September 2005 Technical Tip - SyncSort: Reformatting variable length records

Last month I showed you how variable length records are stored on the mainframe. This month's scenario is as follows: you need to reformat a file with variable length records, dropping a part of the fixed portion of the record and keeping the entire variable portion. SyncSort can do this, and this article will show you how.

We will use our file from last month. Recall the file contains credit card information for four individuals. That data is shown here for convenience:

   File  Edit  Edit_Settings  Menu  Utilities  Compilers  Test  Help            
 EDIT       U0290.CREDIT.CARDS                              Columns 00001 00061 
 Command ===>                                                  Scroll ===> HALF 
 ****** ***************************** Top of Data ******************************
 =COLS> ----+----1----+----2----+----3----+----4----+----5----+----6-           
 000001 987BILL      QUALLS    035555VISA10002345MAST05001234DISC0100           
 000002 123RUBECCA   ALINIAZEE 011010VISA0000                                   
 000003 786ERIC      ALBERT    022323MAST01003434DISC9999                       
 000004 432JASON     ROGERS    017777DISC0750                                   
 ****** **************************** Bottom of Data ****************************

Note that record descriptor word (RDW) does not show while in edit: column positions do not include the RDW. But SyncSort requires the RDW be referenced, so we must add four (4) to the column positions.

The fixed portion of the record is in positions 1-25, the variable portion is in positions 26 and beyond. We want to pull the data in positions 1-3 and 24-25, and the entire variable portion (987, 03 and 035555VISA10002345MAST05001234DISC0100 in the first record, respectively.) The following JCL demonstrates the technique:

   File  Edit  Edit_Settings  Menu  Utilities  Compilers  Test  Help 
 EDIT       U0290.ISPF.CNTL(VB2VB) - 01.00                  Columns 00001 00072 
 Command ===>                                                  Scroll ===> HALF 
 ****** ***************************** Top of Data ******************************
 000001 //U0290V2V JOB (PRM,0,T),'BILL QUALLS',                                 
 000002 //  CLASS=A,MSGCLASS=T,TIME=(0,59),NOTIFY=U0290                         
 000003 //******************************************************                
 000005 //******************************************************                
 000006 //STEP010 EXEC PGM=IEFBR14                                              
 000007 //DEL1     DD DSN=U0290.CREDIT.CARDS.NONAME,DISP=(MOD,DELETE),          
 000008 //            UNIT=SYSDA,SPACE=(TRK,0)                                  
 000009 //******************************************************                
 000010 //*  USE SORT TO REFORMAT FILE. VB INPUT, VB OUTPUT    *                
 000011 //******************************************************                
 000012 //STEP020 EXEC PGM=SORT                                                 
 000013 //SORTIN   DD DSN=U0290.CREDIT.CARDS,DISP=SHR                           
 000015 //            UNIT=SYSDA,SPACE=(TRK,(1,1),RLSE)                         
 000016 //SYSOUT   DD SYSOUT=*                                                  
 000017 //SYSIN    DD *                                                         
 000018   SORT FIELDS=(5,3,CH,A) 
 000019   OUTREC FIELDS=(1:1,4,     RDW (SORT WILL ADJUST IT)                   
 000020      5:5,3,                 I WANT TO KEEP ACCT NBR AND                 
 000021      8:28,2,                NBR OF OCCURANCES (FROM FIXED PART)         
 000022      10:30)                 KEEP THE ENTIRE VARIABLE PART               
 000023 //******************************************************                
 000024 //*  DUMP VB OUTPUT                                    *                
 000025 //******************************************************                
 000026 //STEP030 EXEC PGM=IDCAMS                                               
 000027 //MYINPUT  DD DSN=U0290.CREDIT.CARDS.NONAME,DISP=SHR                    
 000028 //SYSPRINT DD SYSOUT=*                                                  
 000029 //SYSIN    DD *                                                         
 000030   PRINT INFILE(MYINPUT) DUMP                                            
 ****** **************************** Bottom of Data ****************************
Download file here.


  • SyncSort requires that the RDW be referenced in the OUTREC statement, but SyncSort will automatically adjust the RDW for each record to reflect the proper length.
  • Just as SyncSort can determine the change in the length of each record, it will automatically determine the appropriate LRECL, so the DCB need not be specified on the output DD statement.
  • When referencing the variable portion of the record, indicate its position, but no length.

The dump of the output file is as follows. You can see that the records are, in fact, the proper length.

LISTING OF DATA SET -U0290.CREDIT.CARDS.NONAME                                         
000000  F1F2F3F0 F1F1F0F1 F0E5C9E2 C1F0F0F0   F0                                    *123011010VISA0000               * 

000000  F4F3F2F0 F1F7F7F7 F7C4C9E2 C3F0F7F5   F0                                    *432017777DISC0750               * 

000000  F7F8F6F0 F2F2F3F2 F3D4C1E2 E3F0F1F0   F0F3F4F3 F4C4C9E2 C3F9F9F9 F9         *786022323MAST01003434DISC9999   *

000000  F9F8F7F0 F3F5F5F5 F5E5C9E2 C1F1F0F0   F0F2F3F4 F5D4C1E2 E3F0F5F0 F0F1F2F3   *987035555VISA10002345MAST0500123* 
000020  F4C4C9E2 C3F0F1F0 F0                                                        *4DISC0100                       * 

We can also view the file with ISPF panel 2: it's a little easier to read.

   File  Edit  Edit_Settings  Menu  Utilities  Compilers  Test  Help            
 EDIT       U0290.CREDIT.CARDS.NONAME                       Columns 00001 00041 
 Command ===>                                                  Scroll ===> HALF 
 ****** ***************************** Top of Data ******************************
 000001 123011010VISA0000                                                       
 000002 432017777DISC0750                                                       
 000003 786022323MAST01003434DISC9999                                           
 000004 987035555VISA10002345MAST05001234DISC0100                               
 ****** **************************** Bottom of Data ****************************

Want to know more about SyncSort? Give us a call! You can always count on Caliber Data Training for top quality education.

Go to the articles index. Written by Bill Qualls. Copyright 2005 by Caliber Data Training 800.938.1222