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The Minimum You Need to Know to Be an OpenVMS Application Developer

The Minimum You Need to Know to Be an OpenVMS Application Developer

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by Roland Hughes

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For years now the question has been surfacing in the OpenVMS community "Where are the pimply faced kids?" The other situation which seems to continually occur is a developer of one language suddenly finding themselves having to modify or maintain an application written in a language completely foreign to them. This book was a year long effort to answer both of those


For years now the question has been surfacing in the OpenVMS community "Where are the pimply faced kids?" The other situation which seems to continually occur is a developer of one language suddenly finding themselves having to modify or maintain an application written in a language completely foreign to them. This book was a year long effort to answer both of those questions. It also should help those to work on a good platform. Once the rudimentaries of logging in, symbols, logicals and the various editors are handled this book takes the reader on a journey of development using the most common tools encountered on the OpenVMS platform and one new tool making headway. A single sample application (a lottery tracking system) is developed using FMS and RMS indexed files in each of the covered languages. (BASIC, FORTRAN, COBOL and C/C++). The reader is exposed on how to use CDD, CMS and MMS with these languages as well. A CD-ROM is included which contains the source, MMS and command files developed through the course of the book. Once RMS has been covered with all of the languages the same application using MySQL with C and FMS is covered. This breaks readers into the use of relational databases if they are not currently familiar with the concept. Rounding out the technical portion of the book is the same application using RDB with FMS. While source code is provided for all of the language implementations only FORTRAN and COBOL are actually covered in the text. It is the hope of the author that this book will prove a useful reference on the desk of every OpenVMS developer. The inclusion of MySQL should benefit both those unfamiliar with relational technology and those platformveterans interested in playing with MySQL for the first time.

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Logikal Solutions
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The Minimum You Need to Know Series
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The Minimum You Need to Know to Be an OpenVMS Application Developer

By Roland Hughes

Logikal Solutions

Copyright © 2006 Roland Hughes
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-9770866-0-7

Chapter One

DCL and Utilities We Need

2.1 DCL for Application Development

Operating system command languages usually aren't used for application development. Some operating systems include such a powerful command language that you can develop entire systems in it if you wish. The real drawback is such a system won't be running in compiled mode; it will be interpreted. If your application or system is to be heavily used, it is advisable to look at a compiled language rather than an interpreted one.

DCL (Digital Command Language) is an incredibly robust command interface. You can create indexed files and perform IO on them directly in the language. If you wish to code escape sequences in the command file, you can even do some nice screen formatting. DCL has one drawback with respect to indexed files. It cannot effectively read or write floating point data. Yes, if you know exactly the bit patter you need, it can be done; but it is too confusing for most people to follow in the code. You will understand, once you see what is involved just creating long integers for the primary data file.

I am going to develop an import program completely in DCL. We are going to develop this program within the confines of DCL on the OpenVMS platform for the following reasons:

It allows me to show you some more tools andfunctionality.

If you end up at a client site that needs something written and who doesn't own a compiler, you will have at least some idea of how to go about it.

Some shops use DCL heavily, and will code import routines in DCL rather than compile a program.

2.2 FDL and Our Indexed Files

Please take a moment to glance at our sample application file layouts found in Section 1.5. You will notice that the layout of the stats files are exactly the same. The reason we have two separate files is the input source is different. The second set of stats is calculated only from the column mega_no.

If you happen to know the complete syntax of FDL (File Definition Language), you can simply fire up your favorite text editor and key in a definition. The rest of us need to use the EDIT/FDL utility. It is a good habit to put the FDL extension on any FDL you create. You could name the file FRED.SMITH if you wanted, but it would be hard for someone to find in the wee hours of the morning while answering a production support call.

