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The API Corner: Intercepting Inquiry Messages

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Learn how to write an inquiry-handling exit program.

 

This is the third in a series of articles related to inquiry messages. The first two articles, "Beyond Watches" and "Validating Inquiry Message Responses," introduced the use of the reply-handling exit point QIBM_QMH_REPLY_INQ. With this exit point, you are able to validate the reply and, if you want, change the reply after the end user responds to an inquiry message. The current article introduces another exit point in the system. This exit point, QIBM_QMH_HDL_INQEXT, allows you to intercept an inquiry message before the end user is involved. That is, your exit program can directly provide the appropriate response without any operator involvement.

 

This exit point, new with V6R1, is documented here.

 

Based on the RNQMGR program used in "Validating Inquiry Message Responses," the sample program RNQINT, RNQ Intercept, is provided below:

 

dRNQInt           pr                  ExtPgm('RNQINT')          

d CallType                      10i 0 const                     

d QualMsgQName                  20    const                     

d MsgKey                         4    const                     

d MsgID                          7    const                     

                                                                 

dRNQInt           pi                                            

d CallType                      10i 0 const                     

d QualMsgQName                  20    const                     

d MsgKey                         4    const                      

d MsgID                          7    const                     

                                                                

dSndRply          pr                  extpgm('QMHSNDRM')        

d MsgKey                         4    const                     

d QualMsgQName                  20    const                     

d ReplyText                  65535    const options(*varsize)   

d LenReplyText                  10i 0 const                

d RmvMsg                        10    const                

d QUSEC                               likeds(QUSEC)        

d CCSID                         10i 0 const options(*nopass)

d AllowReject                   10    const options(*nopass)

                                                            

dRcvMsg           pr                  extpgm('QMHRCVPM')   

d Receiver                       1    options(*varsize)    

d LenReceiver                   10i 0 const                

d Format                         8    const                

d CSE                           10    const                

d CSECtr                        10i 0 const                

d MsgType                       10    const                

d MsgKey                         4    const                

d WaitTime                      10i 0 const                

d MsgAction                     10    const                

d ErrCde                              likeds(QUSEC)        

d LenCSE                        10i 0 options(*nopass) const  

d QualCSE                       20    options(*nopass) const  

d CSEType                       10    options(*nopass) const  

d CCSID                         10i 0 options(*nopass) const  

d AlwDftRpyRjct                 10    options(*nopass) const  

                                                               

dSndMsg           pr                  extpgm('QMHSNDM')       

d MsgID                          7    const                   

d QualMsgF                      20    const                   

d MsgDta                       100    options(*varsize) const 

d LenMsgDta                     10i 0 const                   

d MsgType                       10    const                   

d MsgQNames                     20    const                   

d NbrMsgQNames                  10i 0 const                   

d RpyMsgQ                       20    const                   

d MsgKey                         4                            

d ErrCde                              likeds(QUSEC)           

d CCSID                         10i 0 options(*nopass)           

                                                                 

dPSDS            sds           429    qualified                  

d MsgID                  40     46                               

d JobName               244    253                               

d JobUsr                254    263                               

d JobNbr                264    269                               

                                                                 

 /copy qsysinc/qrpglesrc,qmhrcvpm                                

 /copy qsysinc/qrpglesrc,qusec                                   

                                                                 

dMsgInfo          ds                  based(MsgPtr) qualified    

d MsgHdr                              likeds(QMHM010001)         

                                                                 

dRNQ_Msg          ds                  based(MsgRplDtaPtr)        

d Procedure               1     10                                

d PgmName                11     20                               

d Library                21     30                          

d Statement              31     40                          

                                                             

dMsgQName         ds                                        

d NtfyQ                         10    inz('PGMR')           

d NtfyQLib                      10    inz('QGPL')           

                                                             

dMsgTxt           s            256                          

dMsgPtr           s               *                         

dMsgRplDtaPtr     s               *                         

dInqMsgKey        s              4                           

                                                            

 /free                                                      

                                                            

  monitor;                                                  

