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EZHELP is a file-browsing tool for MPE HELP catalogs that brings the advantages of terminal- based windowing to these standard information resources. EZHELP is a dual-purposed application. First, EZHELP functions as a windowed replacement for MPE HELP. Popup, scrollable windows contain lists of topics and items for easy information retrieval. Related information is easily accessed for any MPE command. You can pop up window displays on Examples, Parms, and Operations in just a few keystrokes.
EZHELP also offers a way to interactively view any other help catalog you may have on your system, delivering the same kind of look and feel interface to these information resources that you find with the system help catalog running under EZHELP. Because these files follow a standard structure, EZHELP is able to read the structure and dynamically arrange the information into a format that can be used in a windowing environment.

NOTE In this document, the "system help file" and "HELP catalog" refer to the MPE HELP formatted files. Refer to the HP manual entitled Message Catalogs Programmer’s Guide for more detail.

About HELP Catalogs

HELP CATALOGS follow a certain syntax that arranges information according to a set structure. In general, information is grouped according to whether it is an Entry or an Item. Entries are high- level descriptors, including commands, system utilities, and so forth. Items are categories of information that are provided for each Entry. Examples, Operation, and Parms are typical Items. EZHELP organizes the Entry and Item information into window displays that complement each other.

NOTE HELP catalog format statements (STARTHELP, STOPHELP, SUBSET, SUBITEM) cause no specific action in EZHELP. For example, shows what CICAT.PUB.SYS (the file for MPE HELP) contains for the ABORT command.

Figure 7.1 ABORT Command


EZHELP uses a PC-style interface which allows you to choose actions from a menu. There are selections for opening up the system help file, as well as for a help catalog file of your choice. When you choose a help catalog file, EZHELP asks you to key in the name of the file.
An easier way to choose a help catalog file is to select it from a popup picklist of file names. To display HELP Catalog Picklist, press F2 [Picklist] key when EZHELP asks you for the file name (see "Changing the HELP Catalog Picklist" for more information on what this is about).
If you want to directly access an MPE topic without having to work through the menu system, you can type ezhelp <MPE COMMAND> at the colon prompt.

How EZHELP Formats Information

When a help catalog is chosen, EZHELP opens the file and prepares it for display.
First, EZHELP reads the catalog file and creates a sorted list of all the Entry lines (ENTRYs are referred to as Topics in EZHELP). This list placed in a scrollable window called "Topics". From this list, you select the Topic to be displayed.
Second, EZHELP finds the first Entry line in the help catalog and treats it as the first topic. So, when you run a help catalog under EZHELP, the initial topic displayed is the first Entry that EZHELP found in the file.
Displaying other topics is achieved by pressing the Choose Topic function key. When you press this key, EZHELP displays the sorted list it prepared when you first selected the catalog file. Use Pg Dn and Pg Up keys to scroll through the list, and press Return key to choose the Topic to display.
Other function key operations are available to assist you with both Topic and Item selections. Refer to "Function Keys" for a complete description.

Cross-Reference Navigating

Hypertext-like cross-referencing is the ability to display information on related topics mentioned in the current window. Typically, related topics in the current window are selected by moving the cursor from one topic to the next. Having several topics in a single window, then, means that the user can branch to a new information display for a given topic just by pressing Return at a highlighted topic. True hypertext functionality implies that selectable topics in a window are informationally related to the current topic.
Since EZHELP has only a superficial knowledge of the data it is displaying, it would be impossible to provide the kind of true hypertext, relational links for sophisticated cross-reference support. however, it does provide a mechanism for superficial cross-referencing when the "Help" window is active (this is the window that contains text for a given topic).
Cross-referencing in EZHELP, then, is limited to accessing information displays for Topics mentioned in the current "Help" window (remember that Topics are those ENTRYs that are listed in the "Topics" window). EZHELP scans the current window to determine if there are any Topics in it. Any Topic, whether it is related to the current one or not, becomes a cross-reference candidate if it is in the current window.
Selecting a cross-reference Topic is done by pressing the letter t. When t is pressed, EZHELP scans the text on the screen and then looks for matches against other Entry lines. If a match is found, the cursor will be positioned at the beginning of the match. Pressing Return will cause the screen to switch to the new Topic window. Similarly, moving the cursor to a word and then pressing Return will tell EZHELP to check the text by the cursor against the Topic list. Again, switching to the new Topic if a match occurs.
To return to a previous screen, press p. Remember, the t and p options are only available in the Help window for a Topic.

Changing the HELP Catalog Picklist

The HELP Catalog Picklist is the picklist of help catalog file names used for selecting a catalog to display. This list is displayed by pressing the F2 [Picklist] key when EZHELP prompts for the catalog file name. You can add or remove catalog files from this list on an as-needed basis. For instance, the picklist provided with EZHELP may contain system help catalogs that your system doesn’t have. If this is the case, you may ant to remove these filenames from the list.
The picklist itself is stored in a flat file called EZHPCH.HELP. The first line in this file should not be modified. It contains formatting commands used to define the window. Right below this line are the names of the catalog files. Simply key in the name of the additional file, or delete unneeded file names as required. Because this window was defined with "unlimited" scrolling capabilities, the list can be as long as you need it to be.

NOTE If you own MAGNET (part of System Manager’s Toolbox), you can use it to build a help catalog picklist for you.

For example, to scan the entire file system for help catalogs you could enter:
magnet "-F@.@.@ -m -o mypic ’\ENTRY’ ’\ITEM’"
This sends the filelist to the file mypic in LISTF,6 format. Then, add the format line to this file and rename it This replaces the file provided with EZHELP.


