VA FileMan V. 22.0 Getting Started HTML Manual Banner


Main Advanced User Manual Programmer Manual


reference You can also search the "Free Online Dictionary of Computing."

.001 Field
A field containing the internal entry number of the record.
.01 Field
The one field that must be present for every file and file entry. It is also called the NAME field. At a file's creation the .01 field is given the label NAME. This label can be changed.
Access Codes
In VA FileMan, a string of codes that determines your security access to files, fields, and templates. In Kernel, you enter an Access Code to identify yourself during signon.
Alternate Editor
One of the text editors available for use from VA FileMan. Editors available vary from site to site. They are entries in the ALTERNATE EDITOR file (#1.2).
At-sign ("@")
A VA FileMan security Access Code that gives the user programmer-level access to files and to VA FileMan's developer features. See Programmer Access. Also, the character "@" (i.e., at-sign) is used at VA FileMan field prompts to delete data.
Audit Trail
The record or log of an ongoing audit.
The monitoring and recording of computer use.
Backward Pointer
A pointer to your current file from another file; used in the extended pointer syntax.
Boolean Expression
A logical comparison between values yielding a true or false result. In M, zero means false and non-zero (often one) means true.
Canonic Number
A number with no leading zeros and no trailing zeros after a decimal point.
In ScreenMan, a label displayed on the screen. Captions often identify fields that are to be edited.
Command Area
In ScreenMan, the bottom portion of the screen used to display help information and to accept user commands.
An attribute of a field or a file that identifies an action that should take place when the value of a field is changed. Often, the action is the placement of the field's value into an index. A Traditional cross-reference is defined with a specific field. A New-Style cross-reference is a file attribute and can be composed of one or more fields. New-Style cross-references are stored in the INDEX file (#.11).
On your display terminal, the line or rectangle identifying where your next input will be placed on the screen.
Data Dictionary
A record of a file's structure, its elements (fields and their attributes), and relationships to other files. Often abbreviated as DD.
The kind of data stored in a field. NUMERIC, COMPUTED, and WORD-PROCESSING are examples of VA FileMan DATA TYPEs.
An organized collection of data spanning many files. Often, all the files on a system constitute that system's database.
Decentralized Hospital Computer Program
See VistA.
A computer-provided response to a question or prompt. The default might be a value pre-existing in a file. Often, you can change a default.
Device Prompt
A Kernel prompt at which you identify where to send your output.
Edit Window
In ScreenMan, the area in which you enter or edit data. It is highlighted with either reverse video or an underline. In Screen Editor, the area in which you enter and edit text; the area between the status bar and the ruler.
A record in a file. "Entry" and "record" are used interchangeably.
Extended Pointers
A means to reference fields in files other than your current file.
In an entry, a specified area used to hold values. The specifications of each VA FileMan field are documented in the file's data dictionary.
Field Number
The unique number used to identify a field in a file. A field can be referenced by "#" followed by the field number.
A set of related records (or entries) treated as a unit.
In ScreenMan, a group of one or more pages that comprise a complete transaction. Comparable to an INPUT template.
A DATA TYPE that can contain any printable characters.
Full-screen Editing
The ability to enter data in various locations on the two-dimensional computer display. Compare to scrolling mode.
A type of bar graph that indicates frequency of occurrence of particular values.
In VA FileMan, a field that is defined to aid in identifying an entry in conjunction with the NAME field.
An ordered list used to speed retrieval of entries from a file based on a value in some field or fields. The term "simple index" refers to an index that stores the data for a single field; the term "compound index" refers to an index that stores the data for more than one field. Indexes are created and maintained via cross-references.
INPUT Template
A pre-defined list of fields that together comprise an editing session.
Internal Entry Number
The number used to identify an entry within a file. Every record has a unique internal entry number. Often abbreviated as IEN.
A VistA software package that functions as an intermediary between the host operating system and VistA application packages. Kernel includes installation, menu, security, and device services.
A group of fields that, taken collectively, uniquely identifies a record in a file or subfile. All fields in a key must have values. The term "simple key" refers to keys that are composed of only one field; the term "compound key" refers to keys that are composed of more than one field. Keys are stored in the KEY file (#.31).
A user's authorization to create a new entry when editing a computer file. An acronym for Learn As You Go.
Line Editor
The VA FileMan editor that lets you input and change text on a line-by-line basis. The Line Editor works in scrolling mode. See Screen Editor.
To find an entry in a file using a value for one of its fields.
An electronic mail system (e-mail) that allows you to send messages to and receive them from other users via the computer. It is part of VistA.
A list that includes the names of options from which you can select an activity.
A VA FileMan DATA TYPE that allows more than one value for a single entry. See Subfile.
Abbreviated as M. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) computer language used by VA FileMan and throughout VistA. The acronym MUMPS stands for Massachusetts General Hospital Utility Multi Programming System.
NAME Field
The one field that must be present for every file and file entry. It is also called the .01 field. At a file's creation the .01 field is given the label NAME. This label can be changed.
1. Navigation can mean switching your reference point from one file to another.

