XCICS online help (BOS-help)

ROS-Help for XCICS, emulates the online help and documentation solution for BOS Help CICS applications' solution.

One of the traits of legacy applications is that they are notoriously poorly documented and supported. Indeed, documentation and support is not the favorite activity of any developer, nor is the allocation of development resources to documentation of help files, a particularly good investment.

To solve this issue  HTWC adopted BOS-HELP functionality for Mainframe applications, technology created by XPS Software GmbH and distributed by BOS Software Service GmbH of Germany.  

BOS-help reduces cost and effort for creating, updating and distributing any information related to CICS applications.

HTWC has successfully emulated and deployed its version of the this application, calling it Re-hosted Online System Help – R.O.S Help.

ROS Help

For creating online help functions, no source code is required. ROS-help supports in-house developed and third party application packages - independent of the programming language. ROS help preserves the original documentation and enables writers to enhance this in the target environment.

Similar to BOS Help, - online help functions can be created by stepping through the application and positioning the cursor on the desired field. Pressing the "CREATE" key (e.g. F1) the "create help" editor is activated, so help text can be entered.

The field will be automatically identified by ROS -help. Together with the field identification a reference to the help data (help text name and paragraph name) and the help window layout specifications are saved.

Pressing a function key will activate the BOS-help text editor and allows to enter the help text for the field.

Immediately after returning to the application panel, the created online help is available and can be invoked by pressing the HELP function key.




Operations’ Management

Cost reduction for Creating, distributing and maintaining application documentation

Ease documentation requirements on key developers

User productivity and shorter induction times

Knowledge management and protection

No administration effort in developing help and training functions



Avoid redundancy

Fast implementation


Hypertext browser facility to obtain related information


Shorter processing times for all business transactions

Already deployed

In a recent re-hosting project for the Comune di Bologna, one of the pre-requisites was the retention of the B.O.S Help feature. As well a virtual one to one emulation, the following files were converted one to one for availability in the Linux environment;

  • 3500 references for help to map fields (specific or generic).
  • 960 help paragraphs
  • 70 Headers and Trailers
  • 20 links

Users and management perceived no changes to the application and its help function.