Field display and message broadcast

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The Model 204 DISPLAY command and the IFDISP Host Language Interface function allow you to display:

  • Definitions of a field or fields
  • Definitions of physical field groups
  • File names, data sets, and (if you have the correct privileges) parameters
  • Preallocated fields in the file

You can also use DISPLAY to display information about file groups, procedures, and access rights. For a discussion of displaying access rights, see Displaying user and procedure classes.

The BROADCAST FILE command allows you to specify or change a message that is displayed whenever a user opens a file.

In this page, the DISPLAY command forms and the BROADCAST command are described in detail.

Displaying a field

The DISPLAY command can display the description of any field in the currently open file. Fields are listed with their attributes in the format specified by the display options (definitions, names only, or abbreviations).


The command is issued in the form:

DISPLAY FIELD [(display-option [,display-option])] {ALL | fieldname [,fieldname]...}


display-option One of the following:
Option Displays...


Name and description of the field in abbreviated form.

NOABBREV is the default.

COMMA If this is specified, a comma is used to separate the display of the field's attributes, and many of the strings of blanks between the attributes are collapsed to a single blank. Since commas are already used with the NOABBREV option, this actually only has an effect when the ABBREV option is specified.


Model 204 data definition language statements needed to rebuild a file.

NODDL is the default.

If there are repeating field group definitions in the file, 'DDL' is the only display-option which displays both the fieldgroup definitions as well as the field definitions.

DEFINITIONS Name and description of the field; this is the default.
NAMES Name (only) of the field.
NOUSE Field output on your terminal, even if a USE command precedes the DISPLAY. Any alternate device remains open, but is not used.
fieldname The name of an existing field in a Model 204 file.

You must enclose options in parentheses. If you do not specify any options in the DISPLAY FIELD command, DEFINITIONS is the default.

If you specify ALL, the display options are applied to all the fields in the currently open file, and all the fields are listed in alphanumeric order. Without ALL, the fields are listed in the order in which the field definitions are stored in the internal file dictionary, Table A. This order is unrelated to the order in which the fields were defined or the order in which they appear in Table B records.

The list of field names can include names that do not currently appear in any records. Even if a field name has been deleted from every record in which it occurs, or if all of the records in which it occurs have been deleted, the name is retained in the list of field names.

Displaying a field group

This DISPLAY command can display the name (as there are no other attributes) of one or more of the repeating field groups in the currently open file.


The command is issued in the form:

DISPLAY FIELDGROUP [(display-option [,display-option])] {ALL | fieldname [,fieldname]...}

Where the display options are as above.

Note: As there are no attributes to be displayed, the only display option that provides a different output format is DDL. This should rarely need to be used because, as noted above, this form displays FIELDGROUP definitions as well as FIELD definitions in its output:


Displaying a file

To display information about a file, use the DISPLAY FILE command.


The DISPLAY FILE syntax is:

DISPLAY FILE [(display_option[,display_option...])] {ALL | filename [,filename...]}


display_option is one of the following terms:

Option Result
DEFINITIONS Displays the filename, the values of all the file parameters normally displayed by the FPARMS and TABLES options, and, if you have file manager privileges, the names of the data sets normally displayed by the DDNAMES options.
FPARMS Displays FPARMS (file characteristics) parameters (see File characteristics parameters (FPARMS)), as well as the names of the sort or hash key field, and, if you have file manager privileges, any record security field that has been defined. This option is only accessible to general users if you set the PRIVDEF parameter to permit display.
TABLES Displays TABLES (file table) parameters (see File table parameters (TABLES)).
ABBREV When used with the FPARMS, TABLES, or DEFINITIONS option, lists parameter values in an abbreviated form, without bit-string descriptions and descriptive text.
DDNAMES Lists the names of the data sets that make up the Model 204 file. This option requires file manager privileges.
NOUSE Displays the information at your terminal even if a USE command preceded the DISPLAY command. The alternate output device is left open but is not used.

ALL causes Model 204 to apply the display options to all open files; otherwise, the command is applied only to those files listed.

If no options are included in the DISPLAY FILE command, DEFINITIONS is the default. The files specified must be open when you issue the command or the information is not displayed.

All options, except DDNAMES and FPARMS (as noted), can be issued by an ordinary Model 204 user. Options must be enclosed in parentheses.

Displaying a record description

To list the preallocated fields in the currently open file, issue the following form of DISPLAY:



NOUSE causes information to be displayed at your terminal even if a USE command preceded the DISPLAY command. The alternate output device is left open but is not used.

Fields are listed in the same order in which they are allocated in each record in the file. The OCCURS, LENGTH, and PAD specifications for the fields also are included (see the description of the DEFINE command in Defining fields manually).

Broadcasting a file message

The BROADCAST command allows you to add, change, or remove a file message that is normally displayed whenever a user opens a file.

The file message displayed on the user's terminal is preceded by a header line in the form:

MSG FROM FILE filename


The format of the BROADCAST command is:



text is the new file message.

URGENT displays the message almost immediately on the terminals of users who have the file open. See the following discussion of message timing.

Message timing for URGENT messages

The exact time at which an URGENT message is displayed on a user's terminal depends upon two factors:

  • What the receiver of the message is doing at the time (for example, waiting for input, running a request, and so on).
  • Type of Model 204 terminal handler used by the user (the IODEV number).

The following situations are most common:

If receiver is... Then the message is displayed...
Currently executing a command, such as a DISPLAY When the command completes
Running a request At the first backwards jump or bottom of a FOR loop
Entering input and is using a SNA Communications Server
(formerly VTAM) terminal

For other terminal types, messages cannot be displayed while the receiver is entering input.

Changing or deleting a BROADCAST message

You can change a BROADCAST message by issuing a new BROADCAST FILE command.

If you change a file message when a user has the file open, Model 204 displays the new message the next time that the user is at command level outside a procedure.

A copy of the message is saved in the file until it is implicitly deleted by recreating or reinitializing the file, or until the text is explicitly deleted by issuing the following command with no text string:


Creating a multiline message

The text included in the BROADCAST FILE command can consist of multiple lines, specified in the following way:

line1/line2/ ...


A slash (/) is displayed as a new line or a carriage return/line feed sequence.

Two slashes without text between them creates a blank line in the file message.

If insufficient storage is available to hold a copy of the file's BROADCAST message during open processing, an informational message is displayed and open processing continues.