Interactive COBOLEnvyr Corporation

Capability FAQ

Are all COBOLs the same? If not, how is ICOBOL different from others?
In one respect, all COBOLs are the same because there are ANSI standards that direct how certain COBOL functions are to be implemented. For example, ANSI 74 and ANSI 85 are two approved standards that define different COBOL functions. Both the ICOBOL and VX COBOL dialects are fully ANSI 74-compatible, and conform to some of the ANSI 85 standards. If you need to find out whether Envyr Corpration's products conform to a specific portion of the ANSI 85 standard, you can download the Language Reference manual from the documentation page and search the text in the manual for words that describe the portion of the standard of specific interest to you.

In other respects, COBOLs can be very different. Three significant ways that they differ is with respect to:

  • Portability
    In many cases the customer's operating environment and workload are the best determinants of the operating system environment where the COBOL application should run. Portable application code means that the same application will run unchanged on any of the other supported platforms. This is particularly appealing to customers who anticipate scaling up or down a solution over time, as well as to VARs who need to provide solutions of different scale to different customers. Applications developed with ICOBOL do not require recompilation to be moved to another platform.
  • Performance
    The degree to which the COBOL is optimized to an operating system can vary substantially from one product to the next. Portability does not have to be achieved at the expense of performance. ICOBOL provides a multi-pass optimizing compiler and it is well-known in the COBOL industry for the impressive speed of file access (Indexed Sequential Access Method--ISAM) it provides.
  • Dialect Support / Interoperability
    Although the COBOL products from different venders have much in common because of the ANSI Standards for COBOL, they do differ from each other because of vendor-specific enhancements. We use the term dialect to describe these different versions of COBOL.  Many vendors provide compile time and run time configuration options to mimic the products from other vendors. This can lead to a maze of options, some with unexpected interactions. Within ICOBOL, we have tried to keep it very simple by encapsulating these differences with a dialect selector. Thus, we incorporated VX COBOL, which used to be a separate compiler and runtime, into ICOBOL by means of a dialect selector.

Why is COBOL application portability important?
The reason it is important will vary depending on your needs:

  • It frees your business from operating system platform dependencies
    Most IT managers appreciate the fact that their COBOL applications can be moved to newer, popular operating system platforms if they want to standardize most of their operations on a particular platform to control internal IT support costs.
  • It provides solution scalability
    For a business that will need to scale a solution up or down according to the number and frequency of use, this can be very important. For VARs whose customers need solutions of differing scale, portability is a critical determinant in selecting the best COBOL application development environment. When choosing a portable COBOL, it's important to remember that some vendors provide portability but don't optimize the code to the different operating systems, resulting in less-than-anticipated performance
  • It lets you minimize your application development costs.
    Application developers can do their work on their current or least costly platform, even though the application is destined to run on much larger scale machines with different operating systems.

What kind of performance can I expect when using ICOBOL?
Most COBOL programs are I/O-constrained, rather than computationally-constrained. For that reason, Envyr Corpration has placed a great deal of emphasis on the I/O performance aspects of ICOBOL. The impressive screen-handling and file-access performance provided in these products is one of the primary ways that Envyr Corpration differentiates itself from other COBOL providers.

Will my COBOL code work with your ICOBOL compiler?
The answer to that is largely dependent on your COBOL code, but these guidelines should help:

  • If your COBOL application is AOS/VS COBOL, you should be able to recompile your application using the VX COBOL dialect selector in order to move your application to one of the supported operating system platforms.
  • If your COBOL application was created using Data General  ICOBOL or any subsequent release of ICOBOL available from Envyr Corporation, it can be recompiled using the current revision of ICOBOL using the default ICOBOL dialect selector. An added benefit is that no data files have to be converted during the process!
  • If your COBOL application was created using some other COBOL, Envyr Corporation offers you a risk-free opportunity to test the compilation results using ICOBOL via our 30-day money-back guarantee trial program. Contact Envyr Corpration's Sales Department for more information.

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