Previous Issue Index Next Issue

What's Up, DOCumentation? 1996 #1


March 11, 1996

To: Users of Robelle Software
Re: News of the HP 3000 and of HP-UX, 1996 #1

What You Will Find in This News Memo:

Qedit Version 4.4 Released

We have completed distribution of the latest version of Qedit to supported customers. Qedit version 4.4 offers Browse mode to protect files from unplanned changes, as well as greater flexibility in editing several files at the same time. In addition, all these features are compatible with the latest upgrades to MPE/iX 5.0 and HP-UX 10.0.

Qedit now makes it easier to work with several files at once. The "New" command creates a scratch file, and "Verify Open" shows the names of the nine most recently opened files. A simple Open *-1, *-2, and so on, immediately opens the selected file; when used at the full-screen command line, this command immediately displays the file's current screen.

To protect files from unplanned changes, Qedit now offers Browse mode. As its name implies, Browse mode allows the user to look into files, but does not allow modifications and does not update the file's modification date.

All these enhancements to Qedit version 4.4 are compatible with the latest changes to MPE/iX 5.0 and HP-UX 10.0. As part of Hewlett-Packard's VAB Prep Program, Robelle has access to HP's pre-release operating systems. This allows us to keep Qedit up-to-date with all the latest operating system changes.

Product updates were automatically sent to customers with a current maintenance contract. If you haven't received your update, please give us a call. If your maintenance has lapsed, but you would like to upgrade to the latest version, please contact either Jennifer Mollan at Robelle or your local distributor to make arrangements to re-instate your maintenance contract.

News Tidbits

HP 3000 Web Server.

Duane Percox at Quintessential Software Systems tells us that they have developed QWEBS, a Web server for the HP 3000,

QWEBS, written by QSS, is a full-featured Web server designed for the HP 3000 and is unique in that it does not require POSIX or HFS support. It was written completely from scratch and is not a port from existing "c" based servers. QWEBS is designed to be used by those sites not interested in exploring the depths of POSIX and HFS (MPE/iX 5.0), but who desire to implement an internal network Web server (intranet) using the HP 3000 as the host.

Contact Duane if you would like more details, or visit their Web page at

Duane Percox (QSS) (415-306-1608, fax 415-365-2706)

Java: The New Kid in Town. By Paul Gobes

Java is a new object-oriented programming language based on C++ with some of the undesirable features removed and new features added (kind of a C++-+).

Its main claim to fame is its ability to write little programs called applets that can be put on a server's Web site, and downloaded and run on the client's machine. Java requires the client to have a Java-enabled Browser (e.g., Netscape Navigator 2.0) and an operating system that supports multitasking (e.g., Windows 95, Windows NT, but not Windows 3.11).

This feature, which makes the World Wide Web a dynamic rather than a static environment, has excited a lot of people and generated a great deal of interest in Java. There is no doubt that adding this capability to the Internet will be a major feat, but there are still some obstacles to Java's acceptance:

The next year should be an interesting one for Java and its competitors. Both IBM and Oracle are jumping on the bandwagon, and many Web sites are already talking about adding Java applets.

Popular SMUG Book Now on the Web

On February 12, 1996 we joined the ranks of Internet publishers when we launched the popular SMUG Book on the World Wide Web. Long time users of Robelle software will remember the little blue book we gave away at the San Antonio Interex conference in 1982. These SMUG II Microproceedings instantly became collectors' items (translation: we ran out). At the Washington, DC conference in 1985, we gave away the SMUG IV Pocket Encyclopedia, full of HP 3000 tips, hints and warnings. Neil Armstrong got us interested in resurrecting the SMUG Book for the 1995 Toronto conference. When we weren't able to complete the work in time for the conference, we decided it would be fun to publish it on the Web instead.

This newest edition of the SMUG Book contains something for everybody: tips for those migrating from MPE to UNIX (e.g., cross-referencing MPE and UNIX commands), explanations of UNIX acronyms, how to tell where a command is located, file security on UNIX, and much more. The "MPE Tips, Techniques and Traps" section includes topics such as "capability bits" (what does PS capability give you?), what does MR access mean, debugger command reference, and designing IMAGE databases. The SMUG Book also includes book reviews and ideas on how to improve software quality. All these topics are contained in over 100 HTML files on our Web server. David Greer, president of Robelle, says, "The SMUG Book can help anyone involved in development on any platform."

This fifth edition of the SMUG Book is available on the Web at The SMUG Book is also available as a self-installing Windows Help file which can be downloaded from our FTP server at

We will be handing out printed copies of the latest SMUG Book at the HP World '96 conference in Anaheim. Around August of 1996, we also plan to send a copy to all Robelle customers who have a current maintenance agreement for one of our products.

Technical Tips

Year 2000.

As the DP industry gears up to cope with the year 2000, related resources are appearing on the World Wide Web. We've found a good starting point at "The Year 2000 Information Center" ( IBM also has a Year 2000 page at

If you prefer information by e-mail or you do not have Web access, you can subscribe to the Year 2000 newsgroup. Send an e-mail message with the text "subscribe year2000" to

Manuals for Robelle Products on MPE.

