Time-saving tips for finding the right command

Effective use of commands is essential to the efficient use of OS/400. But with well over 1,000 commands in the base operating system alone, finding the right command is sometimes an arduous process. Over the years we have all developed techniques to make this process less laborious. Here are a few of my favorites.

Finding a new command

When searching for a better way to perform an iSeries-related task, we often look for a new command (i.e., a command previously not known to us). One of the best ways I've found is by simply pressing F4 on any empty command line and using the resulting Major Command Groups menu. This menu is shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1

A quick example should prove the worth of this hidden treasure. Say you are looking for a command that will verify that a tape device is working properly before starting an OS/400 version upgrade. Using the menu shown above, you have two basic choices: search the Verb Commands submenu (option 2) for the verb "verify;" or, search the Subject Commands submenu (option 3) for the subject "device."

More Information

Going through this exercise will show you how easy it is to find new commands (if they exist). Rolling up on the Verb Commands submenu, you should notice a listing for "Verify Commands." Choosing this option gives you an immediate answer: the VFYTAP command.

You should also notice something interesting if you choose "Device Commands" on the Subject Commands submenu (option 3). VFYTAP is not found on the Device Commands menu, but several pages down on this menu is the subheading "Related Command Menus" (see Figure 2). The menus listed in this section represent other possible places you should look if the command you are searching for was not found in the previous section. Taking the "Device Management Commands" option under the related command menus section followed by the "Tape Commands" option will net the VFYTAP command.

Figure 2

Finding forgotten commands

Have you ever come across a useful command but use it so infrequently that you seldom remember its name? When it happens to me, I let the Select Command (SLTCMD) command come to the rescue. One such command is the Work with Job Schedule Entries command (WRKJOBSCDE). The problem I have remembering this command name is forgetting IBM's abbreviation for the word "schedule." I know the command starts "WRKJOBS" but cannot recall the rest.

This is the perfect situation for the SLTCMD command. We simply type


and press Enter, and a list of commands matching the generic name WRKJOBS* is presented to us (see Figure 3).

Figure 3

Tip: A shortcut for the SLTCMD command is to simply type a generic name on a command line and press Enter. For example, instead of typing "SLTCMD WRKJOBS*" just type "WRKJOBS*" and press Enter.

Warning: If you do not use the shortcut version and instead type out "SLTCMD," take care to avoid inadvertently typing "DLTCMD" and deleting a group of commands. On U.S. keyboards, the "D" is adjacent to the "S" and no warning is given if the mistake is made.

About the author: Ron Turull is editor of Inside Version 5. He has more than 20 years' experience programming for and managing AS/400-iSeries systems.

This was first published in May 2004

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