Reboot, relaunch and a new COBOL product

Yes, I have been gone for a while, haven’t I? I’ve been distracted for a while in the usual struggle to make my daily bread … I’ve made a decision to make myself present here again, but be a little more sensible about the scope of my postings. In the past the size of the postings meant that I was finding little time to do the other things that I needed to do. I will still try to provide real meat here but scale down the size to something of a size that means I can post regularly here.

Those of you who know me will be aware that in the past I’ve largely worked on bespoke tools and consultancy for the re-hosting of large mainframe applications onto other platforms. Over a period of time it became apparent that one of these tools, my COBOL Dictionary, was a tool that could be useful to any user of Micro Focus COBOL, and if re-packaged with the general COBOL developer in mind, might have a market. Well, finally I have got my act together and have released to the web, Filix COBOL Dictionary

Soooo, exactly what is the COBOL Dictionary? Broadly it is an impact analysis tool and cross-reference and index for your COBOL code built on top of Micro Focus compiler technology. It works with all modern versions of the Micro Focus compiler (both Visual COBOL and Enterprise Developer right down to the free Personal Editions) and builds a database of the COBOL programs and structures.

The typical COBOL programmer hammers their central repository of source code multiple times a day searching for strings in order to analyse the impact of changing an entity. Need to find all the places a particular copybook has been used? What will be changes needed if you change the calling signature of a program? You need to chase the calling structure of a complex application? Which programs modify a particular database field, or alternatively just read the field? All of these questions can be answered using the COBOL Dictionary in a simple, fast and intuitive environment that takes you directly to the line of code that you are interested in. The code is presented in a browser that understands COBOL and the user is able to have multiple windows concurrently open, side by side to track through complex applications.


The Field Usage tool from the COBOL Dictionary (click to enlarge)


The Program Usage tool. Note the calling tree structure … (Click to enlarge)


Copybook usage (click to enlarge)

Why not download it and give it a whirl? The evaluation version allows you to index up to 50 programs, 80 copybooks and up to 2,000 fields. If you would like to license the COBOL Dictionary, you may at an introductory price of $US250 per user on the same page.

If you haven’t a current licensed version of the Micro Focus compiler, you may want to register with Micro Focus to use their free, Personal Edition version of Visual COBOL here!

Let me know what you think!


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Neil Thomas on October 29, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    I’ve been using it for a while now and its great! Sure beats running scans on the mainframe. I found its also handy for cutting and pasting code. Say you want to know how to call a certain module, once you have found something that’s called it you can copy that code into your mainframe or Visual Cobol program.


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