$ edit/fdl drawing_data.fdl

Parsing Definition File


Press RETURN to continue (^Z for Main Menu)

After hitting return you will see a menu much like the following:

OpenVMS FDL Editor

Add to insert one line into the FDL definition Delete to remove one line from the FDL definition Exit to leave the FDL Editor after creating the FDL file Help to obtain information about the FDL Editor Invoke to initiate a script of related questions Modify to change an existing line in the FDL definition Quit to abort the FDL Editor with no FDL file creation Set to specify FDL Editor characteristics View to display the current FDL Definition Main Editor Function (Keyword)[Help] :

The option we want is "Invoke". After entering it and hitting return you will see a screen much like the following. I have already chosen Indexed and took the defaults for the two questions.

Script Title Selection

Add_Key modeling and addition of a new index's parameters Delete_Key removal of the highest index's parameters Indexed modeling of parameters for an entire Indexed file Optimize tuning of all indices' parameters using file statistics Relative selection of parameters for a Relative file Sequential selection of parameters for a Sequential file Touchup remodeling of parameters for a particular index

Editing Script Title (Keyword)[-] : Indexed

Target disk volume Cluster Size (1-2Giga)[3] :

Number of Keys to Define (1-255)[1] :

The following is the rest of the edit session:

Key 0 Graph Type Selection

Line Bucket Size vs Index Depth as a 2 dimensional plot Fill Bucket Size vs Load Fill Percent vs Index Depth Key Bucket Size vs Key Length vs Index Depth Record Bucket Size vs Record Size vs Index Depth Init Bucket Size vs Initial Load Record Count vs Index Depth Add Bucket Size vs Additional Record Count vs Index Depth

Graph type to display (Keyword)[Line] :

Number of Records that will be Initially Loaded into the File (0-2Giga)[-] : 1000

(Fast_Convert NoFast_Convert RMS_Puts) Initial File Load Method (Keyword)[Fast] : RMS

Will Initial Records Typically be Loaded in Order by Ascending Primary Key (Yes/No)[No] : yes

Number of Additional Records to be Added After the Initial File Load (0-2147482645)[0] :

Key 0 Load Fill Percent (50-100)[100] :

(Fixed Variable) Record Format (Keyword)[Var] : FIX

Record Size (1-32224)[-] : 32

(Bin2 Bin4 Bin8 Int2 Int4 Int8 Decimal String Collated Dbin2 Dbin4 Dbin8 Dint2 Dint4 Dint8 Ddecimal Dstring Dcollated) Key 0 Data Type (Keyword)[Str] :

Key 0 Segmentation desired (Yes/No)[No] :

Key 0 Length (1-32)[-] : 8

Key 0 Position (0-24)[0] :

Key 0 Duplicates allowed (Yes/No)[No] :

File Prolog Version (0-3)[3] :

Data Key Compression desired (Yes/No)[Yes] :

Data Record Compression desired (Yes/No)[Yes] :

Index Compression desired (Yes/No)[No] :

I did not include the line graph which gets displayed nor did I include the entry of FD to finish the design.

Text for FDL Title Section (1-126 chars)[null] : Data File for mega zillionare application

Data File file-spec (1-512 chars)[null] :

(Carriage_Return FORTRAN None) Carriage Control (Keyword)[Carr] : FORTRAN

Emphasis Used In Defining Default: ( Flatter_files ) Suggested Bucket Sizes: ( 3 3 12 ) Number of Levels in Index: ( 1 1 1 ) Number of Buckets in Index: ( 1 1 1 ) Pages Required to Cache Index: ( 3 3 12 ) Processing Used to Search Index: ( 8 8 10 ) Key 0 Bucket Size (1-63)[3] : Key 0 Name (1-32 chars)[null] : draw_dt

Global Buffers desired (Yes/No)[No] :

The Depth of Key 0 is Estimated to be No Greater than 1 Index levels, which is 2 Total levels.

Press RETURN to continue (^Z for Main Menu)

Notice that I did enter a title. Any time you create an FDL using this utility you should enter some kind of title to let the reader know this was a hand generated FDL and not one generated by analyzing the file. (We will cover that later after we populate the file.)

