Book Review
by Jim Moore, Technical Support Magazine

OS/390 MVS JCL Quick Reference Guide
by Olivia R. Carmandi

Does your 1970s-era JCL book contain references to the many changes in JCL that have occurred in the last five years? Could you use a new desk reference that lists all of the new JES, SMS and utility syntax, as well as the old? If you think that you might need a JCL reference upgrade, look no further than the OS/390 MVS JCL Quick Reference Guide written by Olivia R. Carmandi of MVS Training, Inc.

Remember, the "L" in JCL stands for language. Every computer language is subject to change over time and JCL is no exception. Olivia does a particularly good job of segregating the pure JES-type JCL changes from the ones that depend on SMS. Seeing this explained so clearly is certain to answer many questions for some individuals.

Also included is a comprehensive section (pages 88-91) that compares and contrasts the differences between the use of IF/ELSE/ENDIF syntax and the older COND parameter for conditional step execution. This section alone is worth the price of the book.

JCL is a tricky language for some users (usually programmers) because many of them have never even set foot inside their site's data center. Good JCL coding almost requires that programmers and other JCL authors witness what happens when their JCL runs.

The OS/390 MVS JCL Quick Reference Guide is a good start toward implementing a best practices program for JCL coders. It contains many good examples, it is easy to read, and it feels "modern" in the sense that it promotes good coding technique throughout. For example, from page 63, in the section entitled: STEPLIB Statement.

"When JOBLIB and STEPLIB are both coded, STEPLIB is used and JOBLIB is ignored. Suggestion: Use JOBLIB instead of STEPLIB because it is easier to maintain".

All I can say is: Right on! May I add that entire JPBLIB concatenations are a breeze to encapsulate by using the INCLUDE statement. This makes long-term maintenance even easier. JCL continues to evolve and improve as IBM introduces ever more features to their modern enterprise servers. Keeping current and having an up-to-date reference guide is necessary to keep your skills in this fast-changing world. Good job, Olivia.

A special thank you to the sponsors who helped bring this excellent book to you:

Diversified Software Systems Inc.
Chicago-Soft, Ltd.

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