ap.system.admin.tips Article/Article


Command ap.system.admin.tips Article/Article
Applicable release versions: AP
Category Article (24)
Description discussion of System Administrator issues for AP.

Contributed by Terri Hale
(Original Article ran in PickWorld Magazine)

Although Advanced Pick (AP) requires very little system maintenance, there are a few tasks which must be managed by the System Administrator. The Data Manager (DM) account on AP contains system files which are used by Pick to manage the system. Three of these files are used by both Pick and the end users. This article will address the administrative task of managing the users, tcl- stack, and pibs files. It will also define a procedure for installing or upgrading an AP system.

The Users File

Logging onto an AP system is a two-step process. First you enter a user.id, then (optionally) a master dictionary name. Note: The master dictionary is ignored if there is a logto (or to) command in the macro field of the users item. More on that later. Users are defined in the users file on the DM account. Each AP system is shipped with the following three users defined: dm, sysprog, and ?. The dm and sysprog user.ids should be used only by the Systems Administrator and should therefore be password protected. The ? user.id can be used to create new users.

How to Create New Users

There are three ways to create a new user in AP.

1. Use the ? user.id.

If you have not logged on yet, you can create a new user by entering "?" at the initial logon prompt.

Enter your PICK user.id: ?

When you use the ? user.id, the system displays a message about the automatic creation of users. It then takes you into the Update processor and allows you to enter your new user.id and your name. After creating a new user, the system asks if you also want to create an account (master dictionary). If the answer is 'y', an account is created which has the same name as the user.id that was just created. If the answer is 'n', then only a new user will be created. Using the ? user.id is the easiest and fastest way to create a new user.id. Although all three methods require some data entry, there are only two fields to enter in this method and explicit instructions are given. In other words, you don't need to know how to use the Update processor to enter a new user.

Warning: There is no password on the ? user.id. System Administrators beware! Anyone can create a new user this way.

2. Use UP to create a new user.

Log to the DM account and use the dictionary driven Update processor to create a new item in the users file.


u users ph * UP command
name Pat Hale * enter users name
keys * enter optional
* security keys
password * add a password
* if desired
privilege sys2 * possibly change
* privilege level
macro term-type * defines terminal
* type, uses pibs file
sp-assign * default printer
* assignment
brk-level * use break key for
* level pushing
esc-level * use escape key for
* level pushing
speller-off * turn off AP's
* spelling checker
to my.acct * automatically log
* to my.acct

There are six commands in the user-defined macro in the example above. However, there can be as many commands as needed. The last command to my.acct will cause the user to log directly to the master dictionary my.acct after all the other commands have been executed. The user by passes the second step in the logon process and automatically goes to the master dictionary specified.

3. Copy an existing user to a new id.

The third method involves copying an existing user item to another name (item-id). If you choose this method, you will have to edit the new users item and replace the name field with the users name. You may also want to add a password, change the privilege level and add or delete user specific macros.

copy users dm
to :th

u users 'th'

The TCL-Stack File

Every command typed in at TCL (terminal control language) is saved in a file on the DM account called tcl-stack. This file is tied directly to the user.id. In fact, the item-id of the tcl-stack file IS the user.id. Each time the user executes a command at TCL, that command is added to the users tcl-stack item. However, if the exact same command is typed in more than once, only one copy of the command is saved. There is no limitation on the number of attributes allowed in a tcl-stack item (or any item in AP). The items in this file can get very large. It is up to the user or System Administrator to maintain the tcl-stack items. A sample tcl-stack item that contains 13 attributes / commands:

u tcl-stack 'th'

01 u md j.update
02 create-file class 1 1
03 ud class name address city zip
04 create-index class a4
05 ld class
06 u class data-entry
07 create-file staff 1 1
08 copy class *
09 ud class class
10 create-index staff a4
11 delete-file class
12 delete-index staff a1
13 u staff data-entry

Having an unlimited and timeless tcl-stack has wonderful benefits. You never have to type the same TCL command in more than once. A history of all commands ever executed is at your disposal to recall, modify and re-execute them. If you are running on an older release of AP, however, you may encounter a locking situation with your tcl-stack. In older releases, if two or more persons were logged on with the same user.id, and one of the persons was editing, tra versing or updating their tcl-stack (thus creating an item lock for that stack), and then another process also tried to access or update that same stack, the latter process became roadblocked until the original process released the stack. This was most prevalent when one process was looking at the stack and another proc ess that was logged on to the same user.id was trying to enter a TCL command, which updates the stack. As soon as the stack was released everything was fine. Once again, this has been resolved in the later releases of AP.

