SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR EDITING AND
VIEWING A VERY WIDE FLAT FILE
The application is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 08/474,204, filed Jun. 7,1995 now abandoned, which is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 08/367,992, filed Jan. 3, 1995 now abandoned, which was a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 08/015,690 filed on Feb. 9, 1993 now abandoned.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention
This invention relates to a system and a method for editing and viewing widely spaced data in very wide data processing files.
2. Description of Related Art
Electronic computers can store files to be displayed with a number of vertical columns and a number of horizontal rows of data. The widths can be extremely wide. However, the tradition for computer screens is for there to be eighty vertical columns or a little wider, which correlates with the eighty vertical columns of a standard data processing punch card.
The problem addressed by this invention relates to the fact that when a large number of columns are side by side in a computer file being viewed with an Editor or a Viewing program they cannot be easily correlated without extensive effort by the user. Each user currently needs to do side to side scrolls when editing very wide electronic files to correlate the data they wish to review at a given moment. This problem is typical of very wide files, such as in the
Dauerer and Kelley "Front End for File Access Control System," abandoned U.S. patent application Ser. No. 07-754,923, filed Sep. 4, 1991,
Dauerer and Kelley, "The RACF Front End Extension" copending U.S. Pat. No. 5,469,576 issued Nov. 21, 1995, which supports the Dauerer and Kelley, "Database System for Intersite Line Comparison" U.S. Pat. No. 5,475,833 issued Dec. 12. 1995.
Files that are used for on-line editing or viewing by a user have traditionally been limited to a width of 80 columns or a little wider. Even though most operating systems have the capability (given enough time and manipulation) to display very wide files, up to 65,335 bytes as is the case with the IBM VM operating system, practical usage of this capability has not been possible.
The reason that wide files are not used is that they present two extremely difficult problems. The first is that wide files require the user to contend with two more dimensions in order to view or manipulate a file. For example, a narrow file, one that fits the standard screen width size of 80 columns, requires only two controls to scroll through the file, up and down. Awide file, on the other hand, requires an additional left control and an additional right control. The second problem is that when viewing or editing a file, one needs (or would prefer) to have certain related information displayed on the screen, all at once, in order to make sense out of what is being observed. One might need to have data in columns 1-8, 345-367, and 1120-1128 on the screen simultaneously, but that is impossible to do without reformatting the files. Users would sooner reformat and process multiple files than jockey back and forth from left to right and back to the left, from one end of one row of a wide file to another end of the same row in the wide file, but that is expensive and/or very time consuming.
An object of this invention is to aid users to view or manipulate wide data processing files without having to reformat those files.
Another object of this invention is to eliminate or greatly 5 reduce the need for users to do side to side scrolls when editing very wide electronic files to read data spaced apart by several columns beyond the field of view of a single screen.
A further object of this invention is to aid users to manipulate wide files in a way which presents columns of 10 information in the positions desired regardless of the positions of the columns in the stored data base.
In accordance with this invention, a data processing system comprising a central processing unit, a random s access storage device and a terminal with a display screen capable of displaying a predetermined number of columns at one time,
a) means for storing data in the random access storage device having a number of columns greater than the
20 number that can be displayed at one time by the display screen,
b) means for retrieving data from the storage device into the processing unit, and
c) means for managing the display of the columns of data 25 including interactive means at the terminal for selecting
sequences of columns of data to be juxtaposed on the screen.
Further in accordance with this invention the interactive means comprises actuation of predetermined functional ele30 ments on the terminal.
Still further in accordance with this invention the data processing system provides selection of the list by the steps as follows:
a) displaying a window of all of the available views for 35 the file being viewed,
b) responds to the selection the view of the file to be displayed, and
c) displays the selected view of the file.
40 Preferably the selected view of the file is in the edit mode to be edited.
In another aspect of this invention, the data processing system performs the steps as follows: a) gets a file, 45 b) opens the file, c) displays the file,
d displays a window of all of the available views for the
file being viewed, 50 e) responds to the selection of the view of the file to be
f) displays the selected view of the file.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
55 The foregoing and other aspects and advantages of this invention are explained and described below with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 shows a block diagram of a data processing system in accordance with this invention.
FIG. 2 shows a flow chart of a first part of the method of operation of the system in accordance with this invention.
FIG. 3 is a flow chart showing additional features of the method of operation of a system in accordance with this 65 invention.
FIG. 4 shows a shows a monitor display screen with six fields of ILCS (Intersite Line Comparison System) data
which will provide an example of how this invention can be employed to view selected parts of very wide files.