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Using Screen Designer

A practical guide to making the new feature functional


When Rational Developer for Power Systems (RDP or RD Power) was announced earlier this year, it contained the long-awaited DDS Screen and Report Designers. The earlier version of the toolset, RDi, included a technology preview Screen Designer but since it clearly stated on the screen it shouldn’t be used for production code, we didn’t spend much time working with it. Now that it’s fully supported, we’ve begun using this one and we thought you may want to learn more about how to use it as well.

You can get an introduction to the Screen Designer layout in “Move Over SDA, RDPi is in the House” so we’ll concentrate on illustrating the use of the DDS Designer for designing and maintaining DSPF screens. To help you understand, we've created two videos that walk you through the steps. Video 1 shows how to open a member in Screen Designer and work with existing items. Video 2 shows you how to add new items. 

Opening a Member in Screen Designer

Get into the Screen Designer from “Open with…” on the right-click context menu on a DSPF source member in the RSE View. It’s not the default on a double-click—that still opens the DDS in the source editor as it did before. Also, for those of you who, like us, had been using the CODE designer, you’ll notice that you’ll still get the CODE Designer option from “Open with…” but Screen Designer, which uses this new integrated DDS designer, is also there below it.

Rational has provided a special DDS Designer perspective, so once you open the DSPF member with Screen Designer, you may want to open the perspective named “DDS Design.” This perspective is very similar to the default Remote Systems Explorer (RSE) perspective. The primary differences between RSE and the DDS Design perspective are that the Outline View is moved the bottom left position (1 in Figure 1) roughly where Properties was in RSE while the Properties view (2 in Figure 1) moves to the “multi-purpose” stack of views at the bottom of the Editor window. That’s because Properties view is used extensively with the Designer and often requires a much wider space to include all the details of items on the screens. In addition to those changes, the DDS Designer adds two views to the multipurpose view stack: the Source Prompter and the Field Table. We’ll see in a moment how these views are used when working with display files. One small change that we made from the default DDS Designer perspective is shown in Figure 1. We closed the separate Palette view so that we would get the Palette integrated into the Screen Designer. This makes it much easier to work with the Designer view in full screen (by double-clicking at the top of the designer window), as shown in Figure 2.

You will need to make a decision about whether you want to work with individual record formats or what the tool refers to as “Screens.” A screen is one or more record formats that can be viewed on the design screen at the same time. For users of the CODE Designer, a Screen is equivalent to a Group. One nice thing about this designer is that we now have the choice of using it with just a record format without the extra step of putting that record into a screen (or group) first. For those records that don’t overlay other formats, using the Record design mode can be a timesaver. Subfile and Subfile Control records are special cases that can be seen on the design screen at the same time even when using the Record design mode.

This mode option is in the “Design page screen control” panel above the design window. We normally have the control panel hidden (click on the small arrow in the top left corner) most of the time, except when we’re either selecting the “Design Records” or “Design Screens” option or when creating Screens from record formats. When the design page screen control panel is hidden, we use the Outline View to select record formats to work with.


Jon Paris is a technical editor with IBM Systems Magazine and co-owner of Partner400.

Susan Gantner is a technical editor with IBM Systems Magazine and co-owner of Partner400.



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