Browse Prior Art Database

Automated Mainframe Screen Navigation with Screen Scraping

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000122940D
Original Publication Date: 1998-Jan-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Apr-04
Document File: 2 page(s) / 49K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Chu, H: AUTHOR

Abstract

Disclosed is a technique that allows automated screen navigation with screen scraping. Screen scraping is a well-known approach that allows new applications to communicate with mainframe legacy system by reading and writing data via the character-based screens in the same manner as a human operator. One major problem with screen scraping is the need to maintain complicated screen navigation logic. This new technique is to address this problem.

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Automated Mainframe Screen Navigation with Screen Scraping

      Disclosed is a technique that allows automated screen
navigation with screen scraping.  Screen scraping is a well-known
approach that allows new applications to communicate with mainframe
legacy system by reading and writing data via the character-based
screens in the same manner as a human operator.  One major problem
with screen  scraping is the need to maintain complicated screen
navigation logic.  This new technique is to address this problem.

      In general, each screen can accept "commands" or
"data".  Commands include function keys (PF3, PF4, etc.) or
pre-defined command inputs (such as menu selections).  "Data" are
user inputs such as names or account numbers.  Commands and data
together define how screen navigation (transitions between screens)
happens.  Screen transition is usually slow.

      Screen navigation can be automated (i.e., without user
intervention) if no user input is required.  This can be called
"automatic screen navigations."  For example, navigating from any
screen to the main menu screen can often be automated if it involves
a sequence of PF3 keys.  In other cases where data input (such as
name and account number) is required, automated navigation is not
possible.

      The basic idea is to treat each screen as a "state" in a finite
state machine (with login screen as the "start" state), and treat
screen navigations as "state transitions."  A well-kn...