Chapter 1: Getting Started


Fundamentals of system operation

The GENESYS system consists of several essential elements. The total system includes the equipment (hardware), programs (software), data entry (input), retention (data storage on disk), calculation (processing), and printing (output). The essential ingredient is people and their ability to use the system. This manual concentrates on the integration of personnel input and software output elements of the system.

Equipment (Hardware)

The Processor

The processor is a piece of equipment known by several terms--CPU, mainframe, main memory, brains of the beast. It is mentioned here only because it is sitting in the next room of your facility controlling all the functions of the computer. Knowledge of its workings is not important. Just be assured that it is in there, faithfully performing its tasks 24 hours each day, 365 days a year.

All you will need to know is how to start it if it ever stops. This is called IPLing, or booting, the system. IPL means Initial Program Load. If the power to the processor is on, then the system must have a program loaded into its memory. This program then proceeds to load the remainder of the programs until it is fully functioning. It is a simple task that includes pressing a start, or reset button, then typing a few commands on the master terminal. The master terminal is the one connected to the first connector on the processor unit. Unfortunately, each model of computer is IPLed differently, so exact instructions cannot be included here.

The Disk Storage Unit

The disk device electronically stores the information that is entered into the system. Disk storage is becoming progressively less expensive, allowing GENESYS to be designed to store a great deal of historical information. A common term, database, is used to describe the pool of information that is entered and accumulated on the disk.

The disk is an extension of the main memory of the computer. Information is constantly flowing between the disk (long-term storage device) and main memory (short-term storage device). The programs do all the work retrieving and storing data.

The Printer

Information is directed from disk storage to the printer by selecting one of many report programs. The programs do the work, retrieving the data, sorting it, calculating and analyzing, formatting, then directing it to the printer.

Whether your printer is a laser, dot matrix, networked or a slave, Genesys 4.0 will accommodate it! Depending upon the number of ports that exist at your site, you may have up to 65 printers. When purchasing a new printer, please refer to chapter 15 Miscellaneous, "How to Set up a New Printer".

The Video Display Terminal

The video display terminal, or VDT, is the interfacing device between people and the system. It is the point of entry for information coming in, and one means of getting information out. The terminal consists of a screen (CRT) and a connected keyboard. Using the keyboard like a typewriter, an operator can enter commands and respond to requests by the system to enter information.

The screen displays up to 24 lines of 80 characters per line. A lighted box appears whenever the screen power is on. This is called the cursor, and is the point where the next typed character will appear. This manual makes frequent reference to the cursor.

The screen displays information in two levels of intensity. Low intensity, or dim, is used to display the background format for data entry programs. The high intensity is used to display the variable information, the data. This difference helps separate descriptive headings from actual data.

The keyboard is similar to a standard typewriter keyboard, with the addition of several special keys. GENESYS employs "generic" terminals which have a number of special keys, but most of these are not used by the system.

Whenever you see a word capitalized and inside brackets, like (RETURN), this refers to a key on the keyboard. Here are some special keys that you will use that may be new to you.



As you type information on the keyboard, the characters will display on the screen. But you must press (RETURN) to indicate that you've completed your typing for the field. The system then interprets and processes what has been typed. Some computer systems allow typing of an entire screen of information before pressing (RETURN). The GENESYS system requires a (RETURN) after each field before passing to the next input field. Thus, the system checks each field of data as it is entered.


If your terminal has a 10-key pad attached, it will likely have an (ENTER) key, which functions identically to the (RETURN) key.


There is no key on the keyboard with the word END on it. So we made one up. The key immediately to the left of the (RETURN) key serves as our END key. When you wish to end the current process or function, press this key followed by the (RETURN) key. This is the most common keying sequence you will use in GENESYS, so let me repeat. When you are asked to press (END), this means press the key immediately to the left of the (RETURN) key, then press (RETURN). The combination of these two keystrokes will end the current function.

Please note, however, that you may select one of many different keys to be designated as the "end" key. Simply advise your systems analyst which key you wish to use for this function.

