What is uni-SPF?
uni-SPF is a UNIX implementation of IBM's ISPF System Product for MVS/TSO and VM/CMS. It provides a panel-based user interface to the underlying environment as well as an editor and browse facility.
For what UNIX platforms is uni-SPF available?
uni-SPF is available on the vast majority of UNIX machines - IBM's AIX 4/5, H/P's HP/UX 10/11, Sun's Solaris 7/8/9, SGI's IRIX, Linux Intel and S390, and NCR UNIX.
Why should uni-SPF be part of our migration to UNIX?
If your company's staff use ISPF on the mainframe, they are accustomed to interacting with the computer through a panel interface based on menu selections and providing input parameters to commands that are executed automatically. They are also familiar and productive with a full-screen editor that has English-like command syntax and non-modal operation. uni-SPF provides the same familiar panel interface and editor. There is no need for users to learn the underlying UNIX system commands or the "vi" editor -- they can be immediately productive in the new environment. uni-SPF thus removes one of the obstacles often associated with downsizing.
Why shouldn't we just use the "vi" editor that is part of the operating system?
vi was originally designed for use on teletype terminals that did not have a modern screen display or keyboard and that operated at very slow communication speeds. In such an environment, the overriding principle of any editor was to minimize keystrokes. Thus, vi evolved with an extremely cryptic syntax. Also as a result of its origins, vi is a modal editor: commands are executed in one mode, data entry or modification in another - and the user must be responsible for insuring the correct mode for the next operation to be performed. Identical keystrokes produce different results, depending on the current mode. This can be extremely perplexing to users accustomed to a full-screen mainframe editor and can bring their productivity to a virtual stand-still. The screen display format is fixed, automatic startup processing is not available, and macros are based on the cryptic command syntax. The user may view or edit only one file at a time.
What features, besides the editor, are available in uni-SPF?
Througn the familiar panel interface, uni-SPF Basic provides all of the following options:
Will uni-SPF work with all the various terminal types we have?
uni-SPF uses the functions from the UNIX curses library and the terminal definitions from the terminfo database to manage all terminal I/O functions. As a result, the variety of terminals you can use is limited only by the definitions supplied with the operating system by your hardware vendor. This normally includes hundreds of different terminal types from VT52 through modern X terminals and X-windows. You need only be sure that the current setting of the environment variable TERM matches the terminal type you are actually using. With the exception of dial-up connections, this is usually automatic. You should also look at the question later in this document about support for graphical environments.
Will the keys on my keyboard automatically function as I expect them to? For example, will the "F7" key automatically perform the function assigned to PF7?
In general, the answer is yes. There may be exceptions, however, which are related to the accuracy of the terminfo definitions provided with your operating system and the accuracy of your terminal emulator. Most hardware vendors provide very accurate terminfo definitions, though there may be the occasional exception. Problems usually occur when the user is running a terminal emulator on a PC. In that case, the terminal emulator may trap certain keys for its own purposes, or the emulation may not be sufficiently complete. And if you are emulating a VT100, it is important to remember that there are only 4 function keys defined for this standard, so F5-F12 are rarely defined for this terminal type.
What about telnet connections to the UNIX platform?
Regardless of how you connect to the UNIX workstation (login, rlogin, or telnet), your session looks to the UNIX workstation like a terminal of some type. The specific type is identified by the current setting of the environment variable TERM. If this setting matches the terminal or emulation that you are actually using, you should be able to use uni-SPF normally.
Can we port existing Dialog Management applications from the mainframe?
Dialog Management applications are generally portable to uni-SPF.
We do not have existing dialogs, but I expect that we will need to customize uni-SPF to make UNIX easier for our end users. What kind of help is available to get me started with Dialog Management Services?
uni-SPF includes a directory of sample panels and dialogs that illustrate, in simple examples, the techniques one would use for various types of customization. All of the examples are fully executable so that you can see the results from each. The examples in Rexx require uni-SPF for execution. TWG Technical Support is also available to answer your questions and offer suggestions for how to approach your customization requirements.
Our UNIX platforms are HP/9000 boxes, and we use SoftBench for our development projects. Is there any way we can use the uni-SPF editor in this environment?
The HP-UX version of uni-SPF includes a SoftBench encapsulation of the uni-SPF editor. You need only install the encapsulation and all your SoftBench editing operations will automatically use uni-SPF.
What if I have problems or questions?
Technical support is available by telephone, email, and FAX. Product specialists with experience in both the mainframe and UNIX environments are available to assist you with a broad range of technical issues. Telephone support is available from 8:30 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. Central time Monday through Friday. We'll also be happy to answer your questions by email or FAX.
What about warranties, maintenance, and upgrades?
uni-SPF is delivered with 90 days' free support. This entitles you to technical support during the period in which you install and begin to use the product. It also entitles you to any upgrades that may be distributed during that time. An extended maintenance contract is also available for technical support and automatic upgrades. For those who do not choose extended maintenance, upgrades may be purchased at a percentage of the current list price.
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Phone: 847 540 3390 Last modified: 18 Jan 2013