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Chapter 9: Customizing Your Environment

This chapter describes the wide range of customizations you can make to core Mainframe Express functionality so that you can work exactly as you want to. This chapter does not describe the customizations you can perform in all Mainframe Express modules. Where a module, such as Data File Editor or the BMS Painter, has its own customization preferences, they are described in the chapter describing that module.

The areas of core functionality that you can customize in Mainframe Express are as follows:

9.1 Customizing the Mainframe Express Interface

Mainframe Express contains a number of areas of functionality whose behavior you can change to suit the way you work. You can break these areas down as follows:

9.1.1 Customizing the Keyboard

By default, there are various keyboard shortcuts for operations you use most commonly when developing your applications. You can add your own keyboard shortcuts for operations, delete current shortcuts or modify shortcuts. You can save keyboard shortcut schemes to a file, which you can load at any time. This enables you to use particular keyboard shortcuts schemes with particular projects. There are two predefined schemes that you can load: one is for Micro Focus-defined shortcuts, the other for Microsoft-defined shortcuts. By default, Microsoft-compatible keyboard shortcuts are used in Mainframe Express.

9.1.2 Customizing the Toolbar

The default toolbar contains buttons for the operations you use most often when developing your applications. There are, however, more toolbar buttons available than are shown on the default toolbar. You can customize the toolbar to make use of these additional buttons, to remove buttons that you use less often and to reorder the buttons.

9.1.3 Customizing Workspace Options

There are some miscellaneous areas of the interface's behavior that you can customize to suit the way you work:

9.1.4 Customizing Fonts

By default, your files use the Courier New font, with a size of 10 points for display. This font enables you to see a large number of lines in the editing window at one time and is easy to read.

If, however, you find that the font is too small, too large or you want to use a different font altogether, you can change the following:

9.1.5 Adding Custom Tools

Mainframe Express includes a large number of integrated tools and utilities to help you develop and maintain your applications. You are also able to integrate other tools into the Mainframe Express interface.

If you have an application you want to invoke from Mainframe Express, you can create an additional menu item for this application on the Tools menu. You can even define submenu structures if you have a number of related tools you want to add. Once added to the Tools menu, the menu item behaves exactly like any of the standard Mainframe Express menu items - click it to perform your application.

When specifying the details for the application to be invoked from the Tools menu, you can use replaceable parameters to modify how the application is invoked or to change the menu item on the Tools menu. These replaceable parameters are expanded depending on the current file or project when you click on the menu item. They are listed in full in the online help, along with the filters you can use to make sure a replaceable parameter returns only the information in which you are interested.

9.1.6 Customizing Colors

As you edit your COBOL programs, you can select their various parts more easily by displaying different areas of syntax in different colors. For example, if you are interested in filenames, you can specify that they are displayed in a very noticeable color scheme.

One of the categories you can color is "Vocabulary or Unrecognized", which means that the word is not a COBOL reserved word or was not defined as a data item or procedure when the program was last compiled. By defining a markedly different color for "Vocabulary or Unrecognized", you can quickly tell when you have mistyped a data item, procedure-name or reserved word. Any foreground color on a non-white background is useful for this category.

9.2 Customizing Editing

There is a wide range of editing features that you can customize, from the clipboard used when you cut and paste text to the margins used for a particular file type:

9.2.1 Customizing Editing Profiles

The purpose of a profile is to enable you to specify behavior, such as margins and tab settings, for files with certain extensions. There are four editing profiles provided by default - COBOL, DOCUMENTS, SYSTEM and COBSQL. You can add others of your own.

The files that you work with belong to one of these profiles, the file's extension determining which of the profiles it is asociated with. For example, any file with an extension of .cpy, .cbl, .cpb or .cob has the COBOL profile associated with it and uses the settings defined for that profile. Similarly, any file with the extension .txt or .doc uses the settings defined for the DOCUMENTS profile.

One of the common means of moving around a file in Mainframe Express is to move to the next (or previous) word, using Ctrl+cursor-right (or Ctrl+cursor-left). When you move to the next word, Mainframe Express positions the cursor on the character following the next space. If there is no such character on the current line, Mainframe Express positions the cursor in the first column of the following line. In an editing profile you can specify characters other than a space to denote the end of a word, for instance a comma. In this case, Mainframe Express moves to the next or previous comma instead of word.

9.2.2 Customizing General Editing and Selection Behavior

You can change a number of the default settings you use when editing your files. The editing behavior preferences you set apply to all editing profiles and can be broken down into the following categories: Rubbing Out, Deleting and Margin Behavior

There are several ways of deleting text:

You can change the behavior of Rubout, Delete and Cut so that: Inserting and Pasting

You can customize inserting and pasting so that: Handling Files

You can customize the way that files are handled, so that: Block Selection Behavior

You can choose what happens when you drag the mouse over some text. It can do one of the following:

Note: You must drag in the prefix area to select whole lines. If you drag across out of the prefix area into the editing area, you select a rectangle of text. Although this rectangle may include all the text on all the lines, it does not include the whole lines.

9.2.3 Customizing Clipboards

By default, any text that you cut or paste to the clipboard uses the Windows system clipboard. The text that you move to this clipboard is available to all other applications running on your computer.

You can use more than one clipboard. As well as the system clipboard, there are nine local clipboards for you to use. These local clipboards are owned by the IDE's editor; you cannot use the contents of these clipboards in other applications. However, you can use any of them while editing, which means you can have a different piece of text in each of the nine local clipboards.

9.2.4 Customizing Autofix

The Autofix facility enables Mainframe Express to correct your common typing mistakes automatically. By specifying a list of words that you sometimes mistype and the correct spellings for them, you can type the misspelled versions and have them automatically corrected.

An additional use for this feature is to save you typing in long words. For example, instead of typing in long-data-item-name-12 you could type l12 and let Autofix substitute the text for you.

9.2.5 Customizing Source Views

For customizing editing windows, you can specify whether:

9.3 Customizing Printing

Because different printers have different capabilities and settings, printing your files might require some work to ensure that the file printed matches the setup of your printer.

You can choose:

9.4 Customizing Execution and Debugging Behavior

There are a number of settings you can change to control exactly what happens when you debug an application. The settings are global to all applications and are concerned with the following:

9.5 Customizing Program Compilation

You can use Compiler directives to customize the way in which your programs are compiled. A sensible set of directives is used by default. You can change how the Compiler works by specifying different directives.

There are four places where you can specify Compiler directives in a project, depending on how widely you want the directives to operate within the project:

Any Compiler directives you specify act only on files in the current project and are saved when the project is saved.


When you are compiling a COBOL program from the command line, specify Compiler directives as parameters to the COBOL command. You can also put the directives in a directives file and use the name of the file as a parameter to the COBOL command.

9.6 Rearranging Views and Dockable Windows

The following sections describe the ways in which you can move, resize, hide and redisplay your windows.

9.6.1 Moving and Docking Windows

You can reposition windows in all the standard ways you expect within Windows, for example by dragging their title bars.

You can attach windows to the edge of the main Mainframe Express window. This is known as docking. Windows that are not docked are known as floating windows. You can usually double-click to dock and undock windows. However, you might need to enable docking by right-clicking and checking Allow docking.

9.6.2 Resizing, Hiding and Redisplaying Windows

You can resize windows in the standard way that you expect within Windows, by dragging one of its borders. You can also adjust the width of the columns in a tabular display, by dragging the edges of each column heading.

In addition, you can hide many of the windows and retain the information you have set up in them. When you need to see the window again, you redisplay it on the View menu.

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