Drawing shapes on the 3270 Terminal

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Drawing shapes on the 3270 Terminal

Postby Quasar » Fri Jul 26, 2013 10:57 am

Hi folks,

Its been a while. Let me set the context - I wrote a tiny macro called MINE, that draws a visual structure chart - all the caller and called routines of a paragraph. It works with Partitioned Datasets as well as Endevor Source and Listings. Here's the XMIT Format file http://cbttape.org/ftp/updates/CBT891.zip.

I wish to add some more functionality, such as Flow-Charting a program. This requires the ability to draw flow-chart shapes such as Rectangles, Polygons, diamond-boxes and circles on the 3270 emulator. Surfing the Internet, did not turn up much results. Do I need to get down and dirty, understand 3270 data-stream? Is there a way to achieve this? Any pointers?

I didn't know, what's an appropriate place to post it. For now, I've posted it under TSO & SISPF.

Thank you very much,

Quasar Chunawala,
Software Engineer, Lives at Borivali, Mumbai
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Re: Drawing shapes on the 3270 Terminal

Postby NicC » Fri Jul 26, 2013 3:13 pm

The 3270 is a character terminal. To do graphics you need GDDM (I think).
The problem I have is that people can explain things quickly but I can only comprehend slowly.
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Re: Drawing shapes on the 3270 Terminal

Postby steve-myers » Fri Jul 26, 2013 4:22 pm

NicC wrote:The 3270 is a character terminal. To do graphics you need GDDM (I think).
I'm pretty sure NicC is correct. In addition, your terminal emulator has to support GDDM streams; many do not. The IBM Personal Communicator (or whatever they call it this week) program does, but I don't know about any others. In my limited experience (using the GDDM capabilities in the MVS Book Manager Read program in the 1990s) it was clumsy and seemed rather slow. It did not seem possible to mix character and GDDM images on a single screen.

There used to be programs around that could "draw" these types of shapes on 1403 printers. I think they might work on 3270s, but I do not the results would be pleasing. I sort of recall they used the printer's ability to overprint lines, something that is rarely used any more since GDDM type images can be sent to page printers more directly.

Well, good luck.
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Re: Drawing shapes on the 3270 Terminal

Postby Pedro » Fri Jul 26, 2013 6:19 pm

various thoughts:

1. A few weeks ago, I think Prino shared a sample program that showed how to use graphic escape characters on ISPF-L. You can easily draw boxes similar to popup panels. My suggestion is to just use rectangles in a vertical stack.

2. For 3270, the answer is GDDM. ISPF does allow shapes to be included in panels... but I think learning GDDM will be more difficult than what it is worth. My suggestion is create a description of the structure you want, download it via the ISPF workstation client, then somehow launch a workstation program that understands the description and formats it.
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Re: Drawing shapes on the 3270 Terminal

Postby Stefan » Fri Aug 16, 2013 11:06 am

You could use graphical escape characters in a dynamic area.
I've written a small utility to show all characters with their hex value. The actual visual representation depends on your local code page. You will find this program on my web site.
There are 10 types of people in the world: Those who understand binary, and those who don't.
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Re: Drawing shapes on the 3270 Terminal

Postby Ed Goodman » Fri Aug 16, 2013 7:07 pm

Does it HAVE to display on the 3270 screen? Could you write it in HTML and make it available to link from a browser?

Maybe even a PCL (printer control language) file, or better yet, a PDF?

Unless it's just for fun, then more power to ya.
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Re: Drawing shapes on the 3270 Terminal

Postby dick scherrer » Fri Aug 16, 2013 7:54 pm


Along with Ed, i'd consider something other than the 3270 for a presentation media.
Most are set up for 24x80 which does not allow for much on a screen.
Hope this helps,
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