make notes
    - Custom retention capabilities
    - Seamless product integration
    Rerun another report? Never again. Try the Robot Report Management Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Hassle-Free IBM i Operations around the Clock

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413For over 30 years, Robot has been a leader in systems management for IBM i.
    Manage your job schedule with the Robot Job Scheduling Solution. Key features include:
    - Automated batch, interactive, and cross-platform scheduling
    - Event-driven dependency processing
    - Centralized monitoring and reporting
    - Audit log and ready-to-use reports
    - Seamless product integration
    Scale your software, not your staff. Try the Robot Job Scheduling Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • ACO MONITOR Manages your IBM i 24/7 and Notifies You When Your IBM i Needs Assistance!

    SB DDL Systems 5429More than a paging system - ACO MONITOR is a complete systems management solution for your Power Systems running IBM i. ACO MONITOR manages your Power System 24/7, uses advanced technology (like two-way messaging) to notify on-duty support personnel, and responds to complex problems before they reach critical status.

    ACO MONITOR is proven technology and is capable of processing thousands of mission-critical events daily. The software is pre-configured, easy to install, scalable, and greatly improves data center efficiency.