One of the annoying things about recording PC5250 macros is that you also record your wait-time along with your OS/400 input. (Wait-time is the amount of time a user spends thinking, or waiting, between entering keystrokes and commands.) Because of wait-time recording, when you start playing back the macro, command execution is delayed as the macro also replays the wait-time you incurred during recording. In earlier versions of IBM's PC5250 emulator (which comes with both the Client Access for Windows 95/NT and Client Access Express for Windows products), the only way to eliminate the recorded wait-time is to manually go into your macro script file (*.MAC) and remove the Wait commands.
This situation has changed with the new PC5250 program that comes with Client Access Express for Windows V5R1. IBM now provides a parameter for you to control how your macro's wait-time is recorded. This parameter can only be set as you're recording the macro; you can't use it to change wait-times on existing macros. To set this parameter, open the Record Macro/Script dialogue by selecting Actions, Start Recording Macro from the PC5250 menu bar. IBM has added a Record User Wait Time area on this screen that contains three radio button selections that control how PC5250 records wait-time for the new macro. You can select only one of these radio buttons. Here are the new options for recording wait-times:
- Actual -- The macro stores the actual wait-time you experienced during macro creation. The macro will play in exactly the same amount of time you took to record it. This is the default setting.
- None -- The macro will not store wait-times between keystrokes and commands, and the commands will be executed instantaneously in sequence. This setting enables the macro to play back faster, as all the wait-time is eliminated.
- Fixed -- All macro wait-times are reset to a constant wait-time of 25 ms (milliseconds). This is a set PC5250 parameter, and there is no automated way to change it, although you can still manually edit it inside the macro.
Of the three options, None is the most valuable because it can actually decrease processing time. And -- if you're deploying macros for a number of functions throughout your company where speed is an issue, such as in the order entry or customer service departments -- this simple setting can increase productivity. However, None may not be appropriate in all cases, as you may need to force the macro into a short wait state as your iSeries processes incoming data before returning a response. In those cases, you may need to use the Actual or Fixed option.
This setting is available only with the new PC5250 program that comes with Client Access Express for Windows V5R1. So, as you migrate to the new Express client, be sure to give it a try.
About the author: Joe Hertvik is an IT consultant and freelance writer who specializes in middleware, network infrastructure, and iSeries and AS/400 issues. Joe can be reached at email@example.com.
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This was first published in August 2001