What is FBA? For what purpose it is used?

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FBA is Fixed-Block Address or Fixed-Block Architecture (FBA). FBA is a DASD data storage architecture in which the data is stored in fixed-length blocks. Each block is addressed by a block number relative to the beginning of the particular disk.

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  • Oct 26th, 2006

FBA - is a "print" file format, normally 133 bytes in length with 132 printable characters where the first character is a carriage control. When in Browse mode on a file with this format, the first column is not shown. The only way to see the first column is if you go into EDIT. The valid carriage control characters are -

"1" - New page

"0" - double space

"+" - suppress spacing

" " - a blank, for single spacing

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  • Oct 27th, 2006

To my knowledge FBA is Fixed Block Attribute. Whenever you use "After Advancing" in the cobol program for reports,  the mode should be FBA. If it is wrong please let me know.

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Jay Walker

  • Feb 27th, 2012

I keep seeing FBA defined as "Fixed Block Architecture" all over the internet.

Lets think about this for a minute...

Times up...

F = Fixed = length of each record is identical (e.g., 133 characters). Correct!

B = Blocked = records are grouped together, using a consistent blocking factor (e.g., a blocking factor of 10 records, each 133 characters long, gives each block a size of 1,330). Correctamundo!

And there it is, your FB record format.

But wait... if you are using this format for a dataset that will be printed, theres one more thing you can add to that definition. FBA.

A = Architecture = What would that even mean!? And, considering there are FB datasets and FBA datasets, this would infer that a mere FB dataset doesnt have an architecture! Huh!?

No. No. No.

A = ANSI carriage control. The American National Standards Institute came up with this years ago. Its used to extend the coding capabilities within a print formatting program that has been written to process a particular print dataset. It allows the data file to contain an extra column of information in front of each line of data. Think of all the things you could do if you could put a special control character (channel code) in front of each line of data! You could have a code character "+" that means "stay on the same print line". Or a code character "0" that means "add a blank line". Or a code character "1" that means "go to a new page". Or a code character that could act as a flag to "trigger a switch to a specific subroutine in the print formatting program before processing the next line of data". You can use these codes to enhance your control of font selection; data field selection and placement; conditional logic; variations in the number of lines of data on each page; and so on.

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Chandan Saha

  • Mar 31st, 2015

Fixed Block Architecture is an IBM term for hard disk drive in which each addressable block on the disk size has the same size

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Jack Hartley

  • Sep 12th, 2016

FBA = Fixed Block Attribute. The mainframe uses EBCIDIC not ANSI. Attribute means it has print attributes in column 1.

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