If you're a seasoned mainframe expert, you've probably got your own quickest ways of doing things. Take the CICS-supplied CEMT and CEDA transactions for viewing resources and definitions, for example:
CEMT INQUIRE BUNDLE <Enter>
It takes a little while before you realise that you can use any uniquely identifiable shortened version of the arguments to do what you want, say:
CEMT INQ BUND <Enter>
From there it's only a matter of time before you've mastered the optimal solution and are able to pour scorn on anyone who is foolish enough to waste time on anything more than the necessary ten keystrokes - or you've even set up a hot-key in your terminal emulator to enter it automatically.
Sometimes, I hear people say that getting around in CICS Explorer is too slow for them - it's much quicker for them to access information on different resources through the green screen. All that clicking around, and finding the right view in the Operations or Definitions menu... it takes ages. However, it's just like using CEMT or CEDA - there are quicker ways of doing things if you know how!
In this blog post, you'll learn how to make CICS Explorer work for you, by:
- Using the Quick Access bar
- Assigning Shortcut Keys
Using The Quick Access Bar
The first port of call is the 'Quick Access' bar, which can be found in the toolbar at the top of the window. To get to it from the keyboard, hit Ctrl+3.
Now, start typing. The Quick Access bar gives you access to almost all of the features of CICS Explorer, including Views, Perspectives, Commands, Menus, and Preferences. As you type, the available commands are filtered. It'll also show your previous selections first. Here, for example, I'm looking for the Bundles view:
Once you've found what you're looking for, you can move up and down with the arrow keys to choose the right option, before hitting Enter to confirm - and you've got there without any mouse clicks.
From this point on, as with CEMT and CEDA, it's a matter of mastering the quickest possible combination to get you a unique view, so you can just hit Enter without having to distinguish between views! Here is one of the quickest ways of getting to the Bundles view (here, 'les' is a portion of the 'Bundles' view name that makes it unique):
<Ctrl+3> les <Enter>
There we go, in just six keystrokes - almost half of those required for CEMT!
Assigning Shortcut Keys
If you've got some views that you're always needing and want quick access to, an even quicker route is to a assign a key combination to the view. To do this, navigate to the 'Keys' preference page under the 'Window' -> 'Preferences' menu item (or, if you're feeling like a real pro, you can do it from Quick Access bar).
First, you may want to check that your required shortcut isn't already occupied by another command (or, if it is, you don't mind replacing it). Type your preferred shortcut into the filter box. If you're using combinations of Shift, Ctrl or Alt, type them in that order, and separate keys with the '+' character. Here, I'm checking whether Ctrl+Alt+B is free for me to bind to the 'Show Bundles View' command - and it is, because no commands are found:
If I now filter for 'Bundles', I can see the element 'Show View (Bundles)'. Select this, and in the 'Binding' box, press your desired key combination:
Press OK, and your key binding becomes active. Now, you can just use that shortcut to show the view.
Here I've shown that CICS Explorer isn't just applicable to those who like to click with the mouse - it's also accessible to those who prefer to navigate using the keyboard. Using the Quick Access bar or assigned shortcuts, you can make your workflow faster than your favourite green-screen transactions.