I played with some similar ideas a while back, but found the best results I could achieve were really not hitting the mark. Part of the issue relates to the nature of 5250 datastream and I/O operations that support it. Part of what makes an interactive field entry function difficult is that you are limited in how you capture key press events.

I wound up creating the "real" input field as a one character input capable, non-display, auto-record advance. The screen format can only have one input field for this dialog to work, so it would be a window pop-up as the user moved their cursor into a field and pressed enter. As each character is typed, it is captured and appended to the displayable portion of the "input field". The displayed field is really output only, and you can apply any special overrides that might be necessary... Perhaps a password field would display ***** to show five characters of input, but protected so the values are hidden...

The real beating involves handling backspace... There is no way in 5250 to capture the backspace key. That keyboard function does not generate I/O. I had to define a function key to serve as backspace. The users correctly balked at this, and the effort was abandoned.

If this must be done, perhaps you need a different UI approach. EGL RUI makes really pretty screens, and can still access your business logic for the retrieval of data to paint the screen with...

-Eric DeLong

-----Original Message-----
From: midrange-l-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:midrange-l-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Jerry C. Adams
Sent: Monday, April 16, 2012 10:37 AM
To: Midrange-L
Subject: Spreadsheet-Like Entry in 5250 Panels

I am starting to write more and more programs for our retail outlets. Most
of the people manning these stores are, at best, high school graduates. But
mostly familiar with PC applications, such as Excel and our POS application,
which runs on the PC.

As you know, there can be major differences between the way data entry works
on a PC and a System i. For example, as soon as one types a character in a
spreadsheet cell, any previous entry is cleared and replaced with the new
entry (once the Enter or Tab key is pressed). There are others, such as
using the Enter key to move to the next cell, and not needing to press Field
Exit to right-justify a numeric field.

I have attempted to write a tutorial for our store managers explaining and
illustrating these major differences. Personally I would prefer a digital
movie (ala YouTube) that they could play whenever needed; I even searched
YouTube and Google for such a video, but could not find anything.

I know how to remap the keyboard in iSeries Access, but there doesn't seem
to be any way to emulate PC-Entry in a 5250 screen.

So my questions are: (a) Is there a video anywhere that illustrate how to
enter data into fields in a 5250 panel? and (b) Is there a way to make 5250
entry work like a spreadsheet user might expect?

Jerry C. Adams

IBM i Programmer/Analyst

Stupidity is its own reward. -Joseph Adams, Sr.


A&K Wholesale

Murfreesboro, TN


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