Since we will also be doing some FORTRAN development later in this book I chose to use FORTRAN control instead of the normal Carriage_Return.

Whenever you create an FDL by hand, either with this tool or by editing an FDL created from analyzing a file, name the keys! You will see I named our key with the field name we will be using. Get in the habit of doing this. Systems on OpenVMS have a tendency to stay in place 20-30 years. When somebody wants you to do something new with this file you need a quick method of looking up what the keys are on it to see if you can get the data. If they ask five years after you originally created the file you will not remember the key structure.

After hitting return and typing EXIT at the resulting menu the process is complete. Here is the resulting FDL file.

TITLE "Data File for mega zillionare application"

IDENT "30-NOV-2004 14:49:30 OpenVMS FDL Editor"






Note the areas highlighted in grey. The title will actually survive with the index file created by this FDL and come out in any FDL files created by the ANALYZE command. Our record size is 32 bytes (six integer fields at four bytes each plus one character field of eight bytes). The name for the key is actually listed in the FDL along with its data size, offset and data type.

We won't create FDLs for the stats files now. There will only be 52 records each in them. No matter how bad the defaults are for an indexed file created from any of the languages on this platform, they will work for that.

2.3 Indexed File Lore

I need to cover some ancient lore about RMS indexed files. We won't be creating indexed files of this type with our simple little application, but as you go out into the world you will encounter multi-typed files at a good many installations. The systems will have been in place a very long time and you need to know how to handle this situation. I will wager many of you were not old enough to shave when these systems were written. If you graduated from what passes for college courses these days you didn't even cover indexed files, only relational model tables.

RMS stores the indexes in the same file along with the data. This is unlike most of the PC file systems you may have encountered. The exact mechanics of this I will not cover, but feel free to locate the Records Management System manuals on-line if you really wish to know the internals of it all. With PC indexed file systems you typically have one external file for each key. If somebody deletes that file, you have to hope there is a utility included to rebuild the index from the data. Unlike the PC indexed file systems RMS actually does record level locking and can manage that locking for every user on the cluster. If you turned on Journaling when the file was created each user can be adding/updating/deleting records from within their own distributed transaction and none of it will actually be written to the file until they commit the transaction.

Many of the so called "multi-user" PC systems are really single user systems. They do page level locking. Even worse, they do page level updates. This tragedy is compounded by the tools which come with them. Because they lock entire pages the tools don't lock anything until the actual write needs to occur. The flaw is they only check for changes in the one record the user wished to change before doing the lock-commit-unlock cycle which rewrites the entire page. The poor schmoe who updated a different record on that same page just a few minutes earlier loses all his/her changes and doesn't even know it happened. An even sadder note is the rumor some of these file systems got ported to other platforms. In an effort to combat this problem some designers change the page size to match their record size (or vice versa) tanking the performance then screaming they need better hardware when what they really need is better design.

If you wish to measure the robustness of the indexed file system you are looking at, you need to look at how many different types of records can be in the same file. Yes, you read that correctly. It is something you will see on many a midrange and mainframe system. Indexed file systems which allow for only one type of record to be in a file typically took shortcuts in their design which will burn you when it hurts the most. (We are talking about indexed file systems here, not fully relational databases.)

When it comes to multi-typed records in indexed file systems, you will find it doesn't matter much who wrote the system or on what platform, they tend to all have the same general layout. We will take a look at some general layouts for customer profile and invoice files.

Customer Profile:

Key 0: Customer number char 10 Rec_type char 2 Sequence_no char 2 Generic map with filler at the end for some amount.

The very first record in the file will be a customer number of all spaces, a record type of "00" and a sequence of spaces. This is what is known as the control record. The primary field on it will be either the next available or the last used customer number. Each implementation may have several other control fields on here. No new customers get added to this file without first locking this record. The rest of the records types will be much along the following lines:

10 Customer header 11 customer notes uses sequence number 20 bill to address 30 ship to address uses sequence number 31 shipping comments same sequence as ship to One line comment for each shipping address Such as "deliver only on Tuesdays". 40 general credit info

Invoice: Key 0: Invoice number char 10 15 in systems written later. Rec_type char 2 Sequence_no char 2 Sometimes called line number Generic map with filler at the end for some amount.

