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Let's take a look at using logical variables.


Recently, on TechTarget's IT Knowledge Exchange site, SundarNVS entered the following request:

"Hi! I have an iSeries [sic] database table that has a column name JOBQ. I want to update all records with JOBQ value QBATCH into 2 different jobq names for alternate records. I'm a CL programmer and looking for an example of updating a column via SQL that I can call from my CL in a loop."


This month, we'll look at the CL program I offered as an example of how to accomplish the desired database update. As the sample program can run on releases 6.1, 7.1, or 7.2, it does not demonstrate anything really new to CL, but you may find a few current CL capabilities that you were not aware of (and, with 7.2, I will later point out a way to eliminate two of the statements in the program).

Below is the source for the CHGJOBS CL program.


             DclF       File(BVining/Jobs)                    


             Dcl       Var(&EveryOther) Type(*Lgl)          

             Dcl       Var(&KeyFldChr) Type(*Char) Len(9)  

             Dcl       Var(&SQLStmt)   Type(*Char) Len(512)


Loop:       RcvF                                            

             MonMsg     MsgID(CPF0864) Exec(Goto CmdLbl(Exit))


             If         Cond(&JobQ *EQ 'QBATCH') Then(Do)    

                       If Cond(*Not &EveryOther) Then( +    

                           ChgVar Var(&JobQ) Value('THISONE'))

                       Else Cmd( +                          

                           ChgVar Var(&JobQ) Value('THATONE'))


                       ChgVar Var(&KeyFldChr) Value(&KeyFld)          

                       ChgVar Var(&SQLStmt) Value(+                  

                           'Update BVining/Jobs Set JobQ = ''' *TCat +

                           &JobQ *TCat +                              

                           ''' where KeyFld =' *BCat +                


                       RunSQL SQL(&SQLStmt) Commit(*None)            

                       ChgVar Var(&EveryOther) Value(*Not &EveryOther)


             Goto       CmdLbl(Loop)                                  

Exit:       EndPgm                                                  

The assumptions that I made in CHGJOBS are:

  1. The qualified name of the database table is BVINING/JOBS.
  2. In addition to BVINING/JOBS containing the column (or field) JOBQ, there is also a field named KeyFld, which uniquely identifies the record to be changed. There could of course be many additional fields (for instance, JOBQ library, Job Description, Program to call, etc.) and rather than one field (KeyFld) to uniquely identify the record some combination of fields, but these types of attributes would not significantly impact the approach demonstrated by the program.
  3. KeyFld is defined as a packed numeric field with a precision of 9,0.
  4. The two different job queue names to be used, when replacing 'QBATCH', are 'THISONE' and 'THATONE'.

The program first declares the file BVINING/JOBS and the three variables &EveryOther, &KeyFldChr, and &SQLStmt.

For testing purposes, the database JOBS is defined using the following DDS.

A                                      UNIQUE     

A          R RECORD                               

A            KEYFLD         9P 0                  

A            JOBQ          10A                    

A          K KEYFLD                               

To create JOBS in library BVINING, you can use this command:


Variable &EveryOther is declared as a logical variable. A logical variable can be set to one of two values: '0' or '1', where the value '0' is typically associated with FALSE, NO, and/or OFF and the value '1' with TRUE, YES, and/or ON. CHGJOBS will use this variable when a &JobQ value of 'QBATCH' is encountered in the JOBS database. When &EveryOther is '0' (which will be the case for the first, third, fifth, etc. instances), then &JobQ will be changed to the value 'THISONE'. When &EveryOther is '1' (the second, fourth, sixth, etc. occurrences), then &JobQ will be changed to the value 'THATONE'.

Variable &KeyFldChr is declared as a character variable with a length of 9 bytes. CHGJOBS will use this variable to hold a character representation of the numeric &KeyFld value. This character variable will be used in constructing the WHERE clause of a SQL UPDATE statement.

Variable &SQLStmt is declared as a character variable with a length of 512 bytes. CHGJOBS will, as you might guess from the name, use this variable to hold the SQL statement used to update records/rows within the JOBS database.

With the various declares out of the way, CHGJOBS uses Receive File (RCVF) to read the first record of JOBS. CHGJOBS monitors for end of file (CPF0864) and, when encountered, goes to command label EXIT, which ends the program.