(REV) reverse

We made up this one, too. The key second to the left of the (RETURN) key (usually the semi-colon) serves as our REVERSE key. Certain programs allow the operator to back up one field by pressing the REVERSE key, then (RETURN). The combination of these two keystrokes will cause a reverse.

The key we chose for the reverse function may also be replaced by a key of your choice.

(CTRL) control

This key is used to generate a few special actions. Use it as you would the (SHIFT) key on a typewriter. Hold down the (CTRL) key while you press the (B) key to interrupt printing when you have started a report from your terminal.


The backspace key works like the correction key feature on expensive typewriters. The last character is removed as the print head (cursor on the screen) backs up one space. The unusual aspect on the screen is that the character still appears on the screen even though the cursor has backed up a space. This is confusing when you first start with GENESYS.


Do not use the arrow keys to move the cursor position on the screen. They will not give the desired result even if they appear to work. In fact, they may lead to very undesirable results. Again, GENESYS terminals are generic, or "dumb", terminals with many special function keys designed for purposes not supported by the GENESYS system. But these keys cannot be disabled.

The only exception for using these arrow keys in the help windows of Toolkit.



EDIT KEYS (insert, delete, tab, etc.)

Do not use these keys unless you have specifically programmed them with your systems analyst.


This key is similar to the SHIFT LOCK on a typewriter. It serves as a switch between all uppercase and all lowercase. The (CAPS LOCK) key should be in the all uppercase position at all times, except during Word Processing jobs when you will need upper and lower cases.


The numeric pad is designed to speed input of strictly numeric data. The number keys on the top row of the keyboard are equivalent to the number keys on the 10-key pad.


Do not use the lowercase letter "L" for the number "1". Do not use the letter "O" for the number zero. These are not interchangeable.

Programs (Software)

Programs are the coded set of instructions created by humans that interact with equipment and electricity to make things happen in the computer. The key words in this definition are instructions and humans. The creators of the programs are the ones responsible for what the system does. They give it the instructions. But, it is a human creation and therefore, is subject to constant revisions.

Operating System and Application Software

It is important to note that there are really two types of software running on any computer: operating system software and application software. These are really two different worlds.

The operating system software is the "overhead" on the system, the supervisory, controlling programs. Nothing functions without it. Operating system software takes years to develop and often is developed specifically to merge with a particular hardware architecture in order to work.

The application software (and GENESYS is an application software) is easier to develop and is written to specifically solve everyday problems and automate everyday tasks, like bookkeeping and paper flow. It is easy to add to and modify.

The point is that most errors in the programs and most changes to be made to improve the functioning of the system, are matters involving the application software. But occasionally, it is a matter for the specialists in operating system software. Hence, there are three areas of expertise needed to create a smooth running system: hardware, application software, and operating system software.

Program Types

The GENESYS application programs can be categorized into five program types. Each type is designed for specific results, and each program within a category operates in a similar manner.

Data Entry: Information enters the system through the data entry type program. The program formats the video screen and prompts the operator to enter (type) information. The entry is checked for errors. An audit trail is generated.

Reports: Information once entered and stored in the system can be printed in preset formats. Audit trails, bookkeeping records, master file listings, and management information and analysis reports are all the result of report programs.

Updates: Daily, monthly, and annually, information stored on the disk is updated. Whenever a data entry program is used to add to or change data on the system, this new information is in a temporary holding file (batch) until a proper audit trail can be printed, and the work evaluated and verified by the operator. Then it is updated--the new information adding to or changing the historical data already stored on the disk.

Inquiry: Operators can request various information that can be retrieved from the disk and displayed on the video screen. We call these Insight programs.

Maintenance: One type of data entry program is the maintenance program, used to "maintain"--add, change, or delete--the more permanent elements of the database, your customers, inventory, vendors, salesmen, and G/L accounts.

Data Input

How does the system interface with people in order to get data into the system?

The interfacing device is the video display terminal. The screen and keyboard allows the system to give you instructions, and prompt you for responses, and allows you, the operator, to type your responses and ask for more information.


The system prompts the operator in two ways. First, it may simply display a message that asks for a particular response, as with:

Select a FIELD NUMBER to change, or (END)

The cursor is at the end of this message awaiting your typed response.

