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Original Publication Date: 2000-Nov-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-20
Document File: 3 page(s) / 79K

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ISPF Table Comparison Tool

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ISPF Table Comparison Tool

Abstract: A method for comparing ISPF tables is disclosed. ISPF table information is a long stream of data, but it is physically stored as 80 byte records in a partitioned data set. Since the stored table is logically a large stream of data, it is not possible to use normal comparison tools to compare two versions of a table.

Background: Many interactive software applications within the IBM mainframe environment utilize IBM's "Interactive System Productivity Facility" (ISPF) software product to save data using ISPF services. ISPF allows applications to save table data in a table format that is particular to ISPF, so that it can be quickly presented to the application user through ISPF's table display services.

The table information that is stored consists of user data (which could be text or numeric) as well as internal control information that ISPF uses to manage the table. The table information is a long data stream, but it is physically stored as 80 byte records in a fixed block partitioned data set. Since the stored table is really a data stream, it is not possible to use normal comparison tools to compare two versions of a table. Inserting or deleting data near the beginning of the table would shift all subsequent data. When tables are compared using existing comparison tools, all of the 80 byte records after the changed data look like they have changed. In order to compare two tables, specialized software is required.

Summary of the Invention: A method is disclosed that allows two ISPF tables to be compared. The program to compare two ISPF tables consists of the routines that extract information from the ISPF table and save it into a partitioned data set. It also includes calls to ISPF service routines and a call to the 'SUPERC' program (a comparison tool).

Detailed Description: The following method is used to compare two ISPF tables:
1. The names of the two tables are provided by the user either as operands to the program for a batch invocation or by filling in the names of the table data sets and the table names in a panel displayed by the table comparison tool.
2. The program extracts the ISPF table data from each table and saves the data to two partitioned data sets. Table statistics and row data are saved as members of a partitioned data set. The method used to extract the data and to save it will be discussed in subsequent paragraphs.
3. The SUPERC program is called to compare the two partitioned data sets.

ISPF table statistics and the structure of the table are determined by using the TBSTATS and TBQUERY service calls. Table statistics are not part of the application data: they are us...