Sat, Apr
5 New Articles

TechTalk: External Printer Files vs. O-specs

  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

External Printer Files vs. O-specs

From: Ted Holt To: All

I sometimes use externally defined printer files, and sometimes I use O-specs. Here is one difference I've come across. I would like you guys to take a look at this to make sure that I'm not missing something.

I was working on a change to the MAPICS purchase order (PO) print program. As it is, the QTYORD (quantity ordered) field is defined as 10 digits, three of which are decimal positions. We buy everything in whole units, so my purchasing agent asked me if I could change the PO so it wouldn't print decimal positions. He has a good reason for this. He's afraid that eventually somebody is going to get one of our POs and mistake the decimal point for a comma. It would be bad for one of our suppliers to interpret 15.000 (fifteen) as 15,000 (fifteen thousand), for example.

I could, of course, redefine QTYORD as 7,0, and that's probably what I'll wind up doing; but my first impulse was to do what I'd do if the MAPICS program used O-specs. I'd overlay the last four positions of QTYORD with blanks as shown in 1.

I could, of course, redefine QTYORD as 7,0, and that's probably what I'll wind up doing; but my first impulse was to do what I'd do if the MAPICS program used O-specs. I'd overlay the last four positions of QTYORD with blanks as shown in Figure 1.

This has the advantage that I wouldn't have to monkey around with the calculations.

So I tried that with the printer DDS (2).

So I tried that with the printer DDS (Figure 2).

Of course, the decimal point and digits still printed, since QTYORD prints, and then blanks print over it.

I'm not bringing this up to start a debate over printer DDS versus O-specs. I'm just mentioning that it's a difference that I'd never thought about. As far as I can tell, there is no way to do in DDS what I've done in the O-specs given above. True?

From: Art Tostaine To: Ted Holt

I had the same type of problem on my Purchase Order print, except that we wanted to print the decimals if they were there, or just print the whole number if they weren't. With externally described printer files, I defined two output fields-one as 9.4, and one as 5.0. I used an indicator (yeccch!) to decide which one to print in the DDS.

From: Ted Holt To: Art Tostaine

I don't know what your code looks like, but the printer files in MAPICS are chock full of indicators. It's hard for me to find an indicator they haven't already used; and if I do find an unused indicator, I have no guarantee they won't decide to start using it in a future release.

For several years now, I've avoided using indicators at the field level in Output specs, so I'm also avoiding them in externally defined printer files. I wish the fine folks in the MAPICS programming department in Atlanta shared my philosophy.

From: Ernie Malaga To: Ted Holt

One solution would be to define a(7 0) field in the printer file and Z-ADD QTYORD to it before WRITEing the record.

From: Ted Holt To: Ernie Malaga

That's what I wound up doing. I would have liked to have avoided that, since it meant I had to modify and recompile the RPG program in addition to the printer file. Had I been able to overlay the decimal positions with blanks, I would only have had to modify and recompile the printer file.

From: Ernie Malaga To: Ted Holt

Could you create another record format in the printer file, almost identical to the record you're now using? It seems to me that then you could make the decision in the RPG program about which version of the record format to use. This would save you from having to deal with any indicators.

From: Ted Holt To: Ernie Malaga

That would have involved even more modification to the RPG program. There are six printer files in the program. Two of them are real; the other four have to be overridden to the two real ones. This means that lots of record formats are renamed in the continuation F-specs. I would still have had about the same number of modifications in the C-specs.

The simplest thing was what you suggested. I only had to modify a few lines of DDS in the printer file and add a few lines to the RPG program (Z-ADDs, as you mentioned). I didn't have to fool with any indicators.

TechTalk: External Printer Files vs. O-specs

Figure 1 Overlaying an Output Field With O-Specs

 ... 1 ...+... 2 ...+... 3 ...+... 4 ...+... 5 ...+ O QTYORD 58 O 58 ' ' 
TechTalk: External Printer Files vs. O-specs

Figure 2 Attempting to Overlay Output With DDS

 ... 1 ...+... 2 ...+... 3 ...+... 4 ...+... 5 ...+ A QTYORD 10 3 47EDTCDE(P) A 55' ' 


Support MC Press Online

$0.00 Raised:

Book Reviews

Resource Center

  • SB Profound WC 5536 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. You can find Part 1 here. In Part 2 of our free Node.js Webinar Series, Brian May teaches you the different tooling options available for writing code, debugging, and using Git for version control. Brian will briefly discuss the different tools available, and demonstrate his preferred setup for Node development on IBM i or any platform. Attend this webinar to learn:

