Open Software Technologies, Inc.
VTAM-based Online Help and Documentation Solution
A BOS DigiTec GmbH Product

Create interactive pop-up help windows and online application documentation for mainframe applications running under VTAM (IMS/DC, CICS, TSO, IDMS/DC, and others) with BOS-complement. BOS-complement help windows are integrated into applications and immediately accessible by PA or PF hotkey without any programming changes or compiles. Existing applications remain undisturbed.

Feature Highlights

  • Interactively create online help pop-up windows that are fully integrated.
  • Any authorized user can create an online help system without programming knowledge.
  • Existing information can be integrated. An import function for text documents is provided. System tables, VSAM files or all type of data bases can be directly accessed for on-line help display.
  • Fully CUA (Common User Access) compliant on-line help functionality can be implemented field level (context sensitive) help, screen related help, index help, tutorial, keys help, help for help
  • Cross-reference listings of existing text documents and their usage within the help system.
  • Permits automatic data transfer directly from the help window to up to 10 fields of the application panel.
  • Complete use of highlighting, reverse video, underline, blinking and/or color for online help display.
  • Supports all types of programming languages. No source code needed. No compiles are necessary.
  • Help information can be tailored to the needs of individual user groups or departments.
  • A complete user manual can be printed, including the application screen images
  • Powerful TSO/ISPF compliant text editor for creating and maintaining text documents - Comprehensive batch facilities.

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  • BOS-complement makes mainframe applications easier to use.
  • User becomes independent and comfortable with applications quickly.
  • Rapid introduction and implementation of new applications and updates.
  • Unproductive time spend on trial and error and incorrect entries is eliminated.
  • Training is vastly improved so new employees become productive sooner.
  • Your data processing staff can offload application documentation to the end-users department if desired.


In addition to providing online help, BOS-complement enables the creation of online documentation that may be used as systems or user manuals. A user-defined formatting facility provides headers, footers and page break specifications, and cross reference of the information. Manuals can be printed online or batch, including actual screen images.

Incorporate Existing Documentation

BOS-complement allows incorporation of information from outside sources and existing documentation such as data dictionaries and databases.

BOS-complement supports a paragraph name structure within the text. This allows quick access and multiple usage of text excerpts.

External text information can be loaded into BOS-complement’s reorganization-free text library.

  • Help information can be tailored to the needs of individual user groups or departments.
  • A complete user manual can be printed, including the application screen images.
  • Powerful TSO/ISPF compliant text editor for creating and maintaining text documents.
  • Cross reference listings on existing text documents and their usage within the help system.
  • Comprehensive batch facilities.

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Help Function within the IBM CUA Concept

The CUA Concept (Common User Access) of IBM recommends help functions for all applications. They are to provide supplementary and explanatory information to the user when working with an application. Help support should be provided to the user at the current cursor position on the field level. Extended help should also be available on a screen level basis. Additionally, help information is to be offered via function key assignment, help index and tutorial access. To make using the help system as easy as possible, explanatory information on the help system itself should be displayed by pressing the help key again. BOS-complement can meet all these requirements. Positioning between different information hierarchies can also be easily implemented using BOS-complement. The help display can also be designed according to CUA requirements to include "Scrolling information and MORE indicator". Header and trailer texts can be used to display function key assignment.

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More Information

BOS-complement is a system which provides online help functions for user applications running under a variety of different system environments i.e. IMS/DC, TSO, CMS, CICS, IDMS/DC etc. Using simple key strokes, supplementary and explanatory information may be displayed in windows without disrupting the current data or application session. Data entered in the panel remains unchanged during the help display.

This ease of use is available for existing and new applications, since BOS-complement requires no changes to the application programs and supports in-house and third party software independent of the programming language used. The help created online can be tailored to the individual needs of a variety of user groups. Plus, BOS-complement offers multi-lingual support.

The defined help information is immediately and easily retrievable and can be created using BOS-complement's comprehensive text editor, uploaded from external sources or processed as live data. Multiple maintenance of data at different locations is not needed, as data redundancy is avoided.

The format of the help text is independent of the online help display. BOS-complement formats the defined help data automatically according to the size of the respective help window. The help data is, however, not limited by the size of the help window. The zoom functions available in BOS-complement and the ability to page and position in the help data or to search for specific values allow text to be designed according to user needs. To prevent input errors, the data displayed in the help window can be transferred in the desired fields of the application panel by pressing a key.

BOS-complement offers different levels of help information: System level, screen related, field content, field related help. With these levels of help you have the flexibility of supplying the level of help which is appropriate for a specific application or user group.

Help text defined using BOS-complement is saved in the BOS-complement file. The online administration is menu driven and requires no special systems experience. The administration and maintenance of help text is also handled by the batch and online BOS-complement maintenance utilities.

A comprehensive print program is available to enable and control print output. Header and trailer information (e.g. consecutive page numbering) as well as printer control information for laser printers can be included in the help output text.

User-friendliness and ease of use is a key design feature of BOS-complement. Pop-up help windows and online documentation are easily created by users who have no programming knowledge. The administrator functions, including defining and maintaining help text, are only available to authorized users. This requires signing on to BOS-complement.

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