The PIBs File

The PIBs (process identification block) file is where the terminal and printer characteristics and device type are kept. The item-id of the pibs file is the port number. There are two attributes in the pibs file that require maintenance by the System Administrator. These two attributes are called location and devices. The location field contains the users name and/or location. The devices field contains the terminal and printer characteristics and the device type associated with the port. Note that the terminal and printer characteristics are optional. The devices file contains all the valid physical devices and defines their characteristics. The item-id of the devices file is the device name. The AP system comes with over 100 devices defined. The following command displays the location and device fields for pib 0.

Screen: * COMMENTS
u pibs 0 location device * UP command to
* edit pibs port# 0
location Pat's desk * users name and
* physical
* location

To demonstrate how to set up the pibs file, the following example will define items in the pibs file for ports 1, 2, & 3.

u pibs 1 2 3 4 location device data-entry
pibs '1'
location computer room
device mm-mon
pibs '2'
location Bob's office
device 79,25,0,7,1,8,80,50,wy-50
pibs '3'
location Sara's den
device ibm-3151

There are two commands associated with the pibs file. They are term-type and lu (or list-users or listu).


The term-type command reads the terminal type and characteristics from the pibs file (devices attribute) and then executes the term command. The term command, when used with optional parameters, changes the terminal and printer specifications for the current session or until another term command is issued. This command only effects the line that issued the command. The term command without parameters, displays the line's terminal and printer characteristics. In the users item described in Figure B., the term-type command is one of the commands listed in the user-defined macro. Each time the user logs on, term-type is executed. Therefore, it is recommended that the System Administrator define the pibs items before having the users log on.


The lu command lists all the items in the pibs file.


PIB# USER. udate utime MD...... mdate mtime LOCATION......
*0 th 11/18 9:49 my.acct 11/18 9:49 Pat's office
1 dm 11/18 7:00 dm 11/18 7:00 Computer room
2 jes 11/18 8:00 jes.acct 11/18 8:00 Bob's office
3 cb 11/18 7:00 cb.acct 11/18 7:00 Sara's den

Installation and Upgrade Procedures

The following steps are suggested for installing a new AP System or for upgrading an AP or R83 system to AP. They should be performed in the order shown.

1. Decatalog all your Pick/Basic programs.

This step is not always necessary when upgrading from AP to AP. This step IS necessary when upgrading from R83 to AP.

2. t-dump users t-dump tcl-stack t-dump pibs t-dump md 'user-coldstart'

Step 2 is not required if this is a virgin AP installation or if this is an R83 to AP conversion. This step is necessary when upgrading from AP to AP. The tcl-stack, users, and pibs files all reside on the DM account which gets 'upgrad ed' with each new release. It is important to save these files and reload them after the upgrade is completed.

3. file-save

Always do a full file-save (or account saves) before installing Pick. Use the t-verify command to verify the save.

4. Install Pick

Follow the instructions provided.

5. account-restore(s)

Each account can be restored one at a time, or there is a restore-accounts verb available to restore all non existing accounts found on a full-save tape.

6. update-md

From the DM account, run the update-md command for each user account on the system. This program will update each account with the new verb definitions from DM.

7. t-load users (o t-load tcl-stack (o t-load pibs (o t-load md 'user-coldstart' (o

This step is necessary only if step 2 was done. Be sure to use the over write option when loading these files since they exist on DM already.

8. compile Pick/BASIC application source code.

9. catalog Pick/BASIC programs where necessary.