Types of Output Files

In this section:

You decide which type of output file you need by considering what you plan to do with the output after you capture it. You can even capture the output multiple times in several different formats. Each output file is classified as either Save or Hold.

Tip: When saving or holding output files, it is recommended to have an Allocation in place for the file. This is not applicable for PCHOLD files.

Top of page

SAVE Files

A SAVE file is the output of a report request stored in a format that can be used by a variety of applications. The default Save format is ALPHA, an ASCII text file containing your data values as printable characters. Depending on the format type you specify, you can use a Save file as input to other programming languages, applications, and WebFOCUS facilities. For example, you can create a Save file as a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet or as a webpage. For details, see the procedure How to Create a SAVE File.

A SAVE file does not necessarily retain the spacing between columns and the other formatting features that are supported when report output appears on your screen. The values are formatted as required by the type of Save file you create. For information about the types of SAVE files, see SAVE File Formats.

A special type of SAVE file is the SAVB file. A SAVB file is the same as a SAVE file except that numeric data is stored in internal format (BINARY), which means that it is not viewable on your screen without conversion. You can use the SAVB file as input to a variety of applications. For example, you can use it as the transaction file for a Microsoft Visual Basic program.

Top of page

HOLD Files

In its purest form, a HOLD file is the output of a report request stored in a file that you can use as input to another WebFOCUS procedure. When a HOLD file is created for this purpose, a corresponding Master File is created along with the HOLD file. For example, you can create a HOLD file in FOCUS data source format. WebFOCUS automatically creates two files: a new FOCUS data source (.foc) containing the records that your request retrieves and a new Master File (.mas) that describes the fields in those records. You can then create new report requests that extract data from the HOLD file.

There are several reasons you might want to create such a HOLD file. You may want to extract the few fields you need from a large data source for faster and more efficient retrieval, or you may need to store virtual field values or summary values calculated in one request for further processing in another request.

Top of page


You can also use data in the server environment and automatically transfer files you create to your local computer using special types of files called PCHOLD files. Both the data source and, when created, the internal Master File (.mas) are automatically transferred to the personal computer running Developer Studio. PCHOLD formats are particularly valuable when you wish to run a report remotely and save the data output files on a local workstation or transfer the files from a web server to a browser.

In addition, you can produce a local Master File when executing HOLD commands remotely on a server. Your remote HOLD command automatically delivers a copy of the Master File to the PC so you can create new reports against the extracted data using Report Painter. This process eliminates the step of having to transfer the Master File from the server, perform a PCHOLD, or physically create the Master File locally.

You can create both HOLD and PCHOLD files in formats that can be used (like SAVE files) by a variety of other applications. Since these applications do not require Master Files, the report output is extracted in the requested format, but no Master File is created.

For more information, see HOLD File Formats and How to Create a HOLD File . You may also wish to refer to topics in the Describing Data With Graphical Tools manual for information on how to create Master Files and how to generate Master File synonyms from existing schema with a wizard.