In addition to the printed manuals that we supply with product updates, and the WinHelp files we provide on diskette and on update tapes (in the Whelp.Robelle group), we also provide a facility for you to print your own manuals. This is especially important for users of our Bonus and QLIB programs because these manuals are not available in WinHelp format.

To print your own manuals, run the Printdoc.Pub.Robelle program. You will be presented with a menu showing each of our major products, as well as a Bonus and QLIB option. Use the menu and submenus to select product manuals, and answer the questions regarding printer type and font. Printdoc also supports printing documents on attached printers. Customers at remote sites are warned that printing a Qedit manual over a 9600-baud modem may be slow! Be sure to configure Reflection to "Bypass Windows Printing" and "Disable Printer Translation".

Limiting a Program's Execute Priority on MPE.

Some weeks back, there was some discussion on the HP3000-L list about a Linkedit feature that we never knew about. We learned that you can restrict the maximum priority of a program with the following commands:

      >altprog xyzzy;maxpri=<somepri>

This goes some way to addressing one of our outstanding Suprtool enhancement requests, which is to provide a facility that limits Suprtool's run priority to minimize the effect on other users. Note that you can also specify the priority on the Run command:


This functionality applies to all MPE programs, not just to Suprtool.

Finding E-mail Addresses.

Finding e-mail addresses for people can be a problem. We have found an indispensable resource in Four11 (as in 411) directory services. Four11 allows you to search with one or more of the following pieces of information: first name, last name, city, state, country, and group connection. Four11's only requirement is that you register with them. They undertake not to sell your e-mail address or name to anyone. Visit them at

Correction to Windows 95 Certification.

In our previous newsletter, we listed the requirements for vendors to display the Windows 95 logo. We forgot one important requirement: the application must be certified to run under Windows NT. Our apologies for this oversight.

About Robelle

Canadian Price Increases.

Our Canadian prices will be increasing by approximately 8%, starting July 1, 1996. For more information, contact Jennifer Mollan, our Customer Accounts Manager, at 1-800-561-8311.

100,000 and Going Strong!

If you are reading a paper copy of this newsletter, chances are it has been through the hands of Pat Lathwell, the Martha Stewart of our mail room. Pat keeps statistics on almost everything, and last week she surprised us with the news that she has mailed over 100,000 What's Up DOCumentation? newsletters and associated enclosures since she joined Robelle in 1989. Way to go, Pat!

Robelle at Midnight Lights.

Midnight Lights is the name of the International Hewlett-Packard User Conference that the Finnish User Group (FINUG) will host from June 10 to 12 this year. The conference will take place aboard a luxury cruise ship, which will visit Helsinki, Stockholm, and Tallinn during the three-day conference. David Greer will attend the conference and present his popular paper Client/Server, the Internet, and WWW, as well as Qedit and Suprtool tutorials.

Robelle at APS Conference.

Paul Gobes will be representing Robelle at the APS User Conference in Austin, Texas from April 14 to 16. On Tuesday the 16th of April, he will present a session at 9:30 a.m. on recent and upcoming changes to Suprtool.

Robelle Products: Problems, Solutions, and Suggestions

Suprtool Version 3.7

Library Opportunity.

On May 23 and 24 we are offering our popular, two-day Suprtool for MPE training session at Robelle's main headquarters near beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia. There is no shortage of personal attention in these courses because space is limited to only four attendees. We anticipate filling this course quickly, so don't hesitate to call if you are interested. For more information, contact Rosemary Van Poelgeest, Training Coordinator, at 1-800-561-8311.

Robelle also offers private training at customer sites. If you have several individuals who need training, this group option would be more cost effective than individual training. Call Rosemary for details.

Suprtool 3.6.06 and MPE/iX 5.0 Express 3.

Suprtool versions 3.6.05 and 3.6.06 will not work with the latest release of IMAGE C.06.07, which is distributed with the "Express 3" release of MPE/iX 5.0. The following error is returned when accessing a dataset:

      > GET <dataset>
      Error: Internal error calling SUPRINFO
      Turboimage error at $0014dfd8; Return status = -91
      DBInfo, mode 206, on <dataset> of <dbname>
      Root file (database) not compatible with current TurboImage Intrinsics

If you still have one of these versions of Suprtool, we recommend that you upgrade to a more current version.

Using Dbedit for Mass Updates.

One frequently-requested enhancement for Suprtool comes from users who wish to update a dataset from a table of values. In other words, they have a file that contains two fields: one is the key field of the dataset and the other one is the new value for another field in the record.

Currently, Suprtool cannot do this sort of dynamic update in one pass. However, Suprtool and Dbedit can be used together to deliver the goods. The trick is to establish the pattern of prompts and responses for Dbedit, and to create a file with all the correct responses in the correct sequence.

To run Dbedit, you first need to run Suprtool, enter the Base command, and then enter the Edit command to invoke the Dbedit program. The Modify command

      MODIFY dataset:itemname

initiates a series of prompts for keyvalue, new fieldvalue, keyvalue, new fieldvalue, and so on. If the dataset has more than one key, Dbedit prompts for all keys (the default). You can override this default by specifying the key field for retrieval in the Modify command:

      MODIFY dataset:itemname;key=keyfield

Dbedit continues to prompt until it receives a null (blank) response or a "//" when prompting for a new keyvalue.

