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Using ISPF Dialog Test

ISPF dialog test is intended to assist in determining what is going wrong with an ISPF application. It includes the ability to set "breakpoints" in an ISPF application and trace the use of ISPF services. You can examine the contents of dialog variables at breakpoints or trace what happens to specific dialog variables. Also, you are often able to see more information about what is going wrong and where from dialog test.

Getting Started

It is a good idea to make use that you have an ISPF log dataset available when using Dialog Test. Select ISPF option 0 and use the Log/List pulldown to check your Log settings. You need to have a non-zero value in the Primary Pages field. You should also specify how to deal with your Log dataset when exiting from ISPF. "Delete" is a reasonable default.

To get into Dialog Test, select ISPF option 7. You should see the Dialog Test Primary Option Panel.

Option 8 lets you set breakpoints. You normally do this before you start the ISPF application. For example, on the breakpoint panel, you might want to trap the ISPF DISPLAY service. This will allow Dialog Test to get control before AND/OR after a panel or message is displayed. You type DISPLAY in the SERVICE column and press ENTER. Then, you press PF3 (or END) to go back to the Primary Option Panel.

Running An Application

To start up your application, select option 1. From here, you can select a panel or command which will launch the ISPF application. When the ISPF DISPLAY service is next used, you will see the Breakpoint Primary Option Panel which includes the same options as the Dialog Test Primary Option Panel.

At this point,

During Dialog Test, if an error condition is encountered by an ISPF service, you may be presented with the option of either continuing or terminating the ISPF application. Outside of Dialog Test, an ISPF application may simply terminate under these circumstances.


If you launched your application using Dialog Test, you can also access functions from the Dialog Test Primary Option panel using the ISPF command DTEST option where option is the option number from the Primary Option panel. For example, entering DTEST 8 in a command area lets you set break points without exiting your ISPF application.


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