Once again the first record in the file will have a blank invoice number, record type "00" and blank sequence or line number. It is again the control record. In systems that allow for segmented invoice numbers it will contain beginning, ending and next available invoice number for each range. Many places segmented their invoice numbers to be grouped by general invoices, credit invoices, foreign invoices and foreign credits. It is worthy of note that some systems reverse the order of record type and line number. These systems came about later in life. It is a trade off between insertion speed and generation speed. A few systems even changed the key to be invoice number, record type, sequence number and line or sub-sequence number. It depended upon how many comment lines they allowed with each detail line.

10 Invoice header 20 Bill to information 30 Ship to information 40 Carrier information 60 Invoice detail 61 Detail comment 62 Credit or discount line 70 Credit or discount summary 80 Invoice summary

The 70 and 80 record types are not that common. It depends upon how full the invoice header record was at the time of initial system design. Many of these systems were written as "canned" systems to be sold in customized form to each individual client. You will notice there are quite a few gaps in the record type values. This was to allow for new record types with each customer. On some systems the 40 record can really be the summary record and on other systems the summary information (including line count) was stored on the invoice header.

Most of these systems exploited the ability of RMS to store variable length records in a single indexed file. Every time a record was written to one of these files it was done so with a length supplied. You will find a few of these systems blundered badly trying to improve efficiency. They made the records 512 bytes to match the disk block size. The blunder was that they forgot about the extra byte or more added to the end of each record. Remember when we created the FDL and it asked for "Carriage return, FORTRAN, or none"? Those extra few bytes actually get written with the record to the file so you need to allow for them when trying to size each record to a disk block size. Of course, sizing your records to be exactly one disk block in size only does any good if you have data compression turned off when the file is created.

There was a method to the madness with these file designs. You did one keyed hit to the beginning of the section you needed, then sequentially read a handful or so of records, and you had the complete information. You must remember that back when many of these designs were laid out there was a limit of 12 open IO channels and two of those were taken by SYS$OUTPUT and SYS$ERROR. Once the VAX hardware came out the available channel count increased dramatically, but the systems which were originally designed on PDP hardware recompiled and went on their way under OpenVMS.

Some really good software design came out of systems written to use these file layouts. The concept of IO routines was quickly adopted. This was a bundle of record maps and callable functions which were put into the application library. They had standard interfaces and had all conceivable errors trapped inside of them returning only a single error result and a populated error map when bad things happened. External IO routines dramatically cleaned up the readability of source code. People who learned to code during the last decade probably cannot imagine any other way, but it was a novel concept back then. Most programs had an ugly mass of error handling code immediately following each IO operation which made the code incredibly difficult to read for program flow. You had to have program flow charts back then to have any hope of understanding a module. In fact, it is this very argument that keeps the "ON ERROR GOTO" clause widely used in BASIC programming.