Or, the system displays a background format, an entire screen of column headings or descriptive field names. Sometimes a field number is included when there are several pieces of information required. Then, the cursor is positioned next to a field description, or beneath a column heading, again awaiting your typed response. These are implied prompts.

When prompted, the operator must type a response and press the (RETURN) key, in every case. Sometimes just (RETURN) is a valid response.

Error Checking

The system will try its best to check the input for errors. Each field of input has a defined format. It may be alphanumeric, or strictly numeric, with a maximum length and a minimum length, with a number of digits left and right of the decimal point. Or it may require a valid date. Some fields are coded fields, one-, two-, or three-character codes which are compared to the valid codes that are set up in the Codes master file. Read about this in the Master Files chapter.

The system prompts for identifier codes, like the CUSTOMER NUMBER, for example. It will try to retrieve a customer corresponding to the number you enter. If it cannot find the number, a message is displayed. The system is trying to prevent operator errors.

Default Value

With most prompts, the system also displays a possible response. This is called the default value. That is, if you choose not to type anything, and just press (RETURN), it's as if you had typed that value. This saves keystrokes. The manual often will refer to the default value for an input field. The system has an idea of the most common response to many of its requests for data, and it will offer it as the default value.

Correcting Mistakes

How do you correct input mistakes? Suppose you've just responded to a prompt, but typed the wrong information, or mistyped it. Well, some actions just can't be undone, at least not easily. For example, if you respond "Y" to this question:

Do you want to update? (Y)or(N)

then the system starts its job, and you can't halt it until it is finished.

But in most cases you get a second chance. Each section of input will have one last question before the data is written on the disk. You will see prompts like:

Is the above information correct? (Y)or(N)

Select a FIELD NUMBER to change, or (END)

XX to cancel

All these give you another chance to go back to a prior entry and correct it. In any case, it is often just a matter of re-entering or reversing a mistaken entry, even when you discover the error several hours after it was input.

Starting the Session

Suppose you are seated before the terminal for the first time, ready to begin using the GENESYS system. The equipment is powered on and has been IPLed, the terminal is powered on, and all cables are properly connected (this should always be the case).

First, you must indicate to the system that you would like access to it at your terminal. This, on any multi-user computer, is termed "signing-on". You want to sign-on to the system. To do this, press (RETURN) or (ENTER). A prompt message appears on the screen:


Enter your designated login in lower-case letters (thereafter, all input is done in capitalized letters). It may the same for login as for all operators on your system, or different for each operator. If your login requires a password, the prompt will appear asking for the password.

The next request is:

Please enter OPERATOR CODE to begin processing

Each operator in your company is assigned a short operator code. Type your code and press (RETURN). Again, the code does not appear on the screen as you type. If an invalid code is entered, the system repeats its request for the OPERATOR CODE. A correct operator code brings up the next prompt:

Enter "as of" date:

The prompt, "Enter ‘AS OF’ date: 120398" will appear. The default date that appears is either the actual current date or, if you have just begun a new month and yet the books on Genesys have not been closed, the last day of the previous month will appear. You may not enter a current date if the previous month has not been closed. If you try, the prompt, "Invalid date! Last month end updated 11/98" will appear. However, once a month has been closed on Genesys you may always enter a later date in the current month!

Each terminal operates with its own date.

The Selector

The Selector is a special data entry program. Its function is to show the operator the various tasks that can be performed, then to allow the operator to select a program, and finally to start that program.

The Selector first displays the Master Selector (or menu), a list of the major areas of processing, like Orders & Invoices, Accounts Receivable, and Inventory. Each one is numbered. The system requests that you:


Simply type the number and press (RETURN). Each of the major areas will have their own selector listing the various tasks (programs) within the area. Again, each one is numbered so you can simply select one to begin a program.

When a program is completed or ended, the system always returns to display the last selector that was showing when you chose to run the program. You can back up from a selector to redisplay the Master Selector by pressing (END).

The Selector screen always displays five items at the top of the screen: the "as of" date, your company name, the terminal number, the "system" date and time, and the user ID that was entered as a login.

