27th International Rexx
Language Symposium
28-31 August 2016
Tampa, Florida USA
Sponsored by
Rexx Language Association

SHOWIT - An ooRexx tool
to collect data from many
sources into an output file

Les Koehler
29 August 2016

Table of Contents


showit.rex collects data from multiple sources to create an output file and display it.

The inputs can contain variables in the html style of &varname which are defined with arguments and substitued as the output is created.

Its likely uses include:


These RexxLA members contributed to this effort:

I am deeply indebted to all of them.


I had written code for The Hessling Editor (THE) macros that helped me develop the processes for handling RexxLA Membershp Applications and Payments. Part of that effort included Help for all the macros, which was extracted from the prolog in the macro itself.

Eventually, that code was moved to a single macro, thus reducing the size of each macro and ensuring consistency.

Then, in October of 2015, I had to write some .rex code and realized I didn't have a similar tool for .rex code as I did for .the code. By the end of the month showit.rex was basically functional.

It wasn't until mid July of 2016 that my attention returned to it and I asked Walter for feedback. That resulted in a flurry of work to clean everything up and add some new features, with additional help from Gil and Jon.


   Call Showit .context~name , [output file] , item [ , item ...] 

Note: The output file defaults to .context~name with "_help.txt" appended.

An item is one of the following, with an example for each:


Variable definitions are saved in the order encountered as the arguments are processed. Everything from the & to the '=' becomes the varname. There are no restrictions on a varname, other than an exact match must be found for substitution to occur.

Each output line is examined for every variable, in the same order they were collected, and if found the substitution is made on the line using changestr() for all occurences.

This allows the clever programmer to have a variable contain another variable!


Its likely uses include:


Here is the code: showit.rex.html


When run from the command line, this is the result: showit.rex_help.txt.html

Summary and Conclusion


You've seen:

Would Anyone like to explore any of the above in more detail, or have a question?


Its been quite an adventure expanding showit beyond its original requirement to display a single piece of its own file and substitute variables.

However, the ultimate test of its usability rests with those who try it. Until the code gets posted on RexxLA.org, it can be requested from me.

Thank you for your attention and participation!