                                                             

  if ((MsgID = 'RNQ0100') or                                

      (MsgID = 'RNQ0102') or                                       

      (MsgID = 'RNQ0103') or                                        

      (MsgID = 'RNQ0121'));                                        

                                                                   

     if PSDS.JobUsr = 'JOE_PGMR';                                  

        // Do not notify support or set response when inquiry      

        // message is from developer working on new code           

                                                                   

     else;                                                         

        MsgTxt = (MsgID + ' in job ' +                             

                  %trimr(PSDS.JobName) + '/' +                     

                  %trimr(PSDS.JobUsr) + '/' +                      

                  %trimr(PSDS.JobNbr));                            

                                                                    

        QUSBPRV = 0;                                               

                                                                   

        // Determine size of information available with inquiry    

        // message, allocate that storage, and then receive all      

        // information related to the message                        

                                                                     

        RcvMsg(QMHM010001 :%size(QMHM010001) :'RCVM0100' :'*EXT'     

               :0 :'*ANY' :MsgKey :0 :'*SAME' :QUSEC);               

        MsgPtr = %alloc(QMHBAVL02);                                  

                                                                     

        if MsgPtr <> *NULL;                                          

           RcvMsg(MsgInfo :QMHBAVL02 :'RCVM0100' :'*EXT' :0          

                  :'*ANY' :MsgKey :0 :'*SAME' :QUSEC);               

                                                                      

           if MsgInfo.MsgHdr.QMHDRTN00 >= 30;                        

              MsgRplDtaPtr = MsgPtr + %size(QMHM010001);             

              MsgTxt = %trimr(MsgTxt) + ' running program ' + PgmName;

                                                                      

              select;                                                

                 when (CallType = 1);                                

                      select;                                      

                         when PgmName = 'ABC001';                 

                              SndRply( MsgKey :QualMsgQName       

                                      :'D' :1 :'*NO' :QUSEC);     

                              MsgTxt = %trimr(MsgTxt) +           

                                       ', option D taken.';       

                         other;                                   

                              SndRply( MsgKey :QualMsgQName       

                                      :'C' :1 :'*NO' :QUSEC);     

                              MsgTxt = %trimr(MsgTxt) +           

                                       ', option C taken.';       

                      endsl;                                      

                 other;                                           

                      MsgTxt = %trimr(MsgTxt) + 'CallType ' +     

                               %char(CallType) + ' found.';       

              endsl;                                               

                                                                  

           else;                                                   

              MsgTxt = %trimr(MsgTxt) + ' running program *N';     

           endif;                                                   

           dealloc MsgPtr;                                         

                                                                   

        else;                                                      

           MsgTxt = %trimr(MsgTxt) + 'Storage problem in RNQINT';  

        endif;                                                     

                                                                   

        SndMsg(' ' :' ' :MsgTxt :%len(%trimr(MsgTxt)) :'*INFO'     

               :MsgQName :1 :' ' :InqMsgKey :QUSEC);               

                                                                   

     endif;                                                        

  endif;                                                            

                                                                   

  on-error;                                                        

     MsgTxt = 'RNQINT failure with message ' + PSDS.MsgId +        

              ' in handling initial error ' + MsgID;          

     SndMsg(' ' :' ' :MsgTxt :%len(%trimr(MsgTxt)) :'*INFO'   

            :MsgQName :1 :' ' :InqMsgKey :QUSEC);             

  endmon;                                                     

                                                               

  *inlr = *on;                                                

  return;                                                     

                                                              

 /end-free                                                     

Assuming that the QSYSINC library (option 13 of the operating system) is installed on your system, you can create the program RNQINT into library VINING using the CRTBNDRPG command:

 

CRTBNDRPG PGM(VINING/RNQINT)

 

To have the RNQINT program in library VINING called whenever an inquiry message is sent to an interactive job's external message queue, you use the Add Exit Program (ADDEXITPGM) command:

 

ADDEXITPGM EXITPNT(QIBM_QMH_HDL_INQEXT) FORMAT(INQE0100) PGMNBR(*LOW) +

     PGM(VINING/RNQINT)

 

To stop the system from calling the RNQINT program, you can use the Work with Registration Information (WRKREGINF) command:

 

WRKREGINF EXITPNT(QIBM_QMH_HDL_INQEXT) FORMAT(INQE0100)

 

Option 8 (Work with exit programs) from the displayed panel will then show you all exit programs that are called for the exit point. From here, you can then use option 4 (Remove) for the entry showing the exit program RNQINT in library VINING.

