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APPX Keys

AppxKEYS is a utility program embedded in APPX that allows a user to create an APPX keyboard layout for character mode connections. The keyboard layout for GUI clients cannot be changed.

APPX uses several keys on your keyboard that perform functions ("options") unique to APPX. The layout defines which keys will be used to construct each APPX Option.

Keyboard layouts can be created for each type of terminal on your system, and individual layouts can be created for each user if necessary. The utility prompts the user to press approximately three dozen keys. As each key is pressed, AppxKEYS records the codes sent out and uses them to construct a suite of keystroke combinations for accessing APPX options that is tailored to your terminal, operating system, and/or emulation software.

The following steps are required for building a keyboard layout are:

  1. Plan your layout.
  2. Decide on a User ID.
  3. Run APPX using the -k option.
  4. Define each APPX fundamental key.
  5. Test your layout.

AppxKEYS Requirements

The following three system environment variables (or their equivalents) should be set:

  1. APPXPATH which identifies the location of data files
  2. PATH which identifies the location of programs
  3. TERM which indicates the type of terminal being used

The user's login name must be defined in the APPX User File. (When APPX is run for the first time, the User File does not exist. APPX then uses a generic User ID until the System Administrator creates the User File.)

It may not be appropriate to try to create an APPX keyboard layout for some terminals. This version of AppxKEYS requires that the terminal be capable of sending out a unique set of codes for approximately two dozen keys, and some terminals are incapable of it.

Planning Your Layout

APPX requires that a non-alphanumeric key (or key combination) be assigned to each of the twenty-five (25) APPX fundamental keys. The fundamental keys, either by themselves on in combination, are used to access virtually all APPX Options. In addition, the program will ask you to assign keys to the digits 0 through 9 to be used in selecting User Options (menu items).

Table 1 lists the twenty-five (25) fundamental keys and their common assignments on some keyboards.

Table 1:

The Twenty-five Fundamental Keys and their Common Assignments
on Some Keyboards

APPX Fundamental Key DEC VT320 Keyboard IBM PC/AT 101-Key Keyboard IBM 3151 Keyboard IBM aixterm Keyboard
BACKSPACE Backspace Backspace Backspace
END F10 End or F8 F8 F8
RETURN/ENTER Return Enter Return Return
TAB Tab Tab Tab Tab
OPTION PF1 Keypad + Jump ` (accent)
GO Do Home Esc Esc
PAN PF3 Keypad - F6 F6
SCROLL PF4 Keypad * F7 F7
CURSOR UP - - - -
CURSOR RIGHT
CURSOR DOWN / / / /
CURSOR LEFT        
INSERT Insert Here Insert Insert Insert
DELETE Remove Delete Delete Delete
SCAN Find F2 F2 F2
SELECT Select F3 F3 F3
HELP Help F1 F1 F1
PERVIOUS IMAGE F8 F4 F4 F4
NEXT RECORD F9 F5 F5 F5
ADD MODE F11 F9 F9 F9
DELETE MODE F12 F10 F10 F10
INQUIRE MODE F13 F11 F11 F11
CHANGE MODE F14 F12 F12 F12
PREV SCREEN PrevScreen Page Up Jump - Page Up
NEXT SCREEN NextScreen Page Down Jump / Page Down

There are several things to bear in mind when planning your keyboard:

  • Certain keys, such as GO, OPTION, and END are used a great deal in APPX. Make sure they are in convenient locations.
  • Keys on many keyboards can be affected with Shift, Alternate, and Control, thus giving you extra keys to work with. Take care to avoid Control and Alternate combinations already mapped by your operating system or APPX.
  • The keys on some terminals send out different codes (or nothing at all) based on their setup mode. Try to select terminal setup parameters that maximize the number of unique keys you can use. For instance, the cursor keys are inoperative on an HP700 terminal using HP emulation, and the Insert key is inoperative on an IBM 3151 when its function is set to "mode." Either of these configurations will make the keyboard hard to map and inconvenient to use.
  • Many keyboards will not "shift" the Fx or PFx function keys when Shift is used.
  • Two or more keys pressed in succession can be used to define an APPX fundamental key in situations where a unique key cannot be found or is inappropriate. For instance, some IBM 3151 terminals do not have a Next Page or Next Screen key. You may have to create a unique substitute, such as OPTION-DOWN.
  • There is no harm done if your keyboard layout doesn't work. Some experimentation may be required until you find out what your terminal's keyboard can and cannot do. Remember that Control-E is always mapped as an END key to gracefully shut down APPX in case of a botched layout.