Start by building a file and initializing it with the required Suprtool and Dbedit commands:

      :build file1;rec=-60,,f,ascii;disc=1000
      :file file1,old
      :echo  base store,1,writer >> *file1
      :echo  edit >> *file1
      :echo  modify m-customer:cust-status  >> *file1

Now use Suprtool's List command to load a file with the sequence of keyvalue and fieldvalue responses to Dbedit's prompts. Suprtool will send its listing to the Suprlist file, which has a default capacity of 1023 records. If your task is larger than that, it will be necessary to override the file size:

      :file suprlist;disc=5000
      SUPRTOOL/iX/Copyright Robelle Solutions Technology Inc. 1981-1996.
      > input custab                    {the "table file"}
      > define acct,1,8
      > define stat,9,2
      > extract acct, stat
      > list oneperline norec noname noskip dev disc
      > xeq
      IN=4, OUT=4. CPU-Sec=1. Wall-Sec=1.

Now append this data to the file that we constructed in the first step:

      > in suprlist
      > out file1,append
      > xeq
      Warning:  >OUTPUT has different record size.
      IN=8, OUT=8. CPU-Sec=1. Wall-Sec=1.
      > exit

Our file now contains the commands necessary to start Dbedit and to respond to the data prompts. We now need to end the prompt sequence with a blank line, then exit Dbedit and Suprtool:

      :echo  >> *file1                   {a blank line}
      :echo  exit >> *file1              {exit Dbedit}
      :echo  exit >> *file1              {exit Suprtool}

Finally, run Suprtool using the file as the source of input commands:

      :run < file1
      SUPRTOOL/iX/Copyright Robelle Solutions Technology Inc. 1981-1996.
      > base store,1,writer
      > edit
      DBEDIT/iX/Copyright Robelle Solutions Technology Inc. 1984-1996.
      Current: <default>
      # modify m-customer:cust-status
      Modify within File: M-CUSTOMER
          CUST-ACCOUNT       >04003302_
      Enter new values (or <return> to leave as is):
          CUST-ACCOUNT       =4003302
           CUST-STATUS       =20
      CUST-ACCOUNT    = 4003302        CUST-STATUS     = XX
      Modify within File: M-CUSTOMER
          CUST-ACCOUNT       >44444444_
      Enter new values (or <return> to leave as is):
          CUST-ACCOUNT       =44444444
           CUST-STATUS       =20
      Modify within File: M-CUSTOMER
          CUST-ACCOUNT       >_________      {Blank ends prompting}
      # exit
      Return to SUPRTOOL
      Base STORE,1
      > exit

Qedit Version 4.4

Improvement to the Add Command.

Qedit 4.4 has a nice new feature that lets you specify the text that you want to add as part of the Add command itself. In the past, if you wanted to add a new line with the text "Hello World" after the current line, you did this:

      /add *
      Hello World

With the new syntax you can do all of this on one line.

      /add * "Hello World"

The big advantage on MPE comes when you are writing a Qedit command file that has to do an Add operation. In the past you had to somehow store the text that you wanted to add in some other file, then do an Add-From-File. For example,

      :beginfile myfile
      :Hello World
      /add * = myfile

With this new method, you can add only one line at a time. To add more than one line, just use multiple Add commands.

Word Processing with Qedit.

Let's be frank, monsieur, Qedit is no Word for Windows. But it does have some nice features for formatting text, which can come in handy when you have to prepare program documentation.

The Justify command can reformat text into paragraphs. The Spell command can check your spelling.

Here is an example:

   /list 10/15
      10     You should wriet down the information below and
      11     see the manual's trouble shooting
      12     section for information on resolving this problem.
      13     If the suggestions in the manual do not help, call
      14     the suport line for further asistance.

Use the Justify command to reformat it into paragraphs that are up to 53 columns wide, squaring off both margins and putting two spaces after periods:

   /justify both margin 53 two on 10/15
      10     You should wriet down the information below  and  see
      11     the manual's trouble shooting section for information
      12     on resolving  this  problem.   If the suggestions  in
      13     the manual do not help,  call  the  suport  line  for
      14     further asistance.

Now let's check the spelling of our Pulitzer prize-winning text:

   /spell 10/15
      10     You should wriet down the information below  and  see
      13     the manual do not help,  call  the  suport  line  for
      14     further asistance.
   6 lines Spell-checked
   3 misspellings

The Spell command has highlighted the mistakes which we need to correct by hand. Problem: we don't know the correct spelling of "asistance". Solution: the Word command's sound-alike search (denoted by "!").

   /word "asistance!"
   word      : asistance
   soundex   : accosting
             : accusations
             : accustoms
             : acquisitions
             : assistance
             : assisting
             : associating
             : associations
             : augustness
   9 matches

Creation Date: Mar 15, 1996
[Robelle] [Qedit] [Suprtool]
Previous Issue Index Next Issue