Interactive System Productivity Facility, ISPF
Part Two - Challenge #03


You will learn the basics of ISPF

Familiarity with ISPF is needed to complete challenge #03.

ISPF is used frequently throughout the contest to complete challenges and it was introduced in Part 1 of the contest.

While web based DevOps software exists for z/OS, ISPF is a classic and common z/OS UI. DevOps software can vary. DevOps software objective is to accelerate programming of business applications and reduce or eliminate the need of the business application developer to understand details about the underlying infrastructure.

Try some of these tools out on IBM Z Trial. In this contest, you will be going a bit deeper to learn about the code behind the buttons in a user interface.

The Master the Mainframe contest objective is for you to learn about the details in the underlying operating system. Many IT support roles exist in large enterprises that use IBM Z for critical business services and data such as security administrators, disk storage administrators, database administrators, operations, production control analysts, system programmers, etc. These support roles are responsible for production processing, software installation, software support, system support, and procedures used by the business application developers.

System technicians are frequently good programmers. They just do not focus on programming of specific business applications. System technicians write programs in support of the IT infrastructure.

ISPF is panel driven where the panels provide access to functions. The contest will use a small subset of the existing panels and functions primarily for working with data sets and unix files. In future challenges, ISPF panels will be used for disk storage administration tasks and database administration tasks.

Useful Information About ISPF

An 8 minute video is available to explain ISPF.

Challenge Preparation

LOGON to TSO automatically invokes ISPF Primary Option Menu

Optional: ISPF help command or f1 displays the ISPF help tutorial
The ISPF help tutorial has more than you will ever use. You can continuously enter to step through the ISPF help

Enter return or press f3 to exit ISPF help tutorial
Enter Option 3 to Perform utility functions
A variety of utility functions are available to select

Enter Option 4 to Print or display list of data set names
Tab to the Dsname Level input field and enter your ID

The Dsname Level field is for data set name pattern matching
Returned is all data set names matching a data set name pattern beginning with your ID
Enter return to return to the ISPF Primary Option Menu
From the ISPF Primary Option Menu, 3.4 would jump directly to the ISPF data set list utility panel

A very useful alternative is to enter dslist 'z#####' jumping directly to the data set list utility panel displaying all data set names beginning with your ID.

Tutorial about dslist command:


The challenge objective is familiarity with the ISPF data set list utility function
  • The data set list utility function has a command line and a command column
  • Many actions are available using the command line and the command column
  • The rich set of actions and their purpose only become obvious to a z/OS system technician with responsibilities to manage a large enterprise IBM Z mainframe infrastructure
  • If you land a job as a z/OS system technician, you will learn about the rich set of actions and their purpose from senior z/OS system technicians

Use ISPF to copy a member of a partitioned data set to a different partitioned data set
  1. Use dslist ISPF command to list data set names beginning with your ID
  2. Tab to the left of partitioned data set name ending with PDS.DATA
  3. Enter co / in the command column to the to the left of partitioned data set name ending with PDS.DATA
    co is to copy
      slash / tells the system to use the data set name on the line
A list of members in the partitioned data set are displayed

Tab to the left of member name FUN and enter s to select the member to be copied
  1. The Copy Entry Panel is displayed
  2. Tab to Name input field and type p2.output
  3. Tab to the New member name input field, type #03, then enter to process the copy
*** A slash / is a required selection option for Replace like-named members

Validate successful completion of challenge 3
Enter dslist 'z#####.p2.output' - Remember to substitute your personal ID for z######

  1. Data Sets Matching your ID with suffix of p2.output is displayed
  2. Tab to command line and enter b to browse the partitioned data set
  1. Partitioned data set member names are displayed
  2. Tab to member name #03 and enter s to select the partitioned data set member to be browsed
      If you see member name FUN instead of member name #03, then delete d member name FUN
      and attempt the copy again remembering to include #03 as the member name during the copy operation
  3. Welcome! You are on your way to completing Part 2 of the contest
  4. If you see - Do you know the Efti Wall word below? - in member name #03,
    then you successfully completed challenge 3

Congratulations! You are done with challenge #03 and you are ready for the next challenge.

Next: Challenge #04