Pages: 795 pp
Format: Softcover, Perfect binding, 7 in. x 9 in.
Retail price: $90.00
EPUB price: $80.00
About the Book
For years now the question has been surfacing in the
OpenVMS community "Where are the pimply faced kids?" The
other situation which seems to continually occur is a
developer of one language suddenly finding themselves
having to modify or maintain an application written in a
language completely foreign to them.
This book was a year long effort to answer both of those
questions. It also should help those to work on a good
platform. Once the rudimentaries of logging in, symbols,
logicals and the various editors are handled this book
takes the reader on a journey of development using the
most common tools encountered on the OpenVMS platform and
one new tool making headway.
A single sample application (a lottery tracking system) is
developed using FMS and RMS indexed files in each of the
covered languages. (BASIC, FORTRAN, COBOL and C/C++). The
reader is exposed on how to use CDD, CMS and MMS with
these languages as well.
A CD-ROM is included which contains the source, MMS and
command files developed through the course of the book.
Once RMS has been covered with all of the languages the
same application using MySQL with C and FMS is covered.
This breaks readers into the use of relational databases
if they are not currently familiar with the concept.
Rounding out the technical portion of the book is the same
application using RDB with FMS. While source code is
provided for all of the language implementations only
FORTRAN and COBOL are actually covered in the text.
It is the hope of the author that this book will prove a
useful reference on the desk of every OpenVMS developer.
The inclusion of MySQL should benefit both those
unfamiliar with relational technology and those platform
veterans interested in playing with MySQL for the first
There are two main intents of this book...
Allow developers who know at least one of the
covered languages on another platform to quickly come
up to speed on the OpenVMS platform.
Assist current OpenVMS developers finding themselves
having to work with a differentlanguage on this
Tips from the Book
The /SPECIFICATION qualifier of the SORT command
lets you identify a text file which contains a
plethora of power. You can define named fields, named
keys, named test conditions, inclusion criteria,
omission criteria. In a batch job stream, you
typically have a lead program which creates the sort
specification file (if you need to do record selection
that varies from run to run), execute the sort
command, then write your follow-up program to process
the sorted data. This is a much more acceptable
approach than writing one massive executable which
will run for hours without creating many entries in
the log file. Most developers I run into don’t know a
lot about the sort specification file, so we are going
to cover it in the COBOL chapter.
A reference is a “special” object. There is a reason
we covered COBOL prior to covering C, and references
are it. You better have read that chapter. When we
discussed the linkage section in COBOL, we discussed
how COBOL doesn’t really pass parameters unless it is
forced to pass them. The linkage section creates
reference points back into the caller’s
working-storage section. These references allow your
called module to use those values just like they were
your very own, but they aren’t. The reason most COBOL
programmers don’t even know there is a GIVING clause
on the procedure division is because they know the
linkage section operates via references (unless you
tell it not to). When you alter the values of items
passed by reference you are actually altering the
values in the caller.
"DO NOT begin any new database projects without first
reading chapter 13 (MySQL) and chapter 14 (Oracle-RDB) of
this book. Hint: while you can acquire MySQL for free, and
it may have a place for some small applications, it may
cost you more in the long run."
Neil Rieck, OpenVMS
"Hands-on programming throughout the book provides a
highly effective learning tool, and the best practices,
advice, and knowledge transfer from the author gives the
reader the unique feeling that they are sitting down next
to a mentor, being coached through the tricks of the
Regan Windsor, Reader Views
"I had it shipped to the Netherlands for the price of $96.
It arrived within a week of the order date. Worth every
dollar (euro). "
"Highly recommended for OpenVMS programmers (especially
those new to OpenVMS who need a good bootstrap). At the
very minimum, a copy of this book should be purchased as
an "office resource" in every location where OpenVMS
Neil Rieck, OpenVMS
"Amazing. This is a truly astonishing work and a MUST for
everybody who is starting with application developing, be
it on VMS or not (I can not tell for others as I am
starting myself). It is not a book where you will find
many theories about abstract topics but one displaying
everything you need to know by means of examples,
explaining each example's important parts in-depth. You
really feel the experience of the author throughout the
text! This is a book I'd try to take with me if my house
was burning down."
After I got over the surprise of seeing a new book on
OpenVMS Software Development I wondered at the title -
this is an 800 page book with a CD! The book is intended
for people who are familiar with programming on another
platform and are faced with maintaining an application on
VMS written using classic OpenVMS software tools. Perhaps
a better title would be “What a person unfamiliar with
OpenVMS should know to maintain an OpenVMS application.“
Hughes describes uses of: the MMS and CMS tools from the
widely used DECSET OpenVMS software development toolkit;
CDD; FMS; the RDB and MySQL databases. He also mentions
other tools often found in the OpenVMS application
development environment such as VMSMAIL, PHONE etc. Parts
of OpenVMS which will be unfamiliar to a person
transferring from another platform, such as logical names
and DCL symbols, are introduced as they will often be
encountered when maintaining an application on OpenVMS.
The book is based around a single application which is
developed in each of DEC BASIC, FORTRAN, COBOL, C and C++
using a variety of tools. Full source code is provided on
the CD. By repeatedly implementing the same thing in
different languages the programmer familiar with one
language can learn about another. The presented code is
not suitable for a production environment but is intended
to illustrate something being described in the text. For
example the error handling is not always fully implemented
except when Hughes wishes to describe dealing with errors.
Hughes describes building the application and typical ways
of organizing the development environment and highlights
common pitfalls for programmers coming from other
platforms. The book is written in American English and in
a casual style. Although it is easy to read some people
who are not native English speakers may not recognise some
of the colloquial terms used. I don’t think this will
significantly hinder understanding.
Hughes has opinions about how things should be done and is
not afraid to state them! Personally I find an opinionated
book easier to engage with because there is something to
argue or agree with. The final chapter is Hughes opinion
on the state of the IT Industry.
The key to appreciating this book its specific focus. I
think the target audience will find this a useful resource
to sit alongside the OpenVMS Documentation. However the
material is also useful for an OpenVMS developer faced
with an application in a different programming language to
the one they usually use.