AS400 Commands in a Nutshell

By: John Andersen

The AS/400 and iSeries systems are essentially command driven operating systems. There are definite advantages to a command line driven environment but nowadays with the widespread popularity of GUIs people seem to recoil when talking about anything command driven. The good news is that the native command set available on the AS/400 and iSeries platform is really simple to learn and before long you will be a pro.

Since commands are so essential to doing anything and working with the system let’s review some of the basics when it comes to AS/400 and iSeries commands. As I mentioned commands are the heart of the system and while there are other options available for administration like operations navigator it is still important to have a good grasp of the OS/400 command line interface.

First most commands are simply three letter abbreviations of common words, there are some rare exceptions so this isn’t a hard and fast rule. For example the word work is abbreviated to the three letters wrk, and the word active is shortened to just act. If you put these two words together along with the word job, you get the command wrkactjob which displays all of the currently active and running jobs on the entire system at that time. And by the way you will use the wkractjob command frequently so you may want to write that down.

A useful feature of the operating system is that commands can be prompted
and all of the additional parameters displayed along with the extended help text information. To activate, after typing in a command on the command line just press the F4 key and up will pop all the parameters for the command, you can usually use the F4 key again in each of the parameter fields to display a list of values available for those parameters. Help text for the parameters is as simple as pressing the F1 key on the keyboard. To close out of the command prompt screen and return back to the command line simply press the F12 key.

Wild cards can make you life incredibly easy and trying to track down commands faster. If you are unsure of a command simply key in the portion you do know along with the asterisk (*) symbol tagged on the end and press the enter key. The operating system will then search the entire system for any and all commands that match the wildcard and return the results onto the screen where you can easily browse through and pick the one you wanted to use.

When you first log onto the AS/400 you will notice that it is menu driven but behind the scenes these menus are nothing more than, you guessed it, commands. If you navigate around the menu system you will see that there are some menus that will help you track down commands faster. In addition you can access the “Verb Commands” menu by typing in the command go verb. On this menu all of the commands available to you have been grouped together by their action such as work, copy and delete.