  • SB Profound WP 5539More than ever, there is a demand for IT to deliver innovation. Your IBM i has been an essential part of your business operations for years. However, your organization may struggle to maintain the current system and implement new projects. The thousands of customers we've worked with and surveyed state that expectations regarding the digital footprint and vision of the company are not aligned with the current IT environment.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT Generic IBM announced the E1080 servers using the latest Power10 processor in September 2021. The most powerful processor from IBM to date, Power10 is designed to handle the demands of doing business in today’s high-tech atmosphere, including running cloud applications, supporting big data, and managing AI workloads. But what does Power10 mean for your data center? In this recorded webinar, IBMers Dan Sundt and Dylan Boday join IBM Power Champion Tom Huntington for a discussion on why Power10 technology is the right strategic investment if you run IBM i, AIX, or Linux. In this action-packed hour, Tom will share trends from the IBM i and AIX user communities while Dan and Dylan dive into the tech specs for key hardware, including:

  • Magic MarkTRY the one package that solves all your document design and printing challenges on all your platforms. Produce bar code labels, electronic forms, ad hoc reports, and RFID tags – without programming! MarkMagic is the only document design and print solution that combines report writing, WYSIWYG label and forms design, and conditional printing in one integrated product. Make sure your data survives when catastrophe hits. Request your trial now!  Request Now.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericForms of ransomware has been around for over 30 years, and with more and more organizations suffering attacks each year, it continues to endure. What has made ransomware such a durable threat and what is the best way to combat it? In order to prevent ransomware, organizations must first understand how it works.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericIT security is a top priority for businesses around the world, but most IBM i pros don’t know where to begin—and most cybersecurity experts don’t know IBM i. In this session, Robin Tatam explores the business impact of lax IBM i security, the top vulnerabilities putting IBM i at risk, and the steps you can take to protect your organization. If you’re looking to avoid unexpected downtime or corrupted data, you don’t want to miss this session.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericCan you trust all of your users all of the time? A typical end user receives 16 malicious emails each month, but only 17 percent of these phishing campaigns are reported to IT. Once an attack is underway, most organizations won’t discover the breach until six months later. A staggering amount of damage can occur in that time. Despite these risks, 93 percent of organizations are leaving their IBM i systems vulnerable to cybercrime. In this on-demand webinar, IBM i security experts Robin Tatam and Sandi Moore will reveal:

  • FORTRA Disaster protection is vital to every business. Yet, it often consists of patched together procedures that are prone to error. From automatic backups to data encryption to media management, Robot automates the routine (yet often complex) 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:

  • FORTRAManaging messages on your IBM i can be more than a full-time job if you have to do it manually. Messages need a response and resources must be monitored—often over multiple systems and across platforms. 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:

  • FORTRAThe thought of printing, distributing, and storing iSeries reports manually may reduce you to tears. Paper and labor costs associated with report generation can spiral out of control. Mountains of paper threaten to swamp your files. Robot 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:

  • FORTRAFor over 30 years, Robot has been a leader in systems management for IBM i. With batch job creation and scheduling at its core, the Robot Job Scheduling Solution reduces the opportunity for human error and helps you maintain service levels, automating even the biggest, most complex runbooks. Manage your job schedule with the Robot Job Scheduling Solution. Key features include:

  • LANSA Business users want new applications now. Market and regulatory pressures require faster application updates and delivery into production. Your IBM i developers may be approaching retirement, and you see no sure way to fill their positions with experienced developers. In addition, you may be caught between maintaining your existing applications and the uncertainty of moving to something new.

  • LANSAWhen it comes to creating your business applications, there are hundreds of coding platforms and programming languages to choose from. These options range from very complex traditional programming languages to Low-Code platforms where sometimes no traditional coding experience is needed. Download our whitepaper, The Power of Writing Code in a Low-Code Solution, and:

  • LANSASupply Chain is becoming increasingly complex and unpredictable. From raw materials for manufacturing to food supply chains, the journey from source to production to delivery to consumers is marred with inefficiencies, manual processes, shortages, recalls, counterfeits, and scandals. In this webinar, we discuss how:

  • The MC Resource Centers bring you the widest selection of white papers, trial software, and on-demand webcasts for you to choose from. >> Review the list of White Papers, Trial Software or On-Demand Webcast at the MC Press Resource Center. >> Add the items to yru Cart and complet he checkout process and submit

  • Profound Logic 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.

  • SB Profound WC 5536Join us for this hour-long webcast that will explore:

  • Fortra IT managers hoping to find new IBM i talent are discovering that the pool of experienced RPG programmers and operators or administrators with intimate knowledge of the operating system and the applications that run on it is small. This begs the question: How will you manage the platform that supports such a big part of your business? This guide offers strategies and software suggestions to help you plan IT staffing and resources and smooth the transition after your AS/400 talent retires. Read on to learn: