Introducing the New Output Formats in VISION:Inform Release 4.0

Document ID:  TEC312183
Last Modified Date:  08/03/2015
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  • CA VISION:Inform for CICS
  • CA VISION:Inform for z/OS


  • CA VISION:Inform for CICS:Release:4.0
  • CA VISION:Inform for z/OS:Release:4.0


  • VISION:Inform:V:INFM

Release 4.0 of CA VISION:Inform provides four new output formats that you may use for the content of a report, in addition to the standard report format and subfiles available in previous releases. A format in this context refers to how CA VISION:Inform prepares the data content of the report for output. When you specify alternate report output formats, CA VISION:Inform prepares the data in one of the four new formats that are more suitable for use by other software tools, instead of preparing it for a standard report page layout. The CA VISION:Inform background processor or batch simulator always writes these report formats to a dynamically allocated file, using a file-naming convention that helps ensure uniqueness. Depending upon the format you specify, CA VISION:Inform syntactically accepts certain specifications for a printed page layout but functionally ignores them. This makes it easy to change the report statement specifications from a form suitable for a printed page to an alternate output format and vice versa.

The new output formats are available for the 3270 platform and the batch simulator. You may specify output formats on the FORMAT statement for individual REPORT groups, or on the SUBMIT panel or SUBMIT command. CA VISION:Inform honors the output formats that you code (to override the default standard report format) via the FORMAT statement, unless you override the output format specification at SUBMIT time. You may also specify the new output formats at SUBMIT time, providing output formats for reports where none exist on the FORMAT statement. An option on the SUBMIT panel and the SUBMIT command forces the override of the Query Language FORMAT statement output format with the output format you specify at SUBMIT time.

The section below describes the four new output formats you can specify on a report FORMAT statement or at SUBMIT time for a query. Please refer to the Advantage VISION:Inform User Guide for further information.

HTML Document

The HTML format prepares data for viewing by many users via a corporate intranet or worldwide via the Internet. It prepares the report content for viewing with a web browser. The HTML document uses the "frames" feature of modern browsers to render the report data suitable for viewing and scrolling. This method requires a template containing HTML frame specifications in a partitioned data set. CA VISION:Inform delivers a default template in the INFORM.SRCLIB installation data set. This default template, or "style," is one that you may customize. The HTML format places the report output into a dynamically allocated partitioned data set. Members of this data set contain the HTML specifications and data for the report document. The member names in this data set are always $MAIN, HEAD, BODY or LTOC. The LTOC member is present when any level 1 subtitle specifications are present in the report definition; otherwise, it is absent. You transfer these members, using a suitable file transfer tool, to a server or local workstation where the web browser can access them. You then use a browser session to view the CA VISION:Inform HTML document, specifying the $MAIN file (member).

For additional information on the required setup for implementing the alternate output formats, please refer to the Advantage VISION:Inform System Administrator Guide.

Comma-Delimited Data

The Comma-Delimited Data (sometimes known as Comma-Separated Variables) format prepares data for import into spreadsheets or other tools that will accept this form of input. The format of the columns of each detail or summary line is a series of fields with commas as delimiters. There is a restriction on this output of detail-only (no summaries) or summary-only (no detail) data. Column heading lines, unless you suppress them, are also in delimited data line format. No page title lines appear on the output. (If you specify page title lines, CA VISION:Inform ignores them.) If the data for any column contains a comma, quotation marks (" ") bracket the column contents. If the data for any column contains quotation marks (" "), CA VISION:Inform translates them to apostrophes (' ').

Tab-Delimited Data

The Tab-Delimited Data format also prepares data for import into spreadsheets or other tools that will accept this form of input. It is nearly identical to the Comma-Delimited Data format except that a tab character (rather than a comma) delimits the columns of data. If the data for any column contains a tab, CA VISION:Inform translates the tab character to a blank. No quotation marks bracket the column contents in this format.

Plain Text File

The Plain Text format prepares data for insertion into other text documents (*.txt files). It prepares the report content without machine- or platform-specific spacing control characters preceding each line. The output contains embedded blank lines to simulate the line spacing that would normally appear on a printed report. A plain text report does not contain any page breaks. The page title and column headings appear once at the beginning of the report and only at NEWPAGE control breaks on a GROUP field.

Locating Alternate Output Format Report Files

When you submit a query that specifies one of the alternate output formats for a report, CA VISION:Inform does not direct the report output for that query to the communications file as it does for standard format queries, but instead writes it to a dynamically allocated z/OS data set. Summary data for the alternate output format query is written to the communications file and when you issue the CA VISION:Inform VIEW command for the query (in READY status), you will see information similar to that shown below:

**QUERY 1234-QUERY1 , CLASS 10**
**PROCESSED 12/19/03 AT 17:52:41**
HTM='ATKGE02.QUERY1.H2941104.HTML', SIZE= 28K, RECS= 32

The first six lines are the standard CA VISION:Inform report header that is part of all report output. The seventh line shows the generated data set name for the alternate output format report file, along with a record count and an approximate file size in bytes.

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