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The $ENTER function provides efficient terminal dialogue with users of data entry applications.


The format of the $ENTER function is:

$ENTER (number of values, prompt string, default value, separator, name prefix)

$ENTER prompts the terminal operator with the value entered in the prompt string argument. If this argument is omitted, this prompt appears:


The operator enters a single line of input which is read by Model 204. This line is parsed into individual values using the value of the separator argument as the delimiter.

  • The separator argument must be a single character. If it is omitted, a comma is used as the default separator. If an input value is longer than 255 characters, a warning message is issued and the value is truncated. The input values are assigned in the order of %variables using the value of the name prefix argument as follows:
  • %name prefix 01, %name prefix 02, %name prefix 03,...

  • If the name prefix argument is omitted, the %variables are named %01, %02, %03, and so on. All %variable names generated by $ENTER must appear elsewhere in the request so that the variables can be allocated during compilation.
  • The number of values argument is required; it indicates the number of values assigned by $ENTER. If any values are omitted, the value specified in the default value argument is assigned to the appropriate %variables. If the default value argument is omitted, a single blank character is the default.

If $ENTER completes successfully, it returns a value of 0. If it fails for any of these reasons, $ENTER returns a value of 1 and prints an explanatory message:

  • Too many values are included on the input line.
  • The number of values argument is less than 1 or greater than 99.
  • Required %variables were not allocated during compilation (a %variable used in $ENTER does not appear elsewhere in the request).

Example 1

Suppose a request contains the following function call:

%X = $ENTER(3, 'ENTER 3 VALUES', '99999' ,, 'ZZ')

The following prompt is displayed at the terminal:


The user enters:


$ENTER returns a value of 0. This result is equivalent to the following:

%ZZ01 = 'A1' %ZZ02 = '99999' %ZZ03 = 'C3'

Example 2

%Y = $ENTER (4,,,'/',)

This default prompt is displayed:


The user enters:


$ENTER returns a value of 0, which is equivalent to:

%01 = 'ONE' %02 = 'TWO' %03 = 'THREE' %04 = 'FOUR'