Thank you Stuart and Stan for replying to my post. I ran a little test using serialization and I was able to read and write records, or I guess I should say objects, to a file. However, apparently, serialization is only for Java programs reading Java produced files because Java inserted some addition characters into the file. The source of the master file is on the mainframe host, so it won't be in the serialization format that Java expects.
Neither of you guys said anything about data structures and neither did Kathy and Herb in their books. I assume that means that Java just doesn't support structures. It that right? That means I'll have to take a different approach. Let me know what you think about this?
1) On the mainframe, split the file into two files. One with all convertable fields in display format and the second one with the remaining binary fields.
2) Download the first file in character format, so that the EBDIC to ASCII conversion takes place, and download the second file in binary format, so that no EBDIC to ASCII conversion is performed.
3) Then in a Unix Java program, read a record from the first file via the readLine method, and read the appropiate number of matching fields from the second file via the readInt and readDouble methods.
4) Save these fields in a Java class, and write the file out to dasd with the serialization methods mentioned earlier, so that the file can be proccessed later with other Java programs.