Aiding the Cause
The updated USERAIDS are tools that may benefit your shop
From "VS Workshop", Access to Wang, April 1991
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As you've probably heard, the collection of programs known as USERAIDS are back - as VSAIDS, distributed by the United States Society of Wang Users (USSWU). Those of you who have been around Wang VS systems have probably heard of the old USERAIDS; many shops still have a USERAID or USERAIDS library on their system. Those of you with less than a few years of contact are probably wondering if they're worth a look.
While it would be difficult to describe all of the files and their purposes - there are over 280 files in the collection presently - this review should give you some idea of what VSAIDS are and how they might be of benefit to your shop. Before reviewing the contents of the VSAIDS package let's review the purpose and scope of the collection.
VSAIDS are utilities for the VS. They perform tasks in system management, Word Processing integration, program development, and other areas. Most were written in the late 1970's and early 1980's to perform specific functions when no other tools existed for those purposes. Besides programs, the library contains sample procedures, subroutines, CONTROL and REPORT files, and data files.
In previous times the collection has been known as ISWUAIDS and USERAIDS, depending on who was distributing them. They were distributed by the International Society of Wang Users (ISWU) until August 1989, when distribution was halted. When USSWU decided to take on the support and distribution of the collection in March 1990, they renamed the updated library VSAIDS to avoid confusion with the older USERAIDS versions.
Regular maintenance by USSWU helps to ensure that the collection will remain effective for years to come. Nevertheless, VSAIDS are not commercial software; they do not offer the features and compatibility of quality software purchased from reputable software developers and require some time and practice to understand. In many cases they meet the job requirements well enough to justify the time spent getting acquainted with them.
USSWU offers three VSAIDS products. For shops with no USERAIDS libraries, the Initial Distribution Package (priced at $850) contains a tape of all current files and access to USSWU support services for one year. For those who already have USERAIDS library, the Support and Expansion package ($450 per year) allows access to the support services, including the ability to download more recent program versions from the On-Line Support system. Finally, individual programs can be purchased on 5-1/4" diskettes for $50 each.
The materials shipped with the Initial Distribution Package and the Support and Expansion package include the following:
Tape (Initial Distribution Package): A tape of the current collection in your choice of format: 9-track reel, 4-track cartridge, or 9-track streaming cartridge.
Documentation: A copy of my book, USERAIDS: A Guide To Low-Cost Software for Wang VS Systems.
File listing: An annotated listing of the files shipped, their characteristics, and a short description. Acts as a quick review of the contents of the collection and also shows file dependencies by grouping files.
Instructions for the On-Line Support system: Instructions for using the On-Line Support system. Includes a logon ID and password for your use.
Agreements: Distribution and subscription contracts.
Terminal emulation software: A copy of a Software Business Applications 2110 terminal emulation package (VS2110E) for use on the On-Line Support system and for file transfer.
Other items: A contribution form for submitting new programs and two brochures.
Purchase of support allows access to the USSWU On-Line Support system. Files can be copied from this system to the user's PC (and ultimately their VS) using the supplied 2110 terminal emulation and file transfer package. All VSAIDS are present on this system, and most can be run to see them in operation.
The USSWU support effort consists of three major activities: operating system support, problem resolution, and enhancements to the collection.
A major part of the VSAIDS support in the last year has gone to certifying compatibility with current operating systems. The first shipments of VSAIDS in March 1990 contained programs suitable for operating system release levels of 7.20 or below; the files shipped currently are certified for use with operating systems up to 7.30. "Downward compatibility" - the ability to use programs on older operating system - is a major goal of USSWU support; in some cases, it was necessary to provide different versions for 6- and 7-level operating system to retain this compatibility.
Problem resolution is handled by USSWU staff through the USSWU On-Line Support system, a dedicated VS 65 using Wang OFFICE. Users needing assistance with a program are encouraged to log on and leave a message for the support staff; the answer will normally be found by checking back later. Critical problems are addressed by telephone, though the USSWU support staff works part-time and cannot always be available for questions.
When USSWU took over distribution of the VSAIDS, many were marginally operational. Some required re-linking to new subroutines to function correctly on 7-level operating systems; others required program modifications. Major changes in Wang operating systems have made it necessary to rewrite some programs, while others required little or no modification. Source files are missing for some programs, and some may need to be written from scratch if deemed necessary.
The tape sent with the review copy contained recent versions of the older ISWU-distributed USERAIDS. The selection of programs was generally satisfactory, though some program versions were earlier than copies I have in my personal collection. All but a few worked on both 6- and 7-level operating systems without trouble, and separate versions for these two OS levels were sent in a few cases.
With over 180 modules to review, it is difficult to succinctly describe the functionality of the collection. Figure 1 (VSAIDS by Function) is a cross-reference of program function by name for those familiar with the program names; it should give you an idea of the breadth of the files present.
For those interested in newer items in the collection, Figure 2 (Recent Additions to VSAIDS Collection) lists and describes the programs added in the 7.30-compatible release currently shipped. Most of the files on this list represent new offerings in the collection; some are older items that were not previously distributed by USSWU.
