Commenting on COMMENTS

The following case study is an investigation I conducted on the manner in which COMMENTS are reflected in the MCF of Endevor. It serves to illustrate that there’s much more to Endevor than meets the eye!


The customer is making use of EXIT02 in order to cause special processing to take place when an element is being promoted or otherwise worked on and the COMMENT contains the word “EMERGENCY”.

When there is no source change to the element, the customer has determined that the COMMENT field does not contain the comment they had entered into Endevor. Instead, the previous comment (or “level” comment) is the only one seen by the exit program. This is resulting in the customer having to make a “dummy” change to the source for the sole purpose of having the “EMERGENCY” word be contained in the COMMENT field for the exit.


Endevor Behaviour

One of the first things to understand about Endevor is that there is MORE than just one comment associated to an element. In fact, there are as many as 5, depending on the reason for the comment and what it is being associated with. Consider the following COPYBOOK named JRDCOPY4. This copybook is being created for the very first time and has never existed in Endevor before. Endevor is creating v1.0 of the copybook. The screen that adds the element to Endevor might look like the following:


Note that the comment I have recorded says “V1.0 BASE COMMENT”. After a successful execution of the action, the Endevor Master Control File (MCF) for the element contains the following:



Note the highlighting done in the Element Master displays; Endevor has replicated the comment across 5 different areas. These are 5 distinct and unique areas within Endevor that contain comments and are not the same field. Each field displays what it contains at different times in Endevor. In this instance, because we have only done one (1) thing, there is only one comment to display.

The next event I do is to MOVE the element to the next stage. I would then build the screen as follows:


When Endevor does the move, the MCF for the element now contains the following:



Note that the comment that changed is NOT the comment that was associated to the element when I created it; rather, the comment is associated with a unique comment field in the MCF that contains comments associated to the last action done.

The next event that may occur is to work on this element. To do so, I would execute a RETRIEVE (or a QuickEdit session). The retrieve I execute may look as follows:


The MCF for the element would now contain the following information:



For the RETRIEVE action, there is a specific comment field area in the MCF that contains the information and it has been updated with the RETRIEVE COMMENT accordingly.

I will now make a few changes to the element and add it back into Endevor with the following screen:


The MCF associated to the element now contains the following in THIS stage (note that the MCF information in the next (target) stage still contains the original comments as indicated in figures 8 and 9).



Note that these are the comments associated to the element at this location where the changes have been made. The RETRIEVE comment is blank because this is NOT where I did my RETRIEVE! This is Stage “T” and, if you will review figures 7, 8 and 9, you will see that the RETRIEVE that I did was at Stage “Q”.

The next event I want to do is to MOVE the element to Stage “Q”. My MOVE screen would look as follows:


The changes that took place to the MCF comment fields are in the following screens:



Several things are important to note at this stage.

  • The BASE comments never change. They will always reflect the original comment that was placed into Endevor when the element was first created.
  • The RETRIEVE comment has now been dropped from stage “Q” MCF. This is because we have now moved back to the original place that I did my RETRIEVE.
  • The CURRENT SOURCE comment reflects the comments associated with the change. This is the field that is updated when a change is detected in the actual source lines of the program.
  • The LAST ELEMENT ACTION comment reflects the comment associated to the last action executed, in this situation “MOVE”.
  • The GENERATE comment reflects the same as the CURRENT SOURCE comment because I have not done any additional “generate” aside from the one that is done automatically when you “add/update” an element.

In order to ensure all the comment fields show their purpose, I will now cause a specific GENERATE action to take place against the element in stage “Q” to see which comments change. I would expect the comment I make to be reflected in the “LAST ACTION” comment and the “GENERATE” comment. The screen I use looks as follows:


The results in Endevor now are exactly as I had hoped:



To re-iterate, the comment associated to a change is the “CURRENT SOURCE” comment. The comment associated to activity or actions taking place in Endevor is the “LAST ELEMENT ACTION” comment.

In the customer’s scenario, they have an element for which no changes to the element are detected. To recreate the scenario, I begin by retrieving the element again.


The results in the MCF are as follows:



As I would expect, only the RETRIEVE comment has been changed.

Now I will add the element back into Endevor with NO CHANGES. This exactly replicates the condition at the customer where they are adding elements in with the EMERGENCY comment. In my case, I won’t use “emergency” but a comment that continues to identify what I am doing as follows:



Note the message in the top-right corner “NO CHANGES DETECTED”. If I query the MCF, the following information shows where the comment was contained.



This is the exact result I would hope Endevor would contain as the comments are in the correct place and Endevor is ensuring the wrong comments are not associated to the wrong things.

  • The BASE comment remains as originally coded.
  • The LAST ELEMENT ACTION and GENERATE comments indicate that the action was executed and the comment associated to the action
  • The CURRENT SOURCE comment has not changed and should not change because the source did not change. This comment field, based on what Endevor does, should only change if the source itself changes.

The next thing I want to do is MOVE the element with no changes back to the next stage. I would use a screen as follows:



Note again the message in the top-right corner that shows no changes were detected. If I query the MCF, the comment fields that have been affected are shown as follows:



There results are exactly what I would expect. Each comment is contained in its appropriate area. Endevor is maintaining the integrity of the right comment to the right action.

Exit Behaviour

Since we have established that Endevor is maintaining comments for the right things in the right places, the next thing to investigate is what is available to each of the exits during processing. In the case of the customer having this problem, the exit being invoked is EXIT02.

EXIT02 is invoked by Endevor before executing any actions. In other words, in Endevor, this exit is passed information before Endevor has actually done anything. All source is still where it is and no movement (for example) has begun.

During investigation of the issue, Technical Support asked the customer to provide an EXIT trace so that the information could be confirmed. The following is an extract of that trace that was provided:


Based on understanding how, when and where Endevor stores comments, this trace makes complete sense. The source comments (as reflected in the ELM* fields) does not change because the source has not changed. This is correct.

The REQCOMM comment, which reflects the comment associated to the action being done, correctly shows the comment associated to the action that is being requested.


The solution to the problem the customer is having is actually very simple although does require a change to their exit program.

The problem is that the exit program is looking at the wrong comment field for the wrong reason. The comment field being looked at by the program is likely the “CURRENT SOURCE” comment.

The comment field the program SHOULD be looking at is for activity that is taking place against the element. This field will always contain the comment to trigger the event such as EMERGENCY that the client is looking for since it always contains the comment regardless of whether there are source changes or not.

Simply put, the program must be modified to look at field REQCOMM (if written in Assembler) or REQ-COMMENT (if written in COBOL) and not look at any of the ELM* fields for the “EMERGENCY” word. This is the only change required by the customer to ensure their solutions keeps working as designed.

No change is required in Endevor.

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