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You know those dots between the prompt text and the keyword for each
command parameter? For example:

Type choices, press Enter.

From object . . . . . . . . . . OBJ
From library . . . . . . . . . . FROMLIB

Those are taken from an IBM-supplied command. You'll notice there is
exactly one space between the last dot and the keyword (or exactly 3
spaces between the last dot and the input field, if you're displaying
choices rather than keywords). Another way to say this is that the
last dot is in display column 33.

And there is always exactly one space between each pair of dots, and
either one or two spaces between the prompt text and the first dot.

(These are all easier to see on a 5250 screen rather than in an email.)

Now, when you compile your own *CMD object, you can get the same
visual result if you specify PROMPT('From object') for the first
parameter in the above sample and PROMPT('From library') for the

So here's a question for folks who can remember or have access to
older systems (like V5R2 or even earlier): Has it always been that

I could have sworn that when I first learned about building my own
commands, those dots were not provided for you when you compiled your
own. So you could easily tell the difference between IBM commands
(which had the dots) and your own (which didn't) when prompting.

Even if I am misremembering that, there is an odd quirk that I'm sure
has always existed for as long as I've been working on the midrange
platform, and still does in 7.3:

If your prompt text on a PARM is exactly 30 characters (the maximum
allowed), then you DON'T get any dots! Even though there is space for
one dot! Why is that?

Similarly, if you have an indented prompt (as for QUAL or ELEM), then
you don't get any dots if your prompt text is 28 characters or longer.
But notably, your prompt text doesn't get truncated either, so a
30-character indented prompt stretches all the way to column 33.

It seems there is an off-by-one error (or '<' where there should be
'<=') in the code implementing command displays.

John Y.

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