Fileman and Lab Agile Project (FLAP)

Mission Statement:

To deliver fresh, new versions of the VISTA File Manager and Lab packages to VA, IHS, and other VISTA adopters, and to renew and revitalize the VISTA software lifecycle with agile projects within OSEHRA.



Git Repository


Project Background:

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has contributed the Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA) codebase to OSEHRA (Open Source Electronic Health Record Agent), the custodial agent that serves as the central governing body of a new open source community. VA’s adoption of open source practices enables, among other benefits, not only the sharing of VA-developed software with the community, but the sharing of community-developed software with VA. VA is implementing the internal processes required to ingest, integrate, test, and deploy software drawn from OSEHRA; doing so makes it possible for VA and the community to converge on common VistA code wherever possible and beneficial. This project served by this contract takes a significant step in converging core VistA software and enabling VA to benefit from the most current VistA enhancements.

Scope of Work:

The Contractor shall enhance the data structure management capabilities of VistA Fileman, refactor VistA Lab, and support VA in the process of deploying the improved Fileman and Lab software. The Contractor shall bring the features of the “MSC Fileman” software into the version of Fileman residing with OSEHRA and shall refactor the Lab package to move appropriate functions to the Fileman package. Working with OSEHRA and the open source community, the Contractor shall ensure that all software is incorporated into OSEHRA’s open source VistA codebase. The Contractor shall assist OSEHRA in certifying the software and shall assist VA in the process of obtaining, integrating, testing, and deploying the new Fileman and Lab packages.

Group Email:

Back in the Saddle

After a year of working to provide market research for VA's emerging Fileman Evolution projects - especially after OSEHRA's December sprint to upgrade MSC Fileman 22.2 in support of VA's test-plan contract with Leidos, and the January VISTA Community Meeting in Sacramento - my health finally collapsed for six weeks of February and March. I returned to the office just in time to watch VA's next Fileman 22.2E testing contract sail over the plate before I could respond to it, much to my dismay and disappointment.

MSC Fileman 22.2 Patches

One of the characteristics of the final stage of packaging a new version for a VISTA application is that we must paradoxically freeze development without freezing development.

We must freeze development because the distribution sent to the world has to be a specific, tested version of the software. Getting to that point requires constraining development toward satisfying the results of testing, not introducing new disruption late in the packaging process, when there won't be sufficient time to test it. In this pro-testing era, most people get this issue pretty well.

FLAP Phase Two Prep Status Update: Name Change and KIDS Bug

With prep for and recovery from the VISTA Community Meeting in Sacramento, it's a good time to jump back into our series of blog posts about FLAP Phase Two Prep, which has continued through this period.

On 5 January we delivered a preview RSA file of MSC Fileman 22.2V3 to VA so their MSC Fileman 22.2 intake contract with Leidos could shift to the refreshed codebase. Since then I've been working on verification, cleanup, and packaging to prepare to distribute MSC Fileman 22.2 to the rest of the community.

About the FLAP Phase Two Prep Sprint

Yesterday, we completed the monthlong, intensive sprint to update our first release of Fileman 22.2 from March 2013 to produce MSC Fileman 22.2. We in this case consisted of Don Creaven, Zach Gonzales, George Timson, Sidney Tarason, David Whitten, OSEHRA Product Manager Mike Henderson, and me, with FLAP documenter Kathy Ice working in parallel on the manuals (see below) and FLAP system manager David Wicksell working hard to keep our servers accessible during this period of trials and tribulations. The focus of this update was on:

FLAP and Fileman's Architectural Role

To say that File Manager is VISTA's database management system is a gross understatement, so gross that it is more misleading than helpful.

Traditional database systems run side by side with the applications, offering data-related services (like creating, reading, updating, and deleting records - the services with the unattractive acronym CRUD - along with many, many other such services). In other words, most DBMSes have a peer-to-peer relationship with the applications that use them to manage their data.

FLAP and Fileman Code Convergence

One of the two top strategic goals for FLAP Phase One (which ran from October 2012 through March 2013) was code convergence, to create a shared, common Fileman codebase that all VISTA dialects could run, to maximize our ability to exchange data and software with one another, to ensure that innovations anywhere became innovations everywhere as quickly as possible, and to reduce the amount of reinventing the wheel we had to do.

The main VISTA dialects we aimed at converging for Phase One were:



3) WorldVistA EHR

4) vxVistA, and

Fileman 22.2 Presentation at the VCM

At the VISTA Community Meeting in Sacramento in a week and a half, I will be presenting an update about Fileman 22.2, including a preview of our plans for version 22.3 and what will probably be a lively discussion with the audience about what they would like to see in the next few versions of File Manager. We invite you to join us there.

Pictures from the OSEHRA Summit

In the spirit of "openness", I took a collection of pictures throughout the OSEHRA event, all of which are available for download at no cost.  (BTW, I have a lot of pictures of participants in addition to the speakers).

You will find them on my website at    Look at the "Featured" albums.