Running AppxKEYS

To run the program, type the following from the operating system prompt:

appx -k

For proper operation, AppxKEYS should be run from the actual terminal for which a layout is being defined (or for generic layouts, a representative of a group of identically configured terminals and types). This is the only way to assure that key code translations or interceptions by the operating system are accounted for.

When run correctly, AppxKEYS displays the release number, release date, and a brief description of the program. If a keyboard layout already exists for your terminal type and User TD combination, a warning is displayed informing you that the existing layout will be overwritten.

The first screen will also display the terminal type and APPX User ID to which the Keyboard layout will be assigned. A User TD of "any" refers to the generic layout.

If a layout already exists, a warning will appear informing you that your new layout will be overwriting a layout that is already on disk. If you want to continue, press "Y" or "y" for YES, "N" or "n" for NO (the RETURN key is unnecessary). If you answer NO, the program will exit immediately. You will be given a further warning later in the program just before the layout is overwritten, and given a chance to change your mind.

On most operating systems, the program will next prompt you for an END OF ENTRY key. This is the key that you will use to tell AppxKEYS that you have finished defining a fundamental key and that you wish to move on to the next. This key can be any standard key on your keyboard and even a few of the special keys, such as Tab or Return.

It is important to try to pick an END OF ENTRY key that sends out a code that is NOT contained in the control sequences sent out by any other key that you need to define. This may require some experimentation. In general, the space bar works on most terminals (the IBM 3151 being a notable exception -- try the period key instead).

The selection of an END OF ENTRY key does not mean you cannot use this key as an APPX fundamental key. If AppxKEYS receives only the END OF ENTRY key during a key definition, it assumes you wish to use it as the definition, not just as a terminator.

Defining Fundamental Keys

The steps in defining each fundamental APPX key are:

  1. Program issues a prompt for the fundamental key.
  2. Press the appropriate key(s) on your keyboard.
  3. Press the END OF ENTRY key.
  4. Program displays codes that were actually received from keyboard.
  5. Program checks for errors and prompts user to fix any errors found.

The first key that is prompted for is BACKSPACE. Use some care when defining this key. Once defined, entering the APPX BACKSPACE (followed by END OF ENTRY) when prompted for a key will allow you to "back up" in the list of fundamental keys so they can be redefined in case you change your mind or you need to fix an error.

The next key that is prompted for is the APPX END key. Again use special care when defining this key. If, after it is defined, it is entered as the definition for any other fundamental key, you will be given the opportunity to quit the program. It is important to try to let AppxKEYS exit gracefully or you risk leaving your terminal in an awkward state.

The following unusual situations can occur when defining keys:

  • If the code for your END OF ENTRY KEYS is embedded in the codes sent out by one of the special keys on your keyboard, the program proceeds automatically to the next prompt without your having to press END OF ENTRY. If this occurs, back up and re-enter the sequence using a different key, or rerun the program again using a different END OF ENTRY. The keyboard layout will not work "as is."
  • AppxKEYS supports up to twenty-five (25) key codes per key definition.
  • If the first character of your fundamental key definition is a printable ASCII character (one of the normal letters, numbers and symbols on a typewriter), you will be warned that if you use the definition, this character will not be able to be entered into any APPX text or data field.

After you have defined the twenty-five (25) function keys and ten (10) numeric digit keys, the program will ask you if you want to build the keyboard layout records. If you answer NO, you will be re-prompted for the last fundamental key you defined. (From there, you can quit by pressing END.) If you answer YES, AppxKEYS will check to see if there are any duplicate entries. If so, you will be prompted to redefine both keys so that they are unique.