Not all selectors are available to all operators. You may see this message:

Operator may not access this selector!

The operator code you used to begin the session is not allowed access to the selector.

Not all programs are available to all operators, either. You may see this message when you select a program:

"Program name" requires PASSWORD:

You must type a valid password to gain access to the program. This is not the login, nor the operator code, which have their own uses. This is a selector password. There are eight passwords, one for each of eight priority levels. One program may require the level-one password (minimum protection), while another requires the level-five password (higher protection). If you know the level-five password, then you have access to both programs, while knowledge of the level-one password gets you only to level-one protected programs. Your system manager will have access to a program that sets up the password levels for each selector and each program, and another program which sets up the actual password codes.


Report Options

If you select to run a report type program, another screen appears listing the Report Options for the report. The system prompts:

(RETURN) to start report, or
(P)rint options and start report, or
(O)verride options for this run only, or
(S)etup "permanent" options, or
(END) to return to the selector.

(RETURN) to start, (P)rint, (O)verride, (S)etup, or END

You may change some options about the selected report before the report starts printing. Options may let you choose a range of records to print, starting and ending customer number, for example. You may be able to choose a mode, either detail of records, summarized, or just totals. Or you may choose a sorting sequence, by customer number, or by customer name, for example.

You are always allowed to select the destination of the report, either to one of up to seven printer devices, or a slave printer, or to the Spooler. A slave printer is one that is cable-connected directly to your terminal. The Spooler is an area in disk memory where reports can be stored in their printed format until a later time when you prefer to print them, or when a printer becomes available.

The Report Options screen gives you two ways to change the option values. You can set up, or override. When the computer was delivered, all the reports had option values already set up. Each time you select a report, the set up values appear. You can change these values by choosing to set up options. If you override, the values you enter will be used for this time only. The next time the report is selected, the set up values reappear.

Note that the values for options, not the options themselves, are under your control. Which options are available are written into each report program by our programmers. Also, when you set up option values, these values are for all users on the system, not just for your terminal.

The cursor moves to the top of the list of options and you may type in a value, or press (RETURN) to retain the value that's already there. Most options have restrictions for what value can be entered. If your input is not accepted, the audible error tone sounds and you must re-enter a value that is acceptable. Make an entry, or press (RETURN), at each option until you return to the prompt at the bottom.

You can again choose to set up, or override. If you are ready to start printing, simply press (RETURN) and the report program starts. If, however, you choose not to print the report, press (END) to return to the Selector. Option values that are set up are retained even if you do not print the report.

You may type "P" to start printing also. In this case, the report options that you have selected will print on the selected printer just prior to printing the actual report. This gives you a way of documenting exactly which options were chosen for the report. You may want to begin all reports in this manner but an extra page of paper is used each time.

Interrupting a Report in Progress

Any report can be interrupted while it is printing. Depress the (CTRL) key and hold it down while you press the (B) key. The following message appears:

Do you want to stop this report? (Y)or(N)

You can answer "Y" to stop the report, or "N" to continue printing where it left off. Any report that is stopped in this manner will have a message indicating the date and time that the printing was stopped:


Control and Filing of Reports

The seemingly trivial task of controlling the paper that comes out of the printer is an important topic. Boxes of printed pages can be easily generated by your new system. Here are some suggested tips to properly control this output:

Learn over time which reports and which report option values produce the most meaningful information for you. Just because a report can be printed, does not mean it should be printed. Management has only so much time to review such reports.

When reports are printed, remove them from the printer immediately. Someone else might inadvertently throw yours away.

Accounting journals must be saved. Store them in report binders. File them as soon as possible. Sometimes you may print a journal more than once. Be sure to save and file the last (correct) printout, and tear the prior (incorrect) one. The system date and time print in the upper right corner of all reports to help you keep track.

If you place a box near the printer for discarded printer paper and reports, then you have a second chance to retrieve something that has been mistakenly thrown away. Also remember that much of this information is proprietary. Even "garbage" is valuable if it gets into the wrong hands.

Bookkeeping with GENESYS

How does GENESYS create and maintain accurate books?

