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What's Up, DOCumentation? 2002 # 9

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September 2002


Bob Green, President

To: Users of Robelle Software

Re: News of the HP e3000 and Robelle

If you haven't been visiting the Robelle web site,, at least once a week, here is what you have been missing. Included are many of the stories posted to the web since the last newsletter.

If you are reading a PDF or text version of this newsletter, remember that the headline of every story is actually a web link to the full story or more information. If you want to follow a link to get more information, go to the web home of the current newsletter:

Table of Contents:

Update Your Account
Add/Change CPUs
Contact Robelle

Ask Support
Technical Information
What's New?

Free Trials. Click for:
Qedit for Windows
Host-based Qedit

Ecometry Solutions
Healthcare Solutions
Education Users
Consultants Corner

Qedit for Windows
Qedit for e3000
Suprtool for e3000
Suprtool Training

About Robelle
About the HP e3000
About HP-UX

News and Upcoming Events

No Rush To Migrate, Until You Are Ready

Here is a Robelle Press Release: Migrating an application can be complex, expensive and risky. There is no rush to move before you are ready. Robelle will help you extend the life of your 3000s and make your eventual migration easier as well.

Webcast: New HP 3000 Models

George Stachnik invites you to a web cast on Thursday, September 5th starting at 8:30 am until 10:00 am (PST) to meet the new HP 3000 PA-8700 A-class and N-class servers with MPE/iX 7.5. These high-end servers have increased performance and additional functionality.

Robelle at HP World 2002

hpworld 2002

We are sending Tammy Roscoe, Neil Armstrong and Bob Green to Los Angeles for the conference. Look for us in Booth 1101 and mark your calendar for Tuesday 5-6pm - Room 408B for Bob Green's new paper on "Transfomring TurboIMAGE Data" with practical tips/details on moving your data to Oracle, Eloquence, SQL Server, PostgreSQL and more! You can get a sneak preview by reading the paper (PDF format).

HPWorld MPE Schedule

Here is the schedule of MPE-related events at HPWorld 2002 in Los Angeles. The link is to a PDF file on the HP Jazz web site.

Edsger Dijkstra

Dutch computer-science pioneer Edsger W Dijkstra has died, aged 72. Link to the The Register newsletter.

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HP Tips

3kworld: Chrisí Printronix/Tally printer cheat sheet

Now that Tally is competing with Printronix for the HP 3000 printer business, Chris Gauthier of 3kworld has created a comparision of the product offerings.

HP Encyclopedia: Line Drawing Characters

You may have to delve into some old code that uses HP Line Drawing characters. Here is an article from our Encyclopedia that compares them with other line drawing characters.

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Qedit for Windows Tips

Avoid the "vi" Curse

The standard text editor provided with UNIX systems, including HP-UX, is called "vi". It runs in a character-based terminal window and assigns a special meaning to each keystroke (for example, "k" means cursor up). But you do have a vi alternative from Robelle:

"Qedit for Windows is the best thing since sliced bread! Our operations and programming staff who are less familiar with 'vi' would be lost without it. Well worth the small cost!"

Al Parker, Senior Systems Analyst, Indal Technologies Inc.

Windows/PC Tips

Microsoft Volume Licensing

From The Register newsletter: Businesses using Microsoft's volume licensing programs may think that they are buying OS licenses, but they aren't! Microsoft expects them to also purchase a new OS license for each new machine, even if they immediately overwrite it under the volume licensing program. Click the link to find out why.

For more Windows tips, visit the permanent location of these articles.

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Suprtool Tips

The Story Behind Suprlink

"Find all students from NY with 3.0 grade point, majoring in English, whose parents are alumni, and who have less than $5000 in student loans."

Once upon a time there was an HP 3000 site that had many user reports like the one above. Although their database was small, it was complex, with many links from the student master to the detail datasets about the student. Some reports like the one described above took two hours or more to run and interfered with interactive response.

Why were these reports taking so long and what could we do to help? Click the link above for the full story, historical and technical!

Suprtool: Changing the Display Length

One of our customers wanted to print a J2 field with List Standard, but the default column width for J2 is too wide for the screen (it is 10 bytes) and overflows to a second line. This customer wanted to specify a smaller width for the J2 field, based on his knowledge that the values never went over 5 digits. You can use the numeric conversion feature of the Extract command to move the existing value to a temporary field with the desired length. For full instructions, click the link above.

Suprtool/Qedit/Eloquence Training

Jeff Kubler is an independent, authorized Robelle training instruction. His upcoming 2-day Suprtool training class at TechGroup University in Maryland (Sept 12-13) is complemented by a one-day Qedit training class on Sept 9 and a two-day Eloquence class Sept 10-11. For more information, email

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HP-UX and Migration Planning

HP Advisor: Myths and Truths About "Eloquence"

The new issue of the HP Advisor magazine for MPE users contains a good introduction to the Eloquence database, putting it in context and clearing up any confusion.

