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How to enable parameter help in IBM® Z® Monitoring Configuration Manager? (by Vadim Kokoulin and Matthias Tschaffler)



Several customers have been asking the question that is the subject of this BLOG:

In Configuration Manager, why isn’t there out-of-the-box "PF1 help" for the parameters that you specify in your RTEDEF members, like there is in PARMGEN?

The good news is that, with a little setup, you can use your PARMGEN help with Configuration Manager. This blog explains how to accomplish this using standard tools of the z/OS operating system.

Please note that some of the parameter defaults are not the same in Configuration Manager as in PARMGEN; for details, see the Configuration Manager documentation here.

Creating your basic setup to enable help

The original PARMGEN parameter help relies on edit macro TKANCUS(KCIRPLBH) and the corresponding dictionary files (KppDDICT), which contain the help text you see in the pop-up window when you select a parameter in your WCONFIG and press PF1.

Note that the PARMGEN parameter help is identical to the Configuration Manager parameter help, as the same parameters can be used in both PARMGEN and Configuration Manager.

To enable the PARMGEN help to work for Configuration Manager, a few things need to be done, which are explained in the following steps. (There are different ways to implement this, so take this as a working suggestion. ;-) ). 

Step1: Define initialization REXX 

The following sample REXX exec defines an ISPF variable that contains the SMP/E High Level Qualifier, which is used for further processing to find the dictionaries for the help in your SMP/E installation. PARMGEN sets this value automatically, but for Configuration Manager, you must set it explicitly.

The following snippet can be added to a REXX exec library of your choice as a new member (referred to as SETUPCMH going forward) and is used for the initial setup:

/* REXX */ 

Step 2: Copy KCIRPLBH and define Function key mapping

The TKANCUS(KCIRPLBH)REXX edit macro should now be copied to an EXEC library. After copying, rename the member (for example, rename it CFMHELP).

The respective EXEC library must be concatenated to your SYSEXEC DD.

Note: Use command tso isrddn to check if your library is concatenated properly in SYSEXEC. 

Next, use the "keys" command to bind your program function keys, as follows:

  • Open your RTEDEF data set,  type "keys" in the command line, and press enter

  • The following screen appears, where you can enter CFMHELP and the preferred name of your FP1 key label:

  • Press PF3 to exit the dialog, and the new FP1 binding appears:

Step 3: Let's try this out!

So far so good! Let's see if this works :).

  • First, run SETUPCMH, which defines the proper ISPF variable needed by CFMHELP to find the dictionaries.
    Simply type exec in front of the SETUPCMH exec in the data set you used to store the member. It should return with RC=0.

    Ideally, you call the exec as part of your logon procedure, so things are in place for the next step

  • Open the RTE_NAME member in your RTEDEF data set, place the cursor on a parameter name (for example, RTE_SECURITY_USER_LOGON), and press PF1.

    If all is well, you should see the help appear in a pop-up window:

  • If there is no pop-up window or no message in the top right indicating no parameter help is available ("HELP NOT AVAILABLE RC=8 "), but you see the general ISPF help, then something went wrong with your PF key binding.

    Check the names of the EXECs you specified in the bindings, and make sure the SETUPCMH exec ran successfully.


This blog demonstrated how you can quickly get your PARMGEN "PF1 help" working with Configuration Manager.

So, get a coffee or tea, grab your Sysprog and get going - it will only take you minutes to make it happen :-).

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