First Failure Support Technology (FFST) - Probing for Solutions to OS/2 Problems

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by Tony Mueller

First Failure Support Technology, or FFST (pronounced as fist), is a new technology that helps programmers locate problems in their OS/2 programs FFST lets you place probes in programs at points where unexpected conditions occur, such as when a bad return code is received from an API, a memory allocation fails, a resource is unavailable, or a variable or data object suddenly becomes corrupted. These probes are sent to the system error logger (represented in the GUI by the System Error Log icon), which displays the relative information you saved with the probe, such as which program failed and where the failure was.

FFST allows various types of data to be saved when a FFST probe fires. For example, it might be useful to save process dumps and a snapshot of the trace buffer. FFST can capture the process environment and system processes. Alternatively, it can capture a system dump so that all current memory can be investigated.

The data saved with the FFST probe can be formatted using error template files with the Desktop Management Interface (DMI), and you can display the data using the system error logger. These and other problem determination programs are found in the Problem Determination folder, which is located in the OS/2 folder of OS/2 Warp Version 4. For information about DMI, see the SystemView Agent DMI Programmer's Guide online documentation in the IBM Developer's Toolkit for OS/2 Warp Version 4 that is available on the Developer Connection CD.

FFST can be configured through the FFST Setup program to better isolate problems. If too many probes are firing, enable only the critical probes and disable the rest. The types of data captured with each probe can also be changed by the setup program.

The Problem Determination Programmer's Guide in the Developer's Toolkit for OS/2 Warp Version 4 describes FFST and the problem determination technologies that interact with FFST (such as dump, trace, and DMI). The Toolkit includes a complete FFST sample program with formatting information; sample FFST programs are also available to show how to invoke the various FFST APIs.

Reprint Courtesy of International Business Machines Corporation, © International Business Machines Corporation