Tips for debugging or creating a CA TPX Start ACL script to sign a user onto an application (Automated Conversation Language/Extended)

Document ID : KB000010119
Last Modified Date : 14/02/2018
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Automated Conversation Language/Extended (ACL/E) is a high-level programming language oriented to the 3270 keyboard. ACL/E automates routine interactions, such as application session signon and signoff, and provides powerful tools that enhance the way users see and use applications.



An application in the CA TPX Application Characteristics Table (ACT) can be defined with a Start ACL; a signon script for automating user signon to the application using TPX signon values.

If a StartACL is no longer working, or you want to set up a new script, this document briefly describes several considerations and recommendations.

TPX for z/OS

For an existing StartACL:

  • Has the application changed recently?  
  • Has the screen layout of the logon panel changed?  
  • Does it still match with ACL script searches for specific text?

Start by confirming the manual process to logon to the application that the StartACL is automating:

  1. Display the application logon/signon screen/panel from TPX:
    • For a session with an existing Start ACL, select the session without using the startup ACL program by using command G.
    • Do you get the application logon panel when you select the session in TPX? If not, check the TPX log for any errors.  Is the ACT applid for the session valid?
  2. Logon to the application:
    • Pay special attention to every key stroke (enter, tab, etc.).  
    • Ensure the ACL matches this process exactly, or modify as necessary.
    • Consider if you need to add a WAIT to allow time for the screen to be received by TPX.
    • If unable to sign on successfully, check the TPX log for any errors or VTAM SENSE codes that will indicate the cause outside of TPX.

If you cannot get to the application within TPX, can you access the application logon panel from native VTAM?

  • If not, there is likely a problem outside of TPX control, such as with the application itself or network. 

Consider using ACL OPTION stmts FLOW, TERM, MAXI, TIME to assist with debugging and controlling runaway errors:


Indicates whether or not the ACL/E program records the sequence of executed commands in the message log.  The default is OFF, which prevents commands from being recorded in the log.


Indicates the total number of statements (n) that can be executed by an ACL/E program. The default is 50. You can specify an integer between zero and 64,000.


Indicates whether or not the application data is sent to the terminal during ACL/E program execution. The default is OFF, which prevents data from being sent.


Indicates a time-out value for ACL/E processing. If no activity occurs for the time-out period, the program resumes at the statement marked with the label. N specifies the time-out period in seconds. A value of OFF prevents the program from timing out.


Prevents the program from timing out.




Additional Information:

TPX 5.4 ACL/E Programming

TPX 5.4 ACL/E Programming - A program for signing on to TSO