 

The vast majority of the logic seen in RNQINT is the same as in RNQMGR. The key differences are the:

 

  • parameters passed to RNQINT
  • use of the Send Reply Message (QMHSNDRM) API

 

Rather than the eight parameters passed to RNQMGR, RNQINT receives four parameters. The four parameters are the call type, the qualified message queue where the inquiry message is located, the message key, and the message ID. In V6R1, call type is always set to a value of 1, indicating that an inquiry message needs a reply. Likewise, the qualified message queue name is always set to the value *EXT, indicating that the inquiry message is located in the job's external message queue. The message key and message ID parameters are used in the same manner as they are in the RNQMGR exit program.

 

Several of the parameters that were passed to the RNQMGR program when using the reply-handling exit point are related to the exit program returning a new reply value for the inquiry message. The RNQINT program does not need these parameters as it uses the Send Reply Message (QMHSNDRM) API, which is documented here. Where RNQMGR sets the Reply, LenReply, and ReplyAcnCode variables to the appropriate values, RNQINT simply calls the QMHSNDRM API to provide a reply to the inquiry message.

 

When calling QMHSNDRM, the first parameter identifies the message key associated with the inquiry message. This value was passed to RNQINT as the third parameter when the exit program was called by the system exit point. The second parameter is the qualified message queue name where the inquiry message is located. This value was passed to RNQINT as the second parameter when the exit program was called. The third parameter passed to QMHSNDRM is the reply value that RNQINT has determined by examining the message replacement data for the inquiry message. If the program encountering the RNQ failure is ABC001, a dump is requested using a reply value of D. If the program is not ABC001, then the program is cancelled using a reply value of C. The fourth parameter passed to QMHSNDRM is the length of the returned reply value: 1 in both the case of a dump or cancel request. The fifth parameter indicates whether or not the inquiry message, and the program's reply to the inquiry message, should be removed from the message queue. The value *NO indicates that the message should not be removed. The sixth parameter is the standard error code structure found with most system APIs.

 

And that's it! You have now automated responses to the four selected RNQ inquiry messages, eliminating the need for an end user to respond to the error situation. And you've done so using an exit program that can respond with different replies, depending on the specific error and error-related data.

 

One usage note, however, is worth pointing out. When you are using the inquiry-handling exit point, the reply-handling exit point, discussed in the previous articles, still applies. That is, your inquiry-handling exit program (RNQINT) may send a reply to the inquiry message that the reply-handling exit program (RNQMGR from the previous article) changes (or rejects though the RNQMGR program as written does not take advantage of this reject capability). In this situation, various messages, including escape messages, may be sent to the inquiry-handling exit program. The introduction to the inquiry-handling exit point provides additional details on what messages may be sent and under what circumstances.

 

In the case of a rejected reply, RNQINT, as written, will send a message to the message queue QGPL/PGMR because of the active monitor. The end user would then be presented with the original inquiry message. The easy way to avoid this situation is to make sure both the inquiry-handling exit program and the reply-handling exit program are in agreement on how specific messages should be handled. Alternatively, RNQINT could re-call the QMHSNDRM API with a different reply, one that hopefully the reply handler would accept.

 

If you have any API questions, send them to me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. I'll see what I can do about answering your burning questions in future columns.

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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    SB_Profound_WC_GenericWhen it comes to IBM Rational Open Access: RPG Edition, there are still many misconceptions - especially where application modernization is concerned!

