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Automatic Data Base Dictionary CREATION and Maintenance During PROGRAM CREATION or Modification

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000047244D
Original Publication Date: 1983-Oct-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Feb-07
Document File: 2 page(s) / 15K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Batchelor, WL: AUTHOR [+3]

Abstract

In an effort to make computer systems easier to use it is common to lead an operator through an activity with a series of prompting messages. Such messages provide guidance to the operator for performance of the next sequential step, assist in the correction of errors, and help to specify format. While such messages have been effective in simple activities such as data entry or retrieval, they are inadequate where some form of program modification is required. For example, in previous systems having a number of different programs interacting with the same database, the various fields are defined in a dictionary. When a user attempted to generate a program which identifies a field that does not exist in the dictionary, previous systems would simply generate an error message.

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Automatic Data Base Dictionary CREATION and Maintenance During PROGRAM CREATION or Modification

In an effort to make computer systems easier to use it is common to lead an operator through an activity with a series of prompting messages. Such messages provide guidance to the operator for performance of the next sequential step, assist in the correction of errors, and help to specify format. While such messages have been effective in simple activities such as data entry or retrieval, they are inadequate where some form of program modification is required. For example, in previous systems having a number of different programs interacting with the same database, the various fields are defined in a dictionary. When a user attempted to generate a program which identifies a field that does not exist in the dictionary, previous systems would simply generate an error message. This system contains a built-in prompting sequence which requests from the user all of the necessary information to generate a dictionary entry for the new field and link the field to a file. The first listing shown below shows the system documentation existent at sign-on, including the data base defined fields which support the two existing jobs NEWHIRE and PAYROLL. The listing is obtained by signing on to the system and responding to the prompts. The first prompts show the functions available. The selected prompt would then generate a menu prompt including "Print System Documentation". When the operator completes the response to this prompt, the system would print the following:

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As shown above, the first listing shows the NEWHIRE job. The keyword column identifies MANNO as the file from which all the fields of the NEWHIRE job may be extracted with the exception of DEPNO which is defined as a keyed input type. The PAYROLL listing also requires only the MANNO file but includes several fields which are calculated (C) or keyed (K) but not saved (2). The dictionary within the data base is also shown. Every dictionary entry requires a field name, the attributes of the data in the field, i.e., size (WID), if numeric, the number of positions to the right of the decimal (DEC), whether the field is alphabetic or numeric (A/N) and the file to which the field belongs(KEYWORD). The following listings illustrate the generation of a new job "PERSONNEL". Three situations are addressed. The first involves a field which already exists as a part of an existing file. The second arises when a field is required which does not yet exist but is specified as an addition to an existing file. The third situation involves a field which does not yet exist and is part of a file which does not yet exist. PERSONNEL PROGRAM CREATION

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Line 1 prompts for the name of the first entry of the report. The response 'MANNO' is searched for in the dictionary of the data base. In this case 'MANNO' is found and is also the file name for which it is a field. The attributes of the...