Browse Prior Art Database

Flexible Formatting of Messages for Display

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000074731D
Original Publication Date: 1971-Jun-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Feb-23
Document File: 3 page(s) / 65K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Lawhead, TJ: AUTHOR

Abstract

In any terminal system, and particularly in a graphic system, there is a need for a means of prompting a user for information required by the system to do his work. The inquiries to the user may be for additional information, to correct information he has entered in error, or to advise him of system status. Some requirements of a prompting system are minimum core utilization and flexibility in formatting messages to be displayed. Minimum core utilization may be accomplished by using a single routine for formatting and displaying all messages generated by the system and also by maintaining all the basic text of messages in an indexed data set on secondary storage, hereinafter referred to as the messages data set.

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Flexible Formatting of Messages for Display

In any terminal system, and particularly in a graphic system, there is a need for a means of prompting a user for information required by the system to do his work. The inquiries to the user may be for additional information, to correct information he has entered in error, or to advise him of system status. Some requirements of a prompting system are minimum core utilization and flexibility in formatting messages to be displayed. Minimum core utilization may be accomplished by using a single routine for formatting and displaying all messages generated by the system and also by maintaining all the basic text of messages in an indexed data set on secondary storage, hereinafter referred to as the messages data set. The flexibility in formatting the messages is accomplished by allowing user generated text, hereinafter referred to as dynamic data, to be displayed either within, before, or after basic text from the messages data set, and by further allowing the concatenation of any number of basic messages and associated dynamic data up to the maximum capacity of the terminal display device.

Shown is the routine which will operate with the messages data set, the dynamic data, and the concatenated descriptor blocks to generate the message for display. The descriptor blocks may be of two types -- message blocks or dynamic data blocks. The blocks are flagged so as to indicate which type they are. Descriptor blocks describing text contained in the messages data set contain the index key to access the record in the data set. The length of the message record text is contained in the record. Blocks describing dynamic data contain the address and the length of the text in core storage. Also, the blocks contain a pointer to the next descriptor block. Finally, each descriptor block may be flagged after it has been used so that it will not be reused in the same message.

In operation, step 10 will cause the system to search for the first unused descriptor block. This search takes place by going through the descriptor blocks as each descriptor block points to the next descriptor block, until a descriptor block is found which has not been flagged as used. When the next unused descriptor block is found, the first decision 12 is whether the descriptor block refers to dynamic data or to a message in the message data set. If it is dynamic data, the system locates the text of the dynamic data in core storage (step 13). If the data block indicates it is message data, the system goes to the messages data set to retrieve the message record (step 14). After the appropriate text has been retrieved, the system proceeds to the next decision step 16 to check for the presence of an insert flag. Dynamic data will not contain an insert flag, whereas a message from the message data set may contain one or more insert flags. The insert flag will be in sequence in the text stream in the location where dynamic data is to be ins...