    In this Webinar, we'll address some of the biggest myths about RPG Open Access, including:

    • Modernizing with RPG OA requires significant changes to the source code
    • The RPG language is outdated and impractical for modernizing applications
    • Modernizing with RPG OA is the equivalent to "screen scraping"

     

  • Time to Remove the Paper from Your Desk and Become More Efficient

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericToo much paper is wasted. Attempts to locate documents in endless filing cabinets.And distributing documents is expensive and takes up far too much time.
    These are just three common reasons why it might be time for your company to implement a paperless document management system.
    Watch the webinar to learn more and discover how easy it can be to:

    • Capture
    • Manage
    • And distribute documents digitally

     

  • IBM i: It’s Not Just AS/400

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_Generic

    IBM’s Steve Will talks AS/400, POWER9, cognitive systems, and everything in between

    Are there still companies that use AS400? Of course!

    IBM i was built on the same foundation.
    Watch this recorded webinar with IBM i Chief Architect Steve Will and IBM Power Champion Tom Huntington to gain a unique perspective on the direction of this platform, including:

    • IBM i development strategies in progress at IBM
    • Ways that Watson will shake hands with IBM i
    • Key takeaways from the AS/400 days

     

  • Ask the RDi Experts

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericWatch this recording where Jim Buck, Susan Gantner, and Charlie Guarino answered your questions, including:

    • What are the “hidden gems” in RDi that can make me more productive?
    • What makes RDi Debug better than the STRDBG green screen debugger?
    • How can RDi help me find out if I’ve tested all lines of a program?
    • What’s the best way to transition from PDM to RDi?
    • How do I convince my long-term developers to use RDi?

    This is a unique, online opportunity to hear how you can get more out of RDi.

     

  • Node.js on IBM i Webinar Series Pt. 2: Setting Up Your Development Tools

    Profound Logic Software, Inc.Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application. In Part 2, Brian May teaches you the different tooling options available for writing code, debugging, and using Git for version control. Attend this webinar to learn:

    • Different tools to develop Node.js applications on IBM i
    • Debugging Node.js
    • The basics of Git and tools to help those new to it
    • Using NodeRun.com as a pre-built development environment

     

     

  • Inside the Integrated File System (IFS)

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericDuring this webinar, you’ll learn basic tips, helpful tools, and integrated file system commands—including WRKLNK—for managing your IFS directories and Access Client Solutions (ACS). We’ll answer your most pressing IFS questions, including:

    • What is stored inside my IFS directories?
    • How do I monitor the IFS?
    • How do I replicate the IFS or back it up?
    • How do I secure the IFS?

    Understanding what the integrated file system is and how to work with it must be a critical part of your systems management plans for IBM i.

     

  • Expert Tips for IBM i Security: Beyond the Basics

    SB PowerTech WC GenericIn 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

    Don't miss this chance to take your knowledge of IBM i security beyond the basics.

     

     

  • 5 IBM i Security Quick Wins

    SB PowerTech WC GenericIn today’s threat landscape, upper management is laser-focused on cybersecurity. You need to make progress in securing your systems—and make it fast.
    There’s no shortage of actions you could take, but what tactics will actually deliver the results you need? And how can you find a security strategy that fits your budget and time constraints?
    Join top IBM i security expert Robin Tatam as he outlines the five fastest and most impactful changes you can make to strengthen IBM i security this year.
    Your system didn’t become unsecure overnight and you won’t be able to turn it around overnight either. But quick wins are possible with IBM i security, and Robin Tatam will show you how to achieve them.

  • How to Meet the Newest Encryption Requirements on IBM i

    SB PowerTech WC GenericA growing number of compliance mandates require sensitive data to be encrypted. But what kind of encryption solution will satisfy an auditor and how can you implement encryption on IBM i? Watch this on-demand webinar to find out how to meet today’s most common encryption requirements on IBM i. You’ll also learn:

    • Why disk encryption isn’t enough
    • What sets strong encryption apart from other solutions
    • Important considerations before implementing encryption

     

     

  • Security Bulletin: Malware Infection Discovered on IBM i Server!

    SB PowerTech WC GenericMalicious programs can bring entire businesses to their knees—and IBM i shops are not immune. It’s critical to grasp the true impact malware can have on IBM i and the network that connects to it. Attend this webinar to gain a thorough understanding of the relationships between:

    • 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.