Noticeably absent in the collection are the source files and Word Processing documents that ISWU sent with its full collection. The availability of source is of little use to most users - many of the programs are written in VS BASIC - and USSWU support alleviates most need for maintenance. USSWU has discussed providing source files on the On-Line Support system so that interested shops can download these files.
Some of the programs distributed by USSWU have been absorbed by Wang and are distributed with the operating system. Examples include CREATE, COMPARE, FILEDISP, and COPYWP. USSWU has decided to continue to distribute these older versions since some shops may have need for them.
There are also many programs in the collection with overlapping functions. In some cases only minor differences exist between several items. For example, the DISPMANY, DISPRINT, DL, and FSIDISPL programs all perform similar functions but differ in features. USSWU has decided to continue to support and distribute all of these programs.
The Initial Distribution Package contains instructions for the On-Line Support system, a user ID and password, and a brief description of the contents and use of the support system. Use of the support system requires a personal computer, Wang 2110 terminal emulation software, and a 2400-baud modem and telephone line. Wang OFFICE is used for this system, providing an understandable framework for communication.
The documentation provided consists of the Useraids book and an annotated file listing. Together they provide enough information for the determined user, but this process requires time to sift through the large number of items. First-time users should browse through the functional cross-references at the end of the book to narrow the selection process to their interests.
Though not shown in the documentation at the time of this writing, programs can be executed remotely on the USSWU system by pressing PF31 at the main OFFICE menu and entering the file, library and volume name. This is also the only means of running file transfer software to download files at present.
The approach you take to file transfer depends on the terminal emulation program you use. If you are using the SBA-supplied 2110 emulation software (VS2110E), files can be transferred by running VSPC2110 in library VSPC2110 on the SYSTEM volume; users of DPZ 2110 emulation software can use the MENU program in library DPZ on volume SYSTEM. Generic terminal emulation programs (ProCOMM, Crosstalk, Windows Terminal, etc.) can also be used by running VSPC2110 and selecting an industry-standard protocol from the options (e.g. XMODEM, XMODEM/CRC, YMODEM, or YMODEM/BATCH).
Once transferred to your PC, these VS files must be moved to your VS and converted for use there. Object files (programs) can be brought to the VS as 1024-byte consecutive files and converted to PROGRAM format using the CREATE utility. Consecutive files (program source, procedures, etc.) should be transferred as text files.
At present, the SBA VSPC2110 file transfer software (a VS product priced at $400) is the only means of converting any VS file type other than text, object, or documents - and only if the VSDMS format is chosen. Files transferred through these means retain all of the modification history and other characteristics they had on the original VS - a feature unique to SBA's products.
It is also impractical to consider large-scale file transfer using this setup. Program transfers at 2400 baud occur at approximately 10 VS file blocks per minute, requiring ten minutes or more to transfer many programs. In short, USSWU should re-think the entire issue of file transfers.
The Useraids book was written before USSWU began to maintain and distribute the collection. It provides adequate information for most programs, but does not cover the latest entries. In some cases, the versions documented in the book are not the same as those in the collection. USSWU has discussed the possibility of an update to this material - possibly including on-line reference files.
USSWU is hopeful that the collection will continue to grow in size, breadth, and quality. To help speed that process, they have begun a campaign to get new program entries with a contest for the best item submitted. They are also hopeful that the VS collection will be joined by libraries for PACE, WIIS, UNIX, OIS, and MS-DOS. User help and suggestions will be needed for these libraries.
Figure 1: VSAIDS by Function
The following list shows program names grouped in functional categories. The program names should be familiar to those with USERAIDS libraries. Shows the breadth of functionality in the VSAIDS collection.
COBOL development support: Support tools for COBOL programmers.
COBGEN COMPILE CONVERT DBUGHOOK EZPRINT FIGCON2 GENCTL IBMATRIX LIBRXREF LISTCLIB MENUGEN RPTGEN
Communications: Remote logon and file transfer across Wang networks.
ATTACHAD ATTACHID XFERCALL XFERLIB XFERMANY XFERWILD
Conversion: Programs to convert data into other formats or revise source text automatically.
CONVERTC CREATE DISPRINT IBMPRINT PRINTIBM PRINTVS TRANSL8 TRANSRC UPLOW
Disk Management: Tools to identify and act on disk usage problems.
ANALYZE BLOKEXTO CHKBLKS COPYTHEM DISKMAP DISKSPCE DISKUSE DISPRINT DSKSPACE FILEINFO FINDVOL FLOPINIT FREEFILE FREELIBE INITMANY LIBBLK LIBREORG LIBSIZE LIST LISTDOCS PACEDSK SCRATCH SELPRINT SORTFILE SYSFLE USERSPCE VOLDISP VOLFRAG VOLPRINT VTOCSTAT VTOCTEST WPDELUT WPLIST WPSREORG
File and library comparison: Utilities to compare files and libraries.
COMPARE COMPAREF COMPHEX COMPRLIB DIFF DIFFWP DIFFWP1
File display: Programs that display data.
DISPMANY DISPRINT DL FSIDISPL WPDISP
Print file management: Utilities to display, print, and scratch print files.
