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Spool Files - What is the method called?

Posted on 2004-04-01
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Last Modified: 2011-09-20
I'm not even sure how to ask this question... but here goes...

I am processing files that come to me in various forms, but when I get them to a
usable state, the look something like this...

003   THIS IS MY NAME
     1  THIS IS MY ADDRESS
     1  THIS IS MORE ADDRESS
     1  MY CITY,   STATE   ZIP
     2  SUBJECT:  SOME SUBJECT TEXT
015   BODY:
     2  --------------------------------------------
030   --------------------------------------------
003   THIS IS MY NAME
     1  THIS IS MY ADDRESS
     1  THIS IS MORE ADDRESS
     1  MY CITY,   STATE   ZIP
     2  SUBJECT:  SOME SUBJECT TEXT
015   BODY:
     2  --------------------------------------------
030   --------------------------------------------


...which I interpret as the 3-digit number indicates an absolute line number while the 1-digit number is a vertical space (that number of times) relative to where you are.

It works great, but I don't know what this is called (the using of the 3-digit and 1-digit number for carriage control).  Are all Spool Files like this or is this a special thing.  Is there a name for this?

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Question by:vbPhil
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tliotta earned 200 total points
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I'm not sure it's "called" anything. These (probably) are spooled files that have been copied into physical files using the CPYSPLF command. If you can review the command, look at the [help] for the CTLCHAR() parameter. When CPYSPLF runs with CTLCHAR(*PRTCTL) specified, you'll get skip- and space-before values just as you describe them in the resulting records.

These values were originally sent to line printers. The printers would have belts with notches that corresponded with positions down a page. You'd "change forms" by changing belts as well as loading different paper. The three-digit numbers correspond to directing the printer to advance the page directly to a given line number. The one-digit numbers are simply space, double-space and triple space.

Depending on the defined number of lines per page, the current printing position on the page and the supplied three-digit number, the printer would advance to the position on the current page or advance to that position on the next page. E.g., if printing was already at line 40 on the current page and the supplied number was 030, the next line would print at line 30 of the next page.

Somewhat simplified, but that's the basics. The numbers are a holdover. They're less useful today, but still are used when saving spooled files for off-line storage or when shipping a spooled file to another iSeries via e-mail or other means. By reversing the process with something like CPYF TOFILE(*PRINT), the numbers help recreate the original spacing.
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by:vbPhil
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Thanks tliotta...

I was holding out for some more responses...  Your answer gave me the background to at least understand where these files are coming from.  It is still a little difficult to describe as a choice for people to select when processing incoming data.  Perhaps "Skip & Space" would be meaningful...?

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by:tliotta
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Ah, so you need something an AS/400 person would understand? or something any user might simply use as a label? For an AS/400 programmer or administrator-type person, [PRTCTL] might work, since the actual parameter value on the CPYSPLF command is CTLCHAR(*PRTCTL). PRTCTL=Printer control.

For a normal user, it possibly won't make much difference. They commonly don't see this kind of info anyway. Maybe something more generic like [Offline report format].

Tom
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