Excerpted from The Minimum You Need to Know to Be an OpenVMS Application Developer by Roland Hughes Copyright © 2006 by Roland Hughes. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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The Minimum You Need to Know to Be an OpenVMS Application Developer 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A black and orange cat with green eyes and a handsome look walked in
kasrana More than 1 year ago
¿The Minimum You Need to know to be an OpenVMS Application Developer" by Roland Hughes is not a book is a well written manual and how to guide. However, it is not for those that have no experience with computers/programming languages, if you do not have previous knowledge in Open Virtual Memory then you will be lost. But if you do have experience with all of the above then you will find this book to be a great asset. It is well laid out, comprehensive and, has plenty of easy to follow examples. This is great if you want to refresh your skills, learn some new skills or as a reference guide/book.
acesrwild777 More than 1 year ago
"The Minimum You Need to know to be an OpenVMS Application Developer" by Roland Hughes is not a book for the uninformed, if you don't have previous knowledge in OpenVMS (Open Virtual Memory System) then this is not a book for you....and I'm not sure you would be interested in it anyway. If you don't speak "programming language" then this will seem like it was written in a foreign language, because in a sense it is. However, for those who have an interest and background in Open Virtual Memory Systems this book is a great and comprehensive reference with lots of examples lending to its easy to follow nature. This book covers a variety of different databases that will be encountered and prepares you for how to work with them in multiple different languages. Hughes as also put together an extremely easy to use index making finding and flipping to an ease when using the book as a quick reference.
banjoplatypus More than 1 year ago
"The Minimum You Need to know to be an OpenVMS Application Developer" by Roland Hughes is a great tool to understanding applications used when needing to operate an OpenVMS (Open Virtual Memory System). I believe it is a great resource for anyone dabbling in computer programming. It has a guide for navigation and implementation of multiple databases. I am just starting out with application development and found the author's guide extremely readable, relatively user friendly, and comprehensive. I found the author extremely knowledgeable, more so than myself, and amazingly educational. His ease at explaining everything really sets this IT book apart from others.
BinaP More than 1 year ago
This is a great reference book and learning guide for the OpenVMS operating system. The author assumes that the reader already has a good base knowledge and understanding of programming and uses that as a starting point. If you do not have experience with any programming language such as C++ or application development you may need to work your way up to this book. It is well laid out which makes it easy to find exactly what you are looking for via the index and the illustrations made it easy to follow the coding examples. The instructions are easy to read, understand and follow. I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking to learn the OpenVMS operating system.
SavPat More than 1 year ago
The Minimum You Need to Know to be an OpenVMS Application Developer is a how to manual for anyone who is interested in learning how to use Open Virtual Memory System application developing or VMS for short. This is NOT a beginner's guide by any means, it is meant for those that already have background in software development and programming. I am familiar with computers and many of the programs used to write program and so I was able to follow the book. Hughes has done a great job with chapter layout; indexing and illustrations to guide the reader which is essential when you are trying to self learn something. Hughes essentially becomes the teacher and guides you step by step. If you truly do want to learn how to be an Open VMS Application Developer this is a great tool.
Pacino23 More than 1 year ago
There are already quite a few reviews outlining the details of Roland Hughes' book, The Minimum You Need to know to be an OpenVMS Application Developer so I will not bore you with more of the same details. What I will say is that I do agree with the other reviewers when they say that this is a great resource for those individuals WHO ALREADY HAVE EXPERIENCE in the IT field. This book is not for those whose only interaction with computers is at home on their desktops! Hughes' has done a great job of charting out a systematic guide to operating and sustaining the application and coding & programming of essential modules running on OpenVMS such as languages and databases. Hughes' is not verbose and makes it easy for the reader to follow along; the accompanying CD is also a great tool. Unlike other manuals Hughes has included a chapter regarding his own views of the IT industry and the need to constantly learn and evolve with the industry because "IT is a way of life, not a job."
MilsP More than 1 year ago