AppxKEYS then builds all of the key combinations used to access APPX Options. If it discovers any duplicate combinations or a combination that is a subset of another, you will be prompted to re-enter key combinations for the duplicate options.

To test your new layout, make sure that each of the fundamental keys you defined works. Use any of the combinations in Table 2 to select APPX Options to test your layouts.

Table 2:

Common APPX Options

APPX OPTION KEY 1 KEY 2
Acknowledge Delete GO DELETE MODE
Add Mode ADD MODE  
Back Tab GO TAB
Cancel GO END
Change Mode CHANGE MODE  
Cut GO - (minus)
Delete to Item Beginning Ctrl U  
Delete Current Char DELETE  
Delete to Item End GO DELETE
Delete Mode DELETE MODE  
Delete Previous Char BACKSPACE  
Direct Process l GO KEY PAD 1
Direct Process 2 GO KEY PAD 2
Down CURSOR DOWN  
End END  
End Paragraph GO RETURN
Enter RETURN  
or Ctr1 M  
Find Pattern * GO SCAN
Help Item HELP  
Help Option GO HELP
Inquiry Mode INQUIRY MODE  
Insert INSERT  
Left CURSOR LEFT  
Move to Field Beginning GO CURSOR LEFT
Move to Field End GO CURSOR RIGHT
Next Record NEXT RECORD  
Paste GO  
Previous Activity PREVIOUS IMAGE  
Print Screen * GO p
Right CURSOR RIGHT  
Redraw Line Ctrl R  
Redraw Screen Ctrl W  
Redisplay GO BACKSPACE
Scan SCAN  
Set Attributes GO SELECT
Show Messages GO M or m
Select SELECT  
Split (Insert Text) GO INSERT
Tab TAB  
Up CURSOR UP  

* For future use and not currently implemented.

Panning and Scrolling Operations

Panning and scrolling operations are done in two steps:

  1. Press the PAN or SCROLL key one to three times.
  2. Press a cursor direction key.

The number of times the PAN or SCROLL key is pressed determines how far APPX pans or scrolls as indicated in the following tables:

Table 3:

Panning Options

PAN OPTION KEY 1 KEY 2 KEY 3 KEY 4
Pan to Top PAN PAN PAN CURSOR UP
Pan Up 1 Screen PAN PAN CURSOR UP  
Pan Up 1 Row PAN CURSOR UP    
Pan Down 1 Row PAN CURSOR DOWN    
Pan Down 1 Screen PAN PAN CURSOR DOWN  
Pan to Bottom PAN PAN PAN CURSOR DOWN
Pan Left Margin PAN PAN PAN CURSOR LEFT
Or GO CURSOR LEFT    
Pan Left 1 Screen PAN PAN CURSOR LEFT  
Pan Left 1 Column PAN CURSOR LEFT    
Pan Right 1 Column PAN CURSOR RIGHT    
Pan Right 1 Screen PAN PAN CURSOR RIGHT  
Pan Right Margin PAN PAN PAN CURSOR RIGHT
Or GO CURSOR RIGHT    

Table 4:

Scrolling Operations

SCROLL OPTION KEY 1 KEY 2 KEY 3 KEY 4
Scroll First screen SCROLL SCROLL SCROLL CURSOR UP
or GO CURSOR UP    
Scroll Previous Screen SCROLL SCROLL CURSOR UP  
or PREV SCREEN      
Scroll Up SCROLL CURSOR UP    
Scroll Down SCROLL CURSOR DOWN    
Scroll Next Screen SCROLL SCROLL CURSOR DOWN  
or NEXT SCREEN      
Scroll Last SCROLL SCROLL SCROLL CURSOR DOWN
or GO CURSOR DOWN    

To select an APPX User option from "0" to "9":

  1. Press OPTION
  2. Press the fundamental number key from "0" to "9".

To select an APPX User Option from "10" to "99":

  1. Press the OPTION key twice.
  2. Enter the Option number from "10" to "99".

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Topic revision: r3 - 2016-01-21 - JeanNeron
 
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