Open Software Technologies, Inc.
The Mainframe Documentation Solution
A BOS DigiTec GmbH Product

With BOS-help, you can create context-sensitive online help for any type of CICS® application. It is extremely user-friendly by its design.

BOS-help requires no program alterations, no source code access, and no programming skills.

BOS-help's features include:

  • support of all programming languages
  • direct access of existing data (e.g. DB2, VSAM)
  • import facility for existing documents
  • no help text limitation
  • user-friendly help display layout (pop-ups)
  • CUA-compliant help display
  • hierarchically structured help levels (field level, screen level, system wide valid help)
  • powerful data transfer facility
  • field content-sensitive help
  • multiple usage of text excerpts
  • no data redundancy
  • cross-reference analysis
  • comprehensive printing functions
  • user-friendly text editor (TSO/ISPF, CMS-like editor, customizable)
  • user resp. terminal related help information
  • multi-language support
  • API to activate pop-up windows by an application program

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The Technical Concept

No source code is required to create online help functions. BOS-help supports inhouse developed and third party application packages - independent of the programming language.

Context-sensitive online help functions can be assigned by walking through the application, i.e. positioning the cursor on the desired field and pressing the CREATE key will activate the help create mode.

The field will be automatically identified by BOS-help. Together with the field identification, a reference to the help data (help text name and paragraph name) and the help window layout specifications are saved by BOS-help.

Press a function key to activate the BOS-help text editor and create the help text for the field. Instead of help text (or in combination with it), a program may be activated to read external data (VSAM, DB2) for online help display.

Immediately after returning to the application panel, the created online help is available and can be invoked by pressing the HELP function key.

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BOS-help Options

The following options are available with BOS-help:


BOS-help add-on option; consists of a program interface for a program controlled activation of pop-up help windows and a file interface allowing read/write access on BOS-help files.


BOS-help add-on option; batch utility which analyzes BMS source code to generate help definitions and help text members including paragraph entries.


MS-Windows based utility to convert documents in Word for Windows, RTF or HTML file format into a BOS-help resp. BOS-complement compliant format. With the conversion of the documents, paragraph and index entries are automatically generated.

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BOS-help Benefits

BOS-help considerably reduces costs for creating, updating and distributing any information related to CICS applications.

From an administrator’s view, BOS-help's benefits include:

  • Having the chance to implement online help functions without programming skills.
  • Releasing IS staff from application documentation tasks.
  • Separating application documentation from development.
  • Having available comprehensive adminstrative functions for the created online help functions.
  • Avoiding data redundancy due to a multiple usage of object descriptions.
  • Integrating existing data (direct access / import).
  • Giving CICS applications a new look and feel by implementing pop-up windows.

From an end user’s view, BOS-help's benefits include:

  • Fast immediate access to up-to-date help information.
  • Context-sensitive online help functions in the "user's language".
  • The possibility to create online help functions without programmers' assistance.
  • Powerful automatic data transfer facility.
  • Hypertext linking to efficiently access supplementary information.

From a company’s view, BOS-help's benefits include:

  • Cost reduction for creating, distributing and maintaining application documentation, user education and training, and user support.
  • Quality assurance.
  • Increased security in case of absence of users due to illness, vacation, etc.
  • Minimization of damage repairing activities.
  • Shorter processing times for all business transactions.

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Operating Systems:

  • z/OS
  • CICS/ESA Release 4.1 through TS 6.1
  • VSE/SP and VSE/ESA
  • VTAM and TCP/IP
  • MRO and ISC

- V1.8, PTF038 is required for CICS TS 6.1 and lower.

CICS Applications and Programming Languages:

Assembler, COBOL, PL/1, FORTRAN, RPG, C, 4th Generation languages such as NATURAL, MANTIS, UFO, DELTA, GENER/OL, IDEAL, ADS/OL, and CSP; BMS and non-BMS applications, conversational and pseudo conversational CICS Command and Macro Level applications.


The installation of help information can be restricted to authorized users with security keys or self-written security routines.

Access Text Library



  • Loading the BOS-help source and load modules.
  • Defining a VSAM file, adding entries to CICS tables PPT, PCT and FCT resp. supplementing RDO-definitions.
  • Customizing BOS-help to the individual system environment by an Assembly

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