SAPdb: a test drive

We have installed the SAPdb enterprise-class open-source database and put it through some initial tests.
SAPdb is designed for the business enterprise, with 24x7 uptime, scalability and high performance in mind. There are no limitations on database sizes or on the number of users. SAPdb is ACID compliant (fully supports ISO-SQL 92 Standards) and includes all RDBMS and enterprise features expected in an open DBMS such as Views, triggers, foreign keys, constraints of various kinds, stored procedures, versioning, hot backups, etc. ODBC and JDBC drivers are supported.

User Advice for HP-UX Newcomers!

In response to a cry for help from an MPE user, long-time Robelle user Glenn Cole ( gave some good tips that we repeat here.

> I am about to migrate from HP3000 to HP9000.  Will I have to
> learn totally new commands or is it the same?

Click the link above to read Glenn's reply, where he explains how to use your MPE system to get a head start on HP-UX.

invent9k: Admin Functions Xref

Invent9k is the free HP-UX development system that HP has set up for MPE users and vendors. One of the cool functions of the server is an interactive tool that explains HP-UX system admininistration functions for MPE users. Just select the MPE task from the pull-down menu and it will give you the equivalent HP-UX solution!

There is also a commands cross-reference and a programmer api cross-reference. Very cool!

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SPL Manual Is Online

SPL stands for "Systems Programming Language" and is the proprietary high-level language that the original HP 3000 was programmed in. There are still thousands of lines of SPL utility software around the world - you may even have some in your shop! Now HP's Jazz web site has a copy of the documentation.

OpenMPE: 3000-Related Manuals

The OpenMPE organization is collecting 3000 manuals on their web site. They already have some by HP, Lund, Vesoft and Robelle (they should probably save copies of the HP PDF files from before they are removed by HP). If you have any manuals to post or link, email them to

Using HP 3000: Fundamental & Advanced Skills Tutorials

On-line at the Jazz site: the Files for use with Using HP 3000, Fundamental and Advanced Skills Tutorials (MPN 32650-90871 & 32650-90872). This is a compressed tar file (spare.tar.Z). Please refer to the notes on the Jazz software download page for details on how to download and unpack this tar archive file.

Terix Signs With IBM To Service HP 3000s Nationally

Terix Computer has signed a partner agreement with IBM Global Services to provide on-site HP 3000 maintenance services with Terix.

Bruce Mitchell, Director/HP Services, says "by October 1, we will be able to deliver up to 24x7 hardware coverage out of more than 200 cities. The first phase of the program is for the 9x7 and 9x9 lines of equipment with the A and N class coming before year end.

For more information, email Bruce at or call him at 360-568-7228.

3000 Resources: StonMan Consulting

Click the link above for details on StonMan, with 15+ years experience with Qedit and Suprtool. Grant Stone has even presented a basic SUPRTOOL class for IBM to HP3000 converted programmers.

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Host-Based Qedit Tips

Host-based Qedit Pre-release

Version 5.3.10 of Qedit is a "pre-release" that is available for customer testing. Improvements include new option to allow List to find nearest line and the correction of a number of problems.

Qedit: Check Comma-Delimited Files

A customer received a comma-delimited file from an outside source. He had to edit some of the fields to make sure they would not get rejected during the import operation. He also wanted to make sure that he had the exact number of fields, no more, no less.

Click the link above for the Qedit solution.

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Internet Tips

Spam Reaches New High

According to this story on ZDNet, spam email is now 36% of all email traffic, up from 8% a year ago, and destinated to make up the majority of email by yearend. One the firms quoted in the article is Brightmail, which provides services to filter out spam.

Alertbox: Making the Physical Environment Interactive

Another fascinating column by user interface specialist Jakob Nielsen.

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Newsletter Distribution

Robelle Solutions Technology Inc. provides the What's Up, DOCumentation? newsletter as a service to our customers. The newsletter is available on the web: in HTML format for browsing and PDF format for printing. Visit

Comments about this issue, as well as ideas for future issues, including news, tips, and suggestions for articles, can be sent to

Previous Issue: August Newsletter

Some of the highlights from the August 2002 issue:

* How to Use MPE Variables in Qedit?
* SAPDB: An Open-Source Database
* HP Transitions Webcasts Now Online
* Suprtool tips: Exporting to PostgreSQL
* Robelle Tech column: Export to MS SQL Server
* QWIN: Customize Your Syntax Coloring
* HPWorld Sneak-Preview: Bob Green's paper

Browse the HTML issues by clicking the link above, or download the PDF version.

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