To begin with, a General Ledger master file is created. In it is your company's Chart of Accounts, a list of account numbers and descriptions.

The bookkeeping occurs in a cycle. You use a data entry program like Cash Receipts Entry, or Vendor Invoice Entry, to enter a batch, or the day's accumulation, of transactions. Then, print the corresponding journal (report), like the Cash Receipts Journal, or Purchase Journal. Each journal lists the detail transactions, usually in the sequence in which they were entered. The last page of the journal is a General Ledger Summary showing the activity (total debits and credits) for each account on the journal. Finally, you may update the journal. The latest batch is updated to the general ledger and to various subsidiary ledgers (customer, vendor, salesmen, or inventory, for example). The details of the batch are cleared from the temporary journal file so they aren't included on the next journal printout. Detail journal transactions are saved until the end of the month, however. Monthly journal reports include all transactions for the month.

Some accounts are posted automatically helping to simplify your data entry and maximize accuracy. When you receive checks and post the cash against customer accounts on the A/R ledger, you debit the Cash in Bank account and credit the Accounts Receivable account. GENESYS uses a technique whereby "cross-reference codes" are used to describe such accounts. For example, "BANK1" and "A/R" are the cross-reference codes used to identify the Cash in Bank and Accounts Receivable accounts, respectively. Thus, regardless of the actual account number you've used for these common accounts, the program can identify them and correctly post to them. Your systems analyst and installer will help set up the twenty or so such cross-reference codes once your Chart of Accounts has been entered into the system.

GENESYS adheres to principles of double entry accounting. For each transaction, debits must equal credits. You may not end any posting without balancing. You are prevented from posting both sides of the equation to the same account!

Software Errors

Occasionally, a software error occurs that causes a program to halt. It is difficult to explain why this happens. Usually, a combination of circumstances causes something to happen that the programmer did not properly anticipate and prevent. Sometimes a flaw in the data stored on the disk resulting from an equipment or power failure, can cause a problem within a program.

GENESYS attempts to capture information about an error, report it to you, and save the information so that our Customer Service staff can find and rectify the problem. The system makes an entry into an Error Log file which can be printed periodically. The program halts and returns to the Selector where the following message appears:

PROGRAM TERMINATED: name of the program
REASON FOR TERM'N : error message
COURSE OF ACTION : Call Customer Service immediately

Review the message, then press (X) and (RETURN) to continue processing. You should contact the Customer Service department immediately. Sometimes one error can lead to additional errors, and the same program or same transaction should not be attempted until the original error is fixed.

Not all errors can be reported in this manner, however. Some errors are only reported by the operating system. They appear in this form:

Error #28 at line 3030

The Selector does not reappear. In fact, you are left in the middle of the BASIC program processor where you'll have little success getting your work done. Follow this procedure if this happens.

1. Write down the name of the program you were running (the description on the Selector).

2. If possible, determine the Error number and Line number and write these down.

3. If the cursor moves when you type on the keyboard, depress the (CTRL) key and hold it down while you press the (C) key. The operating system prompt, a pound sign (#), should appear. Type "S2" and press (RETURN) and the Selector should reappear.

4. Call the Customer Service department to report the error. If you can't get the Selector back on the screen, someone from Customer Service will help, or can take measures to get the system or terminal up and running again.

One additional type of error might occur that is really not a program error, but it still causes the program to halt. This occurs when all the allotted disk space for a data file is used. There is no more space for new transactions to be entered. These errors appear on the Selector as follows:

The Cash Receipts Journal file is full! (X) to END

The system does not log this type of message, so it is up to you to either follow a procedure to clear the file, or to call Customer Service to get more space allotted to the file. Press (X) and (RETURN) to continue processing.

Ending the Session

There are two options on the Master Selector that do not lead to additional selectors.

1. Start

Start returns you to the GENESYS welcome screen where you entered the operator code and "as of" date to begin the session.

20. Exit

Exit temporarily "disconnects" the terminal from the system. This is the "sign-off" procedure. The terminal is inactive until someone performs the sign-on procedure again. If you leave the terminal for an extended period of time, you should EXIT before leaving.