For each record read, CHGJOBS checks to see if field &JobQ of the record has the value 'QBATCH'. If the logical condition (&JobQ *EQ 'QBATCH') is TRUE, then a DO group is entered. If the condition is FALSE, then the DO group is bypassed and the next command run is the GOTO CMDLBL(LOOP), which reruns the RCVF command, reading the next record of the JOBS database.

Within the DO group, a test is performed to determine if logical variable &EveryOther is FALSE/OFF/'0' or TRUE/ON/'1'. In the logical expression of the IF command's COND parameter, many of you have undoubtedly used the operators of *AND and *OR as in COND((&A *EQ 'ABC') *AND (&B *NE 'XYZ')). Not so many of you may have used the *NOT operator. The *NOT operator is used to negate logical variables. Using a COND parameter of (*Not &EveryOther), as done by CHGJOBS, is a test for variable &EveryOther being set to FALSE/OFF/'0'. If &EveryOther is FALSE/OFF, then the logical expression (*Not &EveryOther) is TRUE and the Change Variable (CHGVAR) is run to assign &JobQ a value of 'THISONE'. If &EveryOther is currently TRUE/ON, then the logical expression (*Not &EveryOther) is FALSE and the ELSE command is run, changing the value of &JobQ to 'THATONE'.

As an aside from this discussion of CHGJOBS, this ability to use logical expressions and/or logical variables in COND parameters can enable some brevity in COND parameters. Many times I've seen an IF command coded as in IF COND(&IN10 *EQ '1') THEN(…), where variable &IN10 is declared as a logical variable. This testing for &IN10 being TRUE/ON/'1' is redundant as the expression (&IN10) will only return TRUE if &IN10 is indeed set to '1', so IF COND(&IN10) gets the same job done. In the same manner, an IF COND(&IN10 *EQ '0') can be replaced with IF COND(*Not &IN10).

Returning to our review of CHGJOBS, after &JobQ is set to the appropriate value of 'THISONE' or 'THATONE', CHGJOBS then:

  1. Converts the numeric value of &KeyFld is to a character format using CHGVAR and variable &KeyFldChr
  2. Constructs an SQL UPDATE statement using CHGVAR and variable &SQLStmt
  3. Runs the SQL statement found in variable &SQLStmt using the RUNSQL command. Note that if you're not familiar with the RUNSQL command, you may want to review a few earlier CL Corner columns: Introducing the New Run SQL command and Using the SQL Select Statement with RUNSQL.
  4. Uses CHGVAR to reverse the current value of variable &EveryOther
  5. Exits the DO group and runs the GOTO CMDLBL(LOOP) command, which reruns the RCVF command, reading the next record of the JOBS database

I have to admit it was the quantity of email I received about step 4 (reversing the value of &EveryOther) that prompted me to write this article. But before I go into how step 4 works, a pop quiz. There are not all that many statements in the CHGJOBS program to begin with, but if you're familiar with the new CL functions available with 7.2 you can, with a minor change to one statement, remove two other statements. Can you identify the changes I have in mind? If you need a refresher on the CL 7.2 enhancements, you may want to review the articles More Tools for the CL Developer and Still More Tools for the CL Developer. The answer can be found at the end of this column.

Returning to the CHGVAR command used in step 4, virtually every CL developer is familiar with the CHGVAR command, but some of you may not be aware of just how flexible the command is. CHGVAR changes the value of a CL variable based on the expression found in the VALUE parameter, and the type of expression that can be used varies by the type of variable identified by the VAR parameter as seen in Table 1 of a Knowledge Center article. In the case of the VAR parameter identifying a logical variable, then the VALUE parameter can be any logical expression.

Many CL developers in the past, in order to reverse the setting of a logical variable/indicator, might have coded something like this:

             If         Cond(&EveryOther *EQ '1') Then( +       

                          ChgVar Var(&EveryOther) Value('0'))   

             Else       Cmd(ChgVar Var(&EveryOther) Value('1')) 

Or, based on our earlier discussion in this article, you might have coded this:


             If         Cond(&EveryOther) Then( +               

                          ChgVar Var(&EveryOther) Value('0'))   

             Else       Cmd(ChgVar Var(&EveryOther) Value('1')) 

But due to the flexibility of the CHGVAR command, you could have simply coded this:

             ChgVar Var(&EveryOther) Value(*Not &EveryOther)

As discussed earlier in the context of If Cond(*Not &EveryOther) the If is TRUE if the current value of &EveryOther is OFF (and FALSE if currently ON). All we're doing here is using CHGVAR to set the returned TRUE/FALSE value to &EveryOther, rather than having the returned value consumed by the If command.