Program capabilities required include IA, PH, and DS. No special user capabilities are required to run EZHELP.

Function Keys

This section discusses function key operations that are specific to EZHELP.


This function is used to return to the Topic previously displayed. Topics refer to the ENTRY topic, such as a command, tool, error, and so forth. It is similar to the PREVIOUS function that is standard across all windowed-based LPS-Tools.


This function is used to display the next Topic in the catalog file where a Topic refers to the ENTRY topic (such as a command, tool, error, and so forth).


This function is used to choose a Topic from the Topic List. The Pg Dn and Pg Up keys are used to navigate the Topic List.


This function is used to choose an Item for the currently selected Topic. It is operational only when a Topic is displayed. When you press the Choose Item key, EZHELP displays a picklist containing a list of ITEMS. These ITEMS include Example, Operation, and Parm.


This section provides step-by-step instruction for using the EZHELP program. It takes a tutorial- like approach that leads you through basic EZHELP operations. When you are finished with this section, you should have a very clear idea of how to use this tool.
Several screen captures are provided to guide you through each step.

Starting EZHELP

To start EZHELP, type EZHELP at the colon prompt and press Return.
MPE Help users have the option of directly displaying an MPE topic by typing ezhelp <mpe command>. For example, typing ezhelp getlog displays the GETLOG Entry for MPE Help. Using EZHELP in this way bypasses the opening screen displays and prompts. For now, however, it is assumed that you will be using the EZHELP menus.
The next display shows the EZHELP main menu bar.

Figure 7.2 EZHELP Main Menu
When you first run EZHELP, it displays copyright and banner information at the bottom of the screen. The top row of the screen is an information line that contains the EZHELP name and the name of the currently opened help catalog. The second row is a menu bar that functions as the main menu. The option to the far right, EXIT, terminates EZHELP and returns control to MPE. The other option, Display, is discussed next.
Using the DISPLAY Menu
The EZHELP main menu contains the Display pull-down menu option. From this menu, use System help to select the system help file (CICAT.PUB.SYS) or Open to select a Help catalog of your own choosing.

Figure 7.3 DISPLAY’s Pull-Down Menu
To select an item from the menu, use the arrow key to highlight the option and then press Return.
System help is used to navigate the system help facility. EZHELP enhances the use of system help by providing access to the information contained in the CICAT.PUB.SYS file in a windowed environment.
Open is used to select a help catalog of your choosing. This option is discussed in the section entitled "Viewing Other HELP Catalogs".
Using System Help
Running EZHELP’s windowed interface for the system help catalog is achieved via the System help option. This section leads you through the various selections that are available, using examples to demonstrate the basic operations.
The next figure shows the System Help screen displayed when you select the System help option. For this version of CICAT, the first ENTRY is HELPMENU. Thus, HELPMENU becomes the first topic displayed when you select the System help option.

Figure 7.4 The System Help Display: Initial Screen
Selections of topics is done through the Choose Topic function key. When you press this key, EZHELP pops up a scrollable window containing a list of all possible Topics.
Press F6 [Choose Topic] to display the pop up window of selectable topics.
The next screen shows the Topics window that is displayed whenever you select Choose Topic.

Figure 7.5 The Topic Selection Window
Use the arrow keys to highlight a topic and then press Return.
For example, to find information on GETLOG, use the Pg Dn or arrow keys to highlight GETLOG in the Topics window and press Return.
The GETLOG entry is displayed next.

Figure 7.6 The GETLOG Entry in CICAT
Notice that several function keys become operational once an entry is displayed.
Use the Choose Item function key to display additional information about the GETLOG command. For MPE commands in the CICAT file, the item choices are Examples, Parms, and Operation. Items are displayed in the popup, picklist window. As with any EZHELP picklist, use the arrow keys to select the item of interest and press Return to display the information.
The next screen display shows the Items pop up menu that is displayed when you press the F7 [Choose Item] function key.

Figure 7.7 The Item Selection Window
The screen below shows the Example text for GETLOG. Had you selected Parms or Operation, a screen containing information on those items would be displayed.

Figure 7.8 The GETLOG Example

Viewing Other HELP Catalogs

EZHELP can be used to view any help catalog that follows the structure used by the MPE HELP catalog. To view one of these catalogs, choose the Open command in the Display pull-down menu.
EZHELP will open the file you specify, dynamically arranging the file contents into information window displays and pop up lists from which you may select items and topics as needed.

Figure 7.9 The Open Pull-down Menu
Once you select Open, a pull-down menu listing the available options appears. Use the arrow keys to choose an option and then press Return. The Help file option is used to specify the name of the catalog file you wish to view. When you choose this option, a window is displayed that prompts you for a filename.

Figure 7.10 The Filename Specification Field
Enter the filename of the help catalog you wish to view under the EZHELP interface in the File name field and press Return; or press F2 [Picklist] for the System Help Files Picklist. To select a help catalog file, use the arrow key to highlight the filename, then press Return to open the file.

Other EZHELP Options

Other options that are selectable in the EZHELP menus include the About EZHELP option in the Display pull-down menu. The About EZHELP option simply lists the version information for the current release of EZHELP. This screen display is shown next.

Figure 7.11 About EZHELP
Should you need assistance in navigating through EZHELP, the context-sensitive help facility is always available to provide information about the task at hand.
To access Help, simply press the F1 [Help] function key. The help screen shown next is produced whenever you press F1 while the Display menu option in the EZHELP main menu is highlighted.

Figure 7.12 Using EZHELP’s Context-Sensitive Help

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