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Chapter 10: Data Tools

This chapter lists differences in viewing and editing data files that might require you to change familiar methods of working when you move from COBOL Workbench to Net Express.

10.1 Overview

The Data File Editor, Data File Converter and Structure Editor are included in Net Express. Both have been extensively rewritten, but most of the differences are enhancements.

The structure file is now called the record layout file, and the Structure Editor is called the Record Layout Editor. Its user interface has been redesigned to improve usability. As in Workbench, you can load a record layout each time you open a data file.

Alternatively, you can associate a record layout with your data file so that each time you use the data file, Data File Editor finds the correct record layout. To associate in this way, you must save the record layout file in the same directory as the data file and give the record layout file the same base name as the data file but with a .str extension. There is no longer a Structure Catalog.

The Data File Editor has no command line options. Quick edit mode does not need to be set up - it is a default method of working with indexed and relative files. In addition to pulldown menus and toolbar buttons, you can see popup menus by right-clicking the record that you want to edit. These menus are context sensitive, only displaying options which are relevant for your file type.

The following changes have been made to the Data File Editor window:

10.2 Details

This section advises on what to use where a Data Tools feature is not in Net Express or has changed. Where we believe you can continue using a feature without change, it is not mentioned. This book does not cover enhancements.

10.2.1 Associating Record Layouts with Data Files

Facility in the Data Tools to enable record layout files and data files to be associated using a user defined text label.

Status in Net Express:

In Net Express, you must save the record layout file in the same directory as the data file and give the record layout file the same base name as the data file but with a .str extension.

10.2.2 Data Tools Interfaces

Interfaces to the Data File Editor and Data File Converter.

Status in Net Express:

Net Express continues to provide interfaces for editing data files (the Data File Editor) and converting data files (the Data File Converter).

Net Express includes the Workbench batch interface DFCONV to Data File Converter. Use run dfconv at the Net Express Command Prompt. You no longer get a dialog box asking you to specify a Load, Save, or Convert profile. Therefore, you must specify a profile as a command line parameter. The Load and Save options are not included.

10.2.3 Fileshare Support

Facility in Data File Editor to edit data files through a remote Fileshare server.

Status in Net Express:

Fileshare support is not included for the Data Tools. This is to be considered for a future release.

10.2.4 IMS Databases

Early Release facility in Data File Editor to view and edit data in an IMS database.

Status in Net Express:

Not included.

10.2.5 Profile Files

File to store file header details. Used by the Data File Editor and Data File Converter.

Status in Net Express:

Usable for backward compatibility.

To migrate your application:

If the file does not have a header, the Data File Editor looks for a profile (.pro) file and uses the information in that profile file, if such a file exists.

10.2.6 Record Layouts from Copybooks

Facility in the Data File Editor to create a record layout from a copybook.

Status in Net Express:

Copybooks are not included. In Net Express, record layouts are held in record layout files. You can create a record layout file by going into Project View and selecting the COBOL source file that contains the record layouts that you want to use in the Data File Editor.

10.2.7 Searching Data Files

Facility in Data File Editor to search in a data file.

Status in Net Express:

There are four methods of searching data files:

10.3 Frequently Asked Questions

This section answers questions that may arise in the course of migrating.

10.3.1 How do I start Data File Editor?

Data File Editor does not appear on a menu. In Net Express, opening or creating a file starts the correct editor for that kind of file automatically. Any of the following actions will start the Data File Editor:

10.3.2 How do I create a new data file?

Click New on the File menu and select Data File.

10.3.3 How do I create a record layout file?

From the Project View, right-click the COBOL source file that contains the layout you want to apply. Then click Create record layout on the popup menu.

10.3.4 How do I open a record layout file to edit it?

Click Open on the File menu and set the Files of Type field to Record Layout Files (.str).

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