Differences between SPFLite and IBM ISPF

Contents of Article


Introduction

Extensions to many of the standard commands

New Primary commands

New line commands

Additional line command extensions


Introduction


SPFLite differs from mainframe ISPF in several areas, most noticeably in the keyboard handler.  You have more flexibility with SPFLite in customizing the keyboard than in ISPF.  You can find a full description in "Keyboard Customization".   Even before you customize it, the default keyboard setup for SPFLite is probably different from what you are used to.   The defaults are outlined in "Default Key Definitions".


Note: Some ISPF commands have not been implemented.  See IBM ISPF Command Support for more information on which commands have and have not been implemented, and work-arounds some of these.


You can define keyboard macros and launch them from any keys of your choosing. This is described under "Keyboard Macros".


As mentioned in the Welcome to SPFLite, the KEYMAP facility and mappable keyboard functions play an important role in providing many of the powerful features of SPFLite.  IBM ISPF did not give as much emphasis to this, because 3270 keyboards only allowed for mapping of PF keys, whereas SPFLite can map almost anything.  The time you spend learning about this facility will be well worth the effort.


SPFLite does not support the IBM ISPF feature of "3270 split screen mode" and the associated legacy SPLIT command.  With tabbed editing and the ability to open multiple instances of SPFLite, as well as the Multi-Edit feature to edit several files simultaneously in the same edit window, IBM's 3270 split screen mode is not really needed.  


Note: The SPFLite command SWAP PRIOR will alternate the 'focus' of the editor between the last two edit tabs you have referenced.  The F9 key has a standard mapping of SWAP, so if you wanted it to be SWAP PRIOR you would have to adjust its definition.  Some users may prefer mapping the SWAP PRIOR command to Ctrl-Tab, since that key is often used for a similar function in other Windows programs.  If you use SWAP PRIOR in this way, it will achieve much of what a mainframe ISPF user would do when editing two files in a 3270 split screen session and swapping between them with F9.


The ISPF standard of retaining a command on the command line after completion is supported, by prefixing the command with an & character.


SPFLite utilizes the mouse where possible, to enhance your productivity.  See "Use of the Mouse" for details.


Besides including nearly all standard ISPF commands and functions (See IBM ISPF Command Support for information on what commands are supported). SPFLite has added editing features not found in mainframe ISPF or in PC-based SPF editors of the past.  These features include the following.


Message Handling


ISPF supports a multi-level message handling ability.   When a message is issued, you can press HELP for a more detailed message and a 2rd time to go directly to a specific Help topic related to the error.


SPFLite does not provide this extensive level of support.   When messages are issued internally by various command processors, SPFLite tracks the severity of the various messages and will ultimately issue the message flagged as being 'most severe'


Generally, this works quite well and there is no problem determining the error condition.   However sometimes, especially when several commands are issued together in one interaction, it may not be entirely clear what has gone wrong, and being able to review all issued messages would enable a quick resolution.


Whenever multiple internal messages have been issued, and SPFLite has chosen the 'most severe' one to display, the message will be prefixed with a + character, to indicate that multiple messages have occurred.


If a HELP command is immediately issued at this point (while the + prefixed message is still displayed, SPFLite will open a pop-up list of all issued messages as they were issued for your review.


Extensions to many of the standard commands




New Primary commands



New line commands



Additional line command extensions





See Extended Line Command Modifiers for more information.



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