Using the same technique, we could also replace the following code

             ChgVar     Var(&IN10) Value('0')                  

             If         Cond(&A *EQ 'ABC') Then( +             

                          ChgVar Var(&IN10) Value('1'))        

             If         Cond(&A *EQ 'XYZ') Then( +             

                          ChgVar Var(&IN10) Value('1'))        


with the following CHGVAR

           ChgVar     Var(&IN10) Value( +                    

                          ((&A *EQ 'ABC') *or (&A *EQ 'XYZ'))) 

Both sequences will result with &IN10 being ON if variable &A is currently set to either 'ABC' or 'XYZ', otherwise OFF.

Having reviewed CHGJOBS, and earlier created table BVINING/JOBS, we can now compile the program using a command such as this:


To test CHGJOBS, we need to load some test data. The following CL program, LOADJOBS, can be used to write nine records to BVINING/JOBS. If our CHGJOBS program works correctly, it will change only those records with a JobQ value of 'QBATCH', which are those identified by KeyFld values of 21, 22, 121, 222, and 123456789.


RunSQL SQL('Insert into BVining/Jobs +                     

             Values(10, ''NOT_ME'')')  Commit(*None)       

RunSQL SQL('Insert into BVining/Jobs +                     

             Values(21, ''QBATCH'')')  Commit(*None)       

RunSQL SQL('Insert into BVining/Jobs +                     

             Values(22, ''QBATCH'')')  Commit(*None)       

RunSQL SQL('Insert into BVining/Jobs +                     

             Values(50, ''NOR_ME'')')  Commit(*None)       

RunSQL SQL('Insert into BVining/Jobs +                     

             Values(60, ''NOPE'')')  Commit(*None)         

RunSQL SQL('Insert into BVining/Jobs +                     

             Values(121, ''QBATCH'')')  Commit(*None)      

RunSQL SQL('Insert into BVining/Jobs +                     

             Values(222, ''QBATCH'')')  Commit(*None)      

RunSQL SQL('Insert into BVining/Jobs +                     

             Values(100, ''QBATCH1'')')  Commit(*None)      

RunSQL SQL('Insert into BVining/Jobs +                      

             Values(123456789, ''QBATCH'')')  Commit(*None) 


To create and then run LOADJOBS, you can use the following two commands.



To test CHGJOBS, we can use the following command.


The contents of the JOBS file should now be this:

     KEYFLD   JOBQ      

         10   NOT_ME    

         21   THISONE   

         22   THATONE   

         50   NOR_ME    

         60   NOPE      

        121   THISONE   

        222   THATONE   

        100   QBATCH1   

123,456,789   THISONE   

One Pop Quiz Solution

The solution I have in mind is one based on the new 7.2 %char built-in function, which converts numeric data to character form. Using this built-in, we could change the current statement

                       ChgVar Var(&SQLStmt) Value(+                  

                           'Update BVining/Jobs Set JobQ = ''' *TCat +

                           &JobQ *TCat +                              

                          ''' where KeyFld =' *BCat +                



                       ChgVar Var(&SQLStmt) Value(+                  

                           'Update BVining/Jobs Set JobQ = ''' *TCat +

                           &JobQ *TCat +                              

                           ''' where KeyFld =' *BCat +                


This change would allow us to then remove the following two statements:

             Dcl       Var(&KeyFldChr) Type(*Char) Len(9)  

             ChgVar    Var(&KeyFldChr) Value(&KeyFld)  

More CL Questions?

Wondering how to accomplish a function in CL? Send your CL-related questions to me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Bruce Vining

Bruce Vining is president and co-founder of Bruce Vining Services, LLC, a firm providing contract programming and consulting services to the System i community. He began his career in 1979 as an IBM Systems Engineer in St. Louis, Missouri, and then transferred to Rochester, Minnesota, in 1985, where he continues to reside. From 1992 until leaving IBM in 2007, Bruce was a member of the System Design Control Group responsible for OS/400 and i5/OS areas such as System APIs, Globalization, and Software Serviceability. He is also the designer of Control Language for Files (CLF).A frequent speaker and writer, Bruce can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 

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