To download, select the images you like from the OSEHRA event and choose "Buy".  You will not be charged.

Comments welcomed and appreciated.

Fix for DDR2 for Fileman 22.3...

Jim Bell found a bug in the Fileman Delphi Components server side routines, where subfile entries were not correctly retrieved under certain conditions. George Timson gave me these examples: Try this in FOIA Vista: K A,SAM S A("FILE")=19,A("IENS")="9",A(" FIELDS")="10*",A("FLAGS")="E" D GETSC^DDR2(.SAM,.A) ZW SAM SAM(1)="[Data]" That's bad. Where's the 'data'?? Here how it should work: K A,SAM S A("FILE")=19,A("IENS")="9",A("FIELDS")="10*",A("FLAGS")="E" D GETSC^DDR2(.SAM,.A) ZW SAM SAM(1)="[Data]" SAM(2)="19.01^1,9^.01^^XUPROG" SAM(3)="19.01^1,9^2^^" SAM(4)="19.01^1,9^3^^25"

Fileman Code Convergence: Testing, Production, and Support

For those new to this project, File Manager version 22.2 is the flagship project for VISTA reunification, a code-convergence movement that aims to get the core of VISTA aligned across all VISTA implementations. Code convergence is on the very short list of the top strategic priorities for the VISTA community - right up there with Meaningful Use, ICD-10, and just a couple other things - because it offers the community a way to leap ahead in productivity, by reducing the amount of reinventing the wheel that goes on across all the VISTA dialects.

Re: [flap] DI*22.2*1 SEQ #1 and DI*22.2*10,001 SEQ #10,001

Will the File Man Delphi Components still work with this version of Fileman? I assume the do or the testers would have noticed something. -- Nancy Anthracite On Sunday, June 23, 2013, toad wrote: > We've been working with OSEHRA to set up the Forum patching infrastructure > we're going to use to release our patches through OSEHRA. That is likely to > take some more weeks, maybe even a month or two, to get fully ready. In the > meantime, we're going to release the first patches to Fileman 22.2 > independently, so we can work in parallel with the OSEHRA Forum-building

DI*22.2*1 SEQ #1 and DI*22.2*10,001 SEQ #10,001

We've been working with OSEHRA to set up the Forum patching infrastructure we're going to use to release our patches through OSEHRA. That is likely to take some more weeks, maybe even a month or two, to get fully ready. In the meantime, we're going to release the first patches to Fileman 22.2 independently, so we can work in parallel with the OSEHRA Forum-building work.

DI*22.2*1 SEQ #1 Unit Test Framework

Monday I start work on the first patch we will release for File Manager version 22.2: DI*22.2*1 SEQ #1, Unit Test Framework. This patch will absorb the XTMUNIT and XTMUNIT1 routines within File Manager as new routines DMUNIT and DMUNIT1, and it will modify the existing Fileman unit-test-library routines DMUDIC00, DMUDIQ00, DMUDT000, and DMUDTC00 to call DMUNIT instead of XTMUNIT.

No questions have been added to this group.

VISTA Architecture and FLAP

Here are the documents I used in the presentation I just gave to the OSEHRA Architecture Working Group about the FLAP project. I hope the participants enjoyed the presentation as much as I enjoyed giving it.

The emerging HTML versions of the Fileman 22.2 manuals - including the Release Notes, which I showed today - can be found here:

If you have any questions about this material, please do not hesitate to ask.

Fileman 22.2 Advanced User Manual

Here is the Fileman 22.2 Advanced User Manual. For this manual, the Programmers Manaul, and the Technical Manual, we were unable to do a complete re-write as we did with the Getting Started Manual. The Advanced User Manual has a few new sections, and the remaining information has been updated with Fileman's 22.2 features.


We are proud to announce that following Beta Testing we are releasing the final version of Fileman 22.2.

This version will be showing up on the git repository ( as the file VA-FILEMAN-22P2.RSA.

Attached to this message is a zipped up version of that file.

Thank you to all the folks who have participated in this project.

Sam Habiel
Fileman worker bee
VISTA Expertise Network

Fileman 22.2 Security Manual FINAL (probably)

Here is the final version of the Fileman 22.2 Security and Privacy Manual. I think. We've gone over it, and I think I've incorporated all the feedback I received, so I'm tentatively calling this one final. 

Of course, our deadline isn't until Friday, so if changes are still needed, there's still time to make them.

Fileman 22.3 pre-Alpha Software...

With Fileman 22.2 phase of FLAP coming to a close, we are releasing the source code of the future Fileman 22.3 as an RSA file (attached).

The changes from the to be released version of 22.2 are as follows:

* Extensible Data Types code

* Enhancements to the Fileman Delphi Components routines done by EHS in Jordan

* Bug fixes (all bugs found in Fileman 22.0)

- Modify File Attributes crash when performing a certain sequence of actions.

- Transfer/Merge bug affecting extract fields used as identifiers or keys.

No wikis have been added to this group.