DISPMANY DISPRINT FSIDISPL IBMPRINT PRINTIBM PRINTVS SELPRINT
Program Development and Maintenance: Tools for programmers, including program generators, cross-reference utilities, and maintenance help.
1401TOVS ADDLINE ADM ALFANMBR BELL BIGGEN BYTERPG CALLS COBGEN COMPILE CONVERT CONVERTC CREATE DATAGEN DBUGHOOK DIFF DISPMANY DOSTOVS DSGNAID EXPAND EZEZSCRN EZPRINT EZWS FIGCON2 FILESIZE FINDTEXT FINDVOL GENCTL GENSRC IBMATRIX IBMPRINT LIBRXREF LIST80 LISTCLIB LOGPROC MACXREF MENUGEN PHONETIC PRINTIBM PRINTVS PRNTLIBE PROCFORM PROCGEN PROCMAP PRT2SAVE PRT2TEXT RPT2RPG RPTGEN SAVE2KL SCANOBJ SCANSRC SCRAMBLE SCRNS2WP SELECTER SETRECOV SHOWSCRN SPINPUT SUPRLINK TEXTPRT TRANSL8 TRANSRC UPLOW XFERCALL XKEYWORD
Program Generators: Utilities that accept user parameters and generate source code.
1401TOVS BYTERPG EZEZSCRN EZPRINT LOGPROC MENUGEN PROCFORM PROCGEN RPT2RPG RPTGEN
RPGII development support: Support tools for RPGII programmers.
BYTERPG COMPILE IBMATRIX RPT2RPG
Security: Programs and systems for increased system security.
CRYPTAB ERASE NEWPASS SCRAMBLE SECLIST SECURE USERSPCE VOLPRINT
System management: Tools for system design and management.
ACCESS CONFIG DSKSPACE GETVOLS LIBBLK LIBSIZE LOGPROC MOUNT PACEDSK PAUSE PROCFORM PROCGEN PROCMAP SETRECOV SMF USERSPCE
Tape support: Programs for tape generation and management.
1401TOVS ERASE IBMPRINT PRINTIBM PRINTVS SELCOPY SUPCOPY TAPEDUMP
Text search: Search programs for program maintenance and documentation.
CONVERTC FINDTEXT PROCMAP SCANOBJ SCANSRC
Word Processing (VS/IIS): Programs that generate WP documents, show document summary information, or assist in managing document libraries.
ADM ALLOCWP DIFFWP DIFFWP1 DISPRINT LISTDOCS REORGDOC SCRNS2WP SETWUP WPDELUT WPDISP WPLIST WPSREORG
Figure 2: Recent Additions to VSAIDS Collection
The following list describes items that have been added with VSAIDS shipments beginning in March 1990. Most have not been previously distributed as USERAIDS or ISWUAIDS.
Program Description ACCESS Controls the access rights of programs by file or library. ADM Maps the Administrative Block of VS/IIS documents. ANALYZE Analyzes disk usage for up to ten disk drives. ATTACHAD Menu-driven file transfer to and from a remote system using WSN. Can transfer an entire library. ATTACHID Attach to a remote system from a menu using WSN. BELL Sounds the workstation bell. Program version of program subroutine. BLOKEXTO Searches disk drives for large or fragmented files. BYTERPG Generates RPG CALC specification source code for any VS character. CALLS Calls a subroutine using a high level language call sequence. DISKSPCE Calculates disk usage by library for a volume. EZEZSCRN Generates COBOL DISPLAY AND READ screen description. FLOPINIT Floppy disk initialization utility. FREEFILE Releases unused space in files. Can work with up to fifteen files. FREELIBE Releases unused blocks in all files in a library. LIBBLK Shows blocks allocated and used by library. LIBREORG Procedure to reorganize all indexed files in a selected library. LOANER Creates amortizations from entered loan information. PACEDSK Computes approximate disk space requirements for PACE applications. PROCMAP Produces a cross references of program and procedure calls within a procedure. PROJECT Project management system. Works only with operating system 7.18 or above. RELEASE Program that releases unused blocks in a file using the UPDATFDR subroutine. REORGDOC Reorganizes VS/IIS document libraries. SCHEDULE Personal appointment calendar. SETRECOV Allows access to the DMS/TX SETRECOV SVC from a high level language. SETWUP Sets default library and glossary ID for VS/IIS. SPINPUT Calls Special Input mode from a high-level language. STOPWAT Turns the user's workstation into a stopwatch, displaying start, stop, and elapsed times. SYSFLE Reports on specified files, with wild card selection of file specification. TESTDATE Demonstrates the DATE subroutine. USERSPCE Uses disk space usage on each volume by user ID. VTOCSTAT Displays block usage statistics by volume. XFERCALL Procedure to run the TRANSFER utility through program calls instead of PUTPARMs. XFERLIB Transfers libraries or selected files within a library using WSN. XFERWILD Transfers files to another system using WSN. Accepts wild card file specifications. XKEYWORD Allows assembly language program to alter KEYWORDs in a KEYLIST. Z80SIM Symbolic debugger for Z80 macro assembler.
Copyright © 1991 Dennis S. Barnes
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