Open Virtual Memory System is a computer server operating system (OS) that offers end users many more options than simple networking such as the ability to cluster which allows the system to distribute the application itself and a single transaction. Roland Hughes' book, The Minimum You Need to know to be an OpenVMS Application Developer, is a great resource and informative guide for anyone who would like to learn how to use VMS especially anyone already in the field of computer science. However in order to reap the full benefits from this book it is essential that the reader already possess a basic understanding of programming and application development. I found this book to be very comprehensive and well thought out in terms of chapter layout, indexing references to programming languages, tools and databases. The illustrations are a great tool as well. I found that I was able to follow this book but that may be because I already work in the IT field. It is definitely not a book you would read for entertainment purposes or if you are just beginning to learn about computers. I will definitely be using this book as a reference guide.
3MMP More than 1 year ago
This book has been written for anyone who would like to be an OpenVMS Application Developer. It is a very comprehensive guide written by Roland Hughes and, in my opinion, is a must read if you do want to enter the field of OpenVMS Application. "OpenVMS (Open Virtual Memory System) is a high-end computer server operating system that is a multi-user, multiprocessing virtual memory-based operating system (OS), it is designed for use in time-sharing, batch processing, real time, and transaction processing. It offers high system availability through clustering and distributes the system over many machines." If you have no idea what that means then you should probably begin with a book about basic computer systems/programming first. Hughes' has done a great job as he takes the reader through MMS and CMS tools from the DECSET OpenVMS software development toolkit and the CDD FMS, RDB & MySQL databases as well as walking the reader through the development of a single application in each of the following: DEC BASIC, FORTRAN, COBOL, C and C++ using a variety of tools. I expected this guide to be dry like some of the others but Hughes has done a great job in his use of language and form which makes it easy for the reader to understand (provided you have a basic understanding to begin with). Overall this is a great way to learn OpenVMS and as a resource for those who already know OpenVMS.
HardyMeagan More than 1 year ago
OpenVMS Application Developer is not by ANY means a book that I would NORMALLY read. While I understand computers backward and forward and could understand Ronald Hughes' book, it is definitely not a book written for entertainment purposes. (Which is what I normally read). OpenVMS stands for Open Virtual Memory System and this book is a basic guide to OpenVMS Application Developing. I don't have much background in this type of computer work but the chapters were easy to follow and understand because of the step by step instructions, coded examples and easy to navigate index. If you are into this type of computer work, this is a great tool! Mr. Hughes served not only as an author but also as a teacher throughout this book and I was very impressed with how well he laid out his instructions and examples. Even for someone who doesn't have extensive knowledge in computer programming, I found the steps easy to understand and could probably pull off some of these tricks of the trade on my own following Mr. Hughes steps.
lydaalexander More than 1 year ago
This is a great introduction to application development on the OpenVMS operating system. OpenVMS is for high-performance distributed computing, and in many situations is much better suited for high-end computation and science applications than Windows or Linux/Unix. This guide assumes you have a pretty good understanding of at least one programming language to get started. I have experience with Java, C++, and several scripting languages, and I did fine - but it might be a little heavy for someone who doesn't have any background in application development at all. The book includes concrete examples in code, and step-by-step explanations in every chapter. I have never developed for OpenVMS for this, and I could follow it flawlessly. The index is well done, and what makes this book double as a great desk reference. Anything you need to look up is easy to find in a short amount of time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
OpenVMS (Open Virtual Memory System) is a high-end computer server operating system. As a multi-user, multiprocessing virtual memory-based operating system (OS), it is designed for use in time-sharing, batch processing, real time, and transaction processing. It offers high system availability through clustering and distributes the system over many machines. The ability to distribute both the application and a single transaction across multiple nodes is the heart of clustering otherwise, it is just networking. Roland Hughes¿ book, The Minimum You Need to know to be an OpenVMS Application Developer, offers Computer Applications Developers, Consultants, Systems Analysts, and developers switching to OpenVMS, a detailed and informative companion guide to understanding and implementing the applications and modules needed to operate and maintain OpenVMS. From logging into OpenVMS, each chapter charts a systematic guide to operating and sustaining the application coding and programming of essential modules running on OpenVMS. Such languages, tools, and databases as DCL, DEC BASIC, FMS, COBOL, CDD, FORTRAN, C/C++, MySQL, and