February 2003 Technical Tip – Concatenated Datasets in ISPF

ISPF library names typically consist of three levels: project, group, and type. In many of the ISPF panels (such as edit, =2), you can concatenate up to four ISPF libraries with the same project and type, as follows:

ISPF Library:

Project . . U9999 Group . . . TEST____ . . . PROD____ . . . ________ . . . ________ Type . . . . COBOL Member . . . MYPGM (Blank or pattern for member selection list)

In this example, ISPF would first search U9999.TEST.COBOL for member MYPGM. If the member was not found in that library, it would search U9999.PROD.COBOL for the member. I have the option of specifying two additional libraries to be searched.

Let’s assume that member MYPGM is not found in TEST, but is found in PROD.The edit session would then open with that member. Of course, you are looking at the PROD version, since the TEST version does not exist. (One potential source of confusion is that the dataset name shown at the top of the screen will indicate that it is in the TEST library.) When the member is saved, it will be saved into the TEST library. The PROD version of the member will remain unchanged. Of course, any subsequent attempts to edit the member will retrieve the (new) TEST version.

This ISPF feature can have many benefits, not the least of which is a quick and dirty system of change control, assuming developers have read-only access to the PROD library.

ISPF is just a small part of the comprehensive curriculum we at Caliber Data Training offer as part of our mainframe bootcamps. We have extensive experience in managing all aspects of mainframe bootcamps. And you can choose from assembler, COBOL, or PL/I. So whether your needs are for one day of instructor led training or a full four week or eight week bootcamp, we hope you will consider us when deciding upon a training provider!

Go to the articles index. Written by Bill Qualls. Copyright © 2003 by Caliber Data Training 800.938.1222