Previous Topic Next topic Print topic

The Portable Terminfo Utilities mftic and mfinfocmp

The UNIX operating system enables applications to handle terminal I/O from any terminal attached to the system, though each terminal can be of a different type with different capabilities. It does this using a database of terminal types, the terminfo database, that includes a file for each type of terminal. Each terminfo file holds details of the capabilities of the terminal-type identified by the filename. The details are stored in a machine-readable, compiled format that is specified in the entry for term(4) in your operating system documentation. The specification includes an initial generic portion and allows for a subsequent vendor-specific portion.

Each vendor's UNIX generally provides a utility, tic, that creates a terminfo file from human-readable parameters given in a terminfo "source" file and a utility, infocmp, that creates a terminfo source file from a compiled terminfo file. Both utilities assume the vendor-specific format for the terminfo file.

This COBOL system uses the terminfo database to handle any terminal I/O that your applications require. It uses the generic portion of the terminfo file and ignores any vendor-specific portion. It uses only some of the terminal capabilities that can be specified; some are mandatory and some are optional.

Two machines running UNIX from two different vendors and having identical terminal types attached can run the same COBOL application. This COBOL system can use an identical terminfo file on each machine. However, it can be difficult to exploit this capability if a UNIX vendor does not conform to the standard for the generic portion of the terminfo file or if a UNIX vendor adds a vendor-specific portion to the terminfo file that is inconsistent with that from other vendors.

You can solve this problem by using the COBOL system utilities mftic and mfinfocmp in place of the system utilities tic and infocmp. Both COBOL utilities can operate in the following two modes:

Micro Focus mode assumes that the terminfo file format comprises only the standard generic portion of the specification and that only the capabilities recognized by this COBOL system are present. This format is fully portable between different versions of UNIX; however, it might not include all the capabilities required by non-COBOL applications.

UNIX vendor-specific mode assumes that the terminfo format is fully compatible with the system tic and infocmp utilities. This format is generally not portable between different versions of UNIX, but it does enable you to define all the capabilities available to non-COBOL applications.

For a detailed description of the terminfo source and binary formats, including the list of capabilities your environment supports, see your operating system documentation. For a list of essential terminal capabilities required by the Micro Focus COBOL system, see Screen Handling Requirements.

Previous Topic Next topic Print topic