2. Navigation can also mean moving your cursor around a terminal display or a document using cursor keys and other commands.
Non-canonic Number
A number with either leading zeros, or trailing zeros after a decimal point. M treats non-canonic numbers as text instead of as numbers.
A value other than null. A space and zero are non-null values.
Empty. A field or variable that has no value associated with it is null.
Null Response
When replying to a prompt, pressing only the Enter/Return key, abbreviated as , to enter nothing.
Numeric Expression
An expression whose value is a number. Compare to string expression.
One of the processes done to the elements in an expression to create a value.
A computing activity that you can select, usually a choice from a menu.
Insert text or other data as input into one computer program that has been copied into a clipboard by the same or by another computer program.
Pattern Match
In M, an operator that compares the contents of a variable or literal to a specified pattern of characters or kinds of characters.
PF keys
Keys on a terminal keyboard labeled PF1, PF2, etc. that are used to perform special functions instead of displaying visible characters.
A field DATA TYPE that contains an explicit reference to an entry in a file. POINTER TO A FILE-type fields are used to relate files to each other.
Pop-up Page
In ScreenMan, a page that overlays the regular ScreenMan screen in order to present the contents of a selected Multiple.
Preferred Editor
The editor always entered when you access a WORD-PROCESSING-type field; your default editor. Kernel must be present to establish a Preferred Editor.
PRINT Template
The stored specifications of a printed report, including fields to be printed and formatting instructions.
Programmer Access
The ability to use VA FileMan features that are reserved for application developers. Referred to as "having the at-sign ('@')" because the at-sign is the DUZ(0) value that grants programmer access.
A question or message from the computer requiring your response.
A set of data pertaining to a single entity in a file; an entry in a file.
Record Number
See Internal Entry Number.
Relational Navigation
Changing your current (or primary) file reference to another file. Relational navigation is accomplished by using the extended pointer syntax without specifying a field in the referenced file.
Required Field
A field that cannot be left null for an entry.
A graph in which occurrences of two fields are displayed on an X-Y coordinate grid to aid in data analysis.
Screen Editor
VA FileMan's Screen-oriented text editor. It can be used to enter data into any WORD-PROCESSING field using full-screen editing instead of line-by-line editing. See Line Editor.
A computer interface in which you see many lines of data at a time and in which you can move your cursor around the display screen using screen navigation commands. Compare to Scrolling Mode.
The set of routines that supports Screen-oriented data editing and data display.
Scrolling Mode
The presentation of the interactive dialogue one line at a time. Compare to Screen-oriented.
An area on disk set aside for temporary, sequential storage of data; an abbreviation for Sequential Disk Processor. It is available on some M implementations (e.g., DSM-11).
SEARCH Template
The saved results of a search operation. Usually, the actual entries found are stored in addition to the criteria used to select those entries.
The strategies and procedures used to ensure that user access to data and data structures is controlled and appropriate.
A field DATA TYPE where a short character string is defined to represent a longer value.
Simple Extended Pointers
An extended pointer that uses a pre-existing pointer relationship to access entries in another file.
To place items in order, often in alphabetical or numeric sequence.
SORT Template
The stored record of sort specifications. It contains sorting order as well as restrictions on the selection of entries. Used to prepare entries for printing.
To place values directly into a field, usually with no user interaction.
An entry in a Multiple; also called a Subrecord.
A field in a Multiple.
The data structure of a Multiple. In many respects, a Subfile has the same characteristics as a File.
Terminal Emulation
Using one kind of terminal or computer display to mimic another kind. Often used with personal computer (PC) remote communication applications.
Terminal Type
The designation of the kind of computer peripheral being used (e.g., the kind of video display or printer). Full terminal type functionality is supplied by Kernel.
Truth Test
An evaluation of an expression yielding a true or false result. In M, usually a 1 (true) or a 0 (false) is returned from a truth test.
The ^ character (caret); used in VA FileMan for exiting an option or canceling a response. Also used in combination with a field name or prompt to jump to the specified field or prompt.
Send a file from one computer system to another (usually using communications software).
The Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA), within the Department of Veterans Affairs, is the component of the Veterans Health Administration that develops software and installs, maintains, and updates compatible computer systems in VA medical facilities. (Previously known as the Decentralized Hospital Computer Program [DHCP].)


Reviewed/Updated: March 4, 2007