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Data Set Attributes

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000075611D
Original Publication Date: 1971-Oct-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Feb-24
Document File: 2 page(s) / 14K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Bandat, KF: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

Most existing programming systems impose naming restrictions on users. These restrictions are in many cases based upon the fact that intrinsic information about the contents of the data set must be included as a part of the name. These intrinsic characteristics of the data set are independent of the identity of the data set, and this artificial combination of characteristics and name cause unnecessary burden and lead to errors on the part of the users of these systems.

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Data Set Attributes

Most existing programming systems impose naming restrictions on users. These restrictions are in many cases based upon the fact that intrinsic information about the contents of the data set must be included as a part of the name. These intrinsic characteristics of the data set are independent of the identity of the data set, and this artificial combination of characteristics and name cause unnecessary burden and lead to errors on the part of the users of these systems.

Some systems do not have any naming restrictions but in general do not allow the assignment of attributes to a data set.

An example of the first type of system is the Time Sharing Option of Operating System/360, as described in the Command Language Reference Manual (form GC28-6732-1) pages 16 ff. An example of the second type is the APL system, as described in the APL 360 Users Manual (form SH20-0906-0) pages 2.2ff.

A new mechanism allows the attachment of attributes to a data set without requiring any naming restrictions. A consequence of this mechanism is that an unlimited number of attributes can be associated with a data set. A second part of this mechanism is the ability to refer to a data set, by any combination of attributes and its name. The attributes become pseudo names by which the data set can be found.

This idea separates naming from the attributes of a data set. The user is able to name a data set with any name; whatsoever, In addition he may attach attributes to the data set. Since these operations may be independently performed, the user is also free to change the attributes of the data set without changing the name or vice versa.

There is no longer any restriction on the number of attributes a data set may have, based on the maximum name length of the data set. In fact, there may be an unlimited number of attributes associated with any data set.

In searching for a data set in the system, it is possible to look for one satisfying a naming criterion or to look for one with a certain set of attributes or a combination of both.

For example, consider a hypothetical system in which the user wishes to reference a data set named XYZ, which is a FORTRAN source program. In a conventional system, the name of the data set might have been: XYZ.FORTRAN.SOURCE and each time the data set was referred to, it would...