2900 Applications committee DMUS Seminar

14 March 77

Alan Purvis (CGF, Bracknell) gave a brief presentation of some of the features of DMUS and drew attention to some of its deficiencies. He had used all of the utilities, but discussion centred on the use of DATAVALIDATE, EXTRACT, REPORT and SORT. I have a copy of a summary report he made, Deficiencies noted include: ambiguous syntax in FML (eg. use of continuation symbol obligatory before THEN and forbidden after it; unsatisfactory IF...THEN..ELSE..nesting), absence of job type (character/numeric) conversion on output, and more seriously, absence of any facilities for group items (COBOL 'arrays'). The latter deficiency will however be removed in the next release, B64. A serious inefficiency is that each line of a BASIC PROCESSING module has to be interpreted afresh for each record processed. BASIC PROCESSING modules are not however necessary for most DMUS Applications. Mr Purvis confirmed, unofficially, a rumour that ICL had no plans to provide the 'translated ML' facilities advertised in the manuals within the foreseeable future. Amidst universal lamentation the meeting broke for lunch. After lunch, possible applications of DMUS in the University environment were discussed. Both Southampton and SWURCC were thinking of using such facilities as SORT and REPORT to analyse user-metering records. Edinburgh pointed out that SORT, RECORDLIST etc. were of obvious utility to the generality. Kent were concerned that many DMUS facilities were not available with VME/K. It was also pointed out that SORT in particular should be more efficient than any user-written code as it calls MAMPHY etc. directly. There are no SCL equivalents for such commonly used facilities as COPY, BLOCKCOPY, RECORDLIST or BLOCKLIST. It is probably too early to say exactly which applications will use DMUS most, but the meeting clearly felt theat it would have to be used in the University environment, despite its deficiencies. Another meeting would be held in 6 months to exchange experience gained using the package.