RDB cover the heart of what you need to know as a maintenance programmer. Using a created lottery tracking system, Hughes generates a single application and develops it in each of the following: DEC BASIC, FORTRAN, COBOL, and C/C++. As well, Hughes shows readers how to use CDD, CMS, and MMS with these languages. By repeatedly applying the same method in different languages, Hughes demonstrates in a clearly written and easy to follow guide, how a programmer knowledgeable with one language can become skilled in others. The CD-ROM that comes with it contains the source code developed in the book allowing readers to learn the advantages and disadvantages of each language. Well-illustrated examples with detailed analysis, descriptions, and definitions, allow the reader to follow the book while working with the server, thereby learning the ¿nuts and bolts¿ of creating, understanding, and managing command files. Each chapter details troubleshooting tips, error handling tips, reducing debugging time, as well as the Do¿s, and Don¿ts of writing applications. Following each chapter, there are exercises to enhance comprehension of the modules and applications in OpenVMS. With a wealth of experience, Roland Hughes provides thoughtful and knowledgeable observations about the IT field. One important bit of knowledge he conveys: ¿IT is a way of life, not a job.¿ With easy to follow instructions and detailed examples, I highly recommend this informative and well-mapped book as an asset to those in the IT industry, as well to students entering the computer-programming field. Tracy Roberts, Write Field Services
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a truly astonishing work and a MUST for everybody who is starting with application developing, be it on VMS or not (I can not tell for others as I am starting myself). It is not a book where you will find many theories about abstract topics but one displaying everything you need to know by means of examples, explaining each example's important parts in-depth. You really feel the experience of the author throughout the text! This is a book I'd try to take with me if my house was burning down.
Guest More than 1 year ago
After I got over the surprise of seeing a new book on OpenVMS Software Development I wondered at the title - this is an 800 page book with a CD! The book is intended for people who are familiar with programming on another platform and are faced with maintaining an application on VMS written using classic OpenVMS software tools. Perhaps a better title would be ¿What a person unfamiliar with OpenVMS should know to maintain an OpenVMS application¿. Hughes describes uses of: the MMS and CMS tools from the widely used DECSET OpenVMS software development toolkit CDD FMS the RDB and MySQL databases. He also mentions other tools often found in the OpenVMS application development environment such as VMSMAIL, PHONE etc. Parts of OpenVMS which will be unfamiliar to a person transferring from another platform, such as logical names and DCL symbols, are introduced as they will often be encountered when maintaining an application on OpenVMS. The book is based around a single application which is developed in each of DEC BASIC, FORTRAN, COBOL, C and C++ using a variety of tools. Full source code is provided on the CD. By repeatedly implementing the same thing in different languages the programmer familiar with one language can learn about another. The presented code is not suitable for a production environment but is intended to illustrate something being described in the text. For example the error handling is not always fully implemented except when Hughes wishes to describe dealing with errors. Hughes describes building the application and typical ways of organizing the development environment and highlights common pitfalls for programmers coming from other platforms. The book is written in American English and in a casual style. Although it is easy to read some people who are not native English speakers may not recognise some of the colloquial terms used. I don¿t think this will significantly hinder understanding. Hughes has opinions about how things should be done and is not afraid to state them! Personally I find an opinionated book easier to engage with because there is something to argue or agree with. The final chapter is Hughes opinion on the state of the IT Industry. The key to appreciating this book its specific focus. I think the target audience will find this a useful resource to sit alongside the OpenVMS Documentation. However the material is also useful for an OpenVMS developer faced with an application in a different programming language to the one they usually use. The book is available from Island Computers. (ISBN 0-9770866-0-7) by Ian Miller OpenVMS.Org - OpenVMS News and Information
Guest More than 1 year ago
One of the best VMS programming books I've ever come across is 'Writing VAX/VMS Applications Using Pascal' by Theo de Klerk published in 1991 (BTW, my copy is not for sale :-). I learned quite a bit of VMS application theory in this book and implemented many of the ideas into BASIC, C and C++. The reason I mention this book is that I just received my copy of 'The Minimum You Need to Know to be an OpenVMS Developer' and it is clearly in the same league as the Pascal book. This is a major effort and should be on the bookshelf of every beginner through intermediate level OpenVMS application developer. Just my 2-cents worth.