Create a Sequential File


SERIAL filename$[,max_recs[,rec_size]][,ERR=stmtref]



String variable that defines the name of the serial (sequential) file to create.


Maximum size of the data portion of the record. (Optional on most operating systems.) Numeric expression.


Estimated number of records the file is to contain. The default is no initial allocation of file space with no limit as to final size. (Not used in most operating system implementations.) Numeric expression.


Program line number or statement label to which to transfer control.


When you use the SERIAL directive to create a serial (sequential or flat) file, PxPlus creates a standard text data file in a format the operating system can access directly. The record size is "for documentation purposes only" on most operating systems. If you do specify the size, make it large enough to hold all the data fields written to the file for each record. If a file of the name you use already exists, PxPlus returns an Error #12: File does not exist (or already exists).

WindX in PxPlus supports the use of this directive via the [WDX] or [LCL] tags; e.g. SERIAL "[WDX]somefile.ext". Non-PxPlus versions require you to encapsulate the command in an EXECUTE directive with a [WDX] tag (i.e. EXECUTE "[WDX]..."). See [WDX] Direct Action to Client Machine or [LCL] Access to Users Local Machine.

Record Access Mode and Binary Access Mode

In record access mode, a serial file is read a line or record at a time. Each line is determined by the presence of end-of-line-character(s), which are different based on the operating system. On UNIX (or similar operating systems), the end-of-line character is the line feed ($0A$). On Microsoft Windows, it is a carriage return followed by a line feed ($0D0A$).

Starting with PxPlus 2020, UNIX/Linux systems will auto strip a $0D$ preceding the end-of-record line feed. This option can be controlled by the 'CR' system parameter.

Each READ or READ RECORD will only read 1 line. When using a standard READ directive READ, each line will be parsed by any field SEPs that exist within the line, and the corresponding variables within the READ will be set. If you use a READ RECORD, then the field SEPs will not be parsed, and the variable on the directive will receive the complete lines data.

When you OPEN a serial file in record access mode, there are 2 logical file pointers in the file. The read pointer starts at the top of the file, and the write pointer starts at the bottom; therefore, reads return the data starting from the first record whereas writes automatically append to the end of the file.

You can move both file pointers by issuing a READ or WRITE and supplying an IND= clause (IND=0 is the first record, IND=1 is second, etc.).

When a file is opened in binary access mode, you can read and write byte by byte with no regard for the data contents. The data on the file is logically parsed into records each of whose size is based on the ISZ= in an OPEN clause.


This sets binary access mode with the contents of the file being considered a series of 1-byte records:

open (chan,isz=1)"filename"

This sets binary mode with a series of 512-byte records:

open (chan,isz=512)

A READ or READ RECORD will read the ISZ= number of bytes and treat these as a record. Using an IND= moves the current file pointer to a specific record; therefore, when using ISZ=1, the IND= will take you to a specific byte offset within the file.

See Also

Labels/Logical Statement References
'NN' No Line Numbers as References
LOAD Read Program into Memory
SAVE Write Program to File


Both examples below create files whose structures are viewed by PxPlus as serial (or unknown type):

0010 serial "PRNTFL",,133
0010 serial A$+"-"+B$,100,50,err=1090