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Contains status information for the current I/O device.




$ZB contains status information specific to the current I/O device following a READ operation.

  • When reading from a terminal, sequential file, or other character-based I/O device, $ZB contains the terminating character of the read operation. This can be a terminator character (such as <RETURN>), the final character of the input data if the read operation does not require a terminator character, or the null string if a terminator character is required but was not received (for example, if the read operation timed out).

  • When reading from a block-based I/O device, such as magnetic tape, $ZB contains the number of bytes remaining in the I/O buffer. $ZB also contains the number of bytes in the I/O buffer when writing to magnetic tape.

This special variable cannot be modified using the SET command. Attempting to do so results in a <SYNTAX> error.

$ZB and $KEY can both be used to return the READ termination character when reading from a character-based device or file. For character-based reads, these two special variables are very similar, but not identical. For block-based reads and writes (such as magnetic tape) use $ZB; $KEY does not provide support for block-based read and write operations. See $KEY for further details.

End-of-File Behavior

By default, Caché handles an end-of-file on a sequential file by issuing an <ENDOFFILE> error; it does not set $ZB. You can configure end-of-file behavior in a manner compatible with MSM. In this case, when an end-of-file is encountered, Caché does not issue an error, but sets $ZB to "" (the null string), and sets $ZEOF to -1.

To configure end-of-file handling, go to the Management Portal, select System, Configuration, Compatibility Settings. View and edit the current setting of SetZEOF. When set to “true”, Caché sets $ZB to "" (the null string), and sets $ZEOF to -1. The default is “false”.

You can control end-of-file handling for the current process using the SetZEOF()Opens in a new tab method of the %SYSTEM.ProcessOpens in a new tab class. The system-wide default behavior can be established by setting the SetZEOFOpens in a new tab property of the Config.MiscellaneousOpens in a new tab class.

Reading from a Terminal or File

$ZB contains the terminating character (or character sequence) from a read operation involving a terminal, sequential file, or other character-based I/O device. $ZB can contain any of the following:

  • A termination character, such as a carriage return.

  • An escape sequence (up to 16 characters).

  • The nth character in a fixed-length READ x#n. (In this case, the $KEY special variable returns the null string.)

  • The single character of READ *x.

  • A null string ("") after a timed READ expires.

For example, consider the following variable-length read with a five-second timeout:

  READ !,"Enter number:",num:5
  WRITE !, num

If the user types 123 at the READ prompt and presses <RETURN>, Caché stores 123 in the num variable and stores <RETURN> (ASCII decimal code 13, hexadecimal 0D) in $ZB. If the READ times out, $ZB contains the null string; $ASCII("") returns a value of –1.

$ZB on the Command Line

When issuing commands interactively from the Terminal command line, you press <RETURN> to issue each command line. The $ZB and $KEY special variables record this command line terminator character. Therefore, when using $ZB or $KEY to return the termination status of a read operation, you must set a variable as part of the same command line.

For example, if you issue the command:

>READ x:10

from the command line, then check $ZB it will not contain the results of the read operation; it will contain the <RETURN> character that executed the command line. To return the results of the read operation, set a local variable with $ZB in the same command line, as follows:

>READ x:10 SET rzb=$ZB

This preserves the value of $ZB set by the read operation. To display this read operation value, issue either of the following command line statements:

   ; returns -1 for null string (time out), 
   ; returns ASCII decimal value for terminator character
>ZZDUMP rkey
   ; returns blank line for null string (time out)
   ; returns hexadecimal value for terminator character

$ZB with Magnetic Tape I/O

$ZB contains status information about the driver buffer. Specifically, it contains the number of bytes that remain in the magnetic tape drive’s internal buffer.

Immediately after you read a block, Caché sets $ZB to that block’s size. As you transfer logical records from the buffer to variables (with READ commands), Caché decrements the $ZB value until it reaches 0 and the next block read occurs.

When you write to tape, $ZB shows the available space (in bytes) remaining in the driver’s internal buffer. Immediately after you write a block, Caché sets $ZB to the buffer size specified with the OPEN command. As you transfer logical records from Caché variables into the buffer (with WRITE commands), Caché decrements the $ZB number until it reaches 0 and the block write occurs.

Most magnetic tape programs need not be concerned with $ZB unless they must deal with unusual formats and variable length blocks.

To monitor magnetic tape operations, your program can test the appropriate bit of $ZA after each read and write.

The following code checks both $ZA and $ZB after each magnetic tape read, and sets MTERR when either of these variables indicates an error. It also sets $ZTRAP when a magnetic tape error occurs.

   ; $$MTIN(mtdev) = the next logical record from magtape
   ; device mtdev.
   ; Also returns za=$ZA and zb=$ZB
   ; On a magtape error, mterr=1 and $$MTIN(mtdev)=""
   ; Expects the caller to have set $ZT to trap other
   ; errors.
  NEW rec,curdev
  SET mterr=0,curdev=$IO,$ZT="MTIERR"
  USE io 
  READ rec
  SET za=$ZA,zb=$ZB
  USE curdev
  QUIT rec
        USE curdev 
        ZQUIT 1 
        GOTO @$ZTRAP }
     ; Use caller's error trap.
  ELSE {
       SET $ZTRAP="",mterr=1,rec=""

If a terminator completes a READ, Caché mode returns the terminator as a string in $ZB.

If an escape sequence terminates a READ, Caché mode returns the ASCII escape sequence as a string in $ZB.

See Also

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