Friday, April 26, 2013

Announcement : IBM Enterprise COBOL for z/OS V5.1

As I'm coming from the application side (not the dark side) I've never been an assembler techie. As a matter of fact I hardly ever got into contact with Assembler. Cobol has always been my language. I learnt it in 1988 on an IBM course. I clearly remember migrating to VS Cobol II in the mid nineties. I kind of grew out of it when I became a DBA but I still recall a project about 10 years ago where lots of data had to be consolidated and they were imported via flat files. Cool:Gen turned out not to handle that very well, so I just wrote some Cobol programs for it. So, if any one says anything nasty about "that old rubbish", they'd better not say it to me. And recently I solemnly handed over my Syntax Reference to my son. It's clear that still a lot of companies are not into Rational Developer for System z and still writing native Cobol. And it's apparantly also a misconception that young people need a flashy interface to get them interested.

But enough reminiscing, let's talk about the announcement of COBOL for z/OS V5.1 : 'IBM Enterprise COBOL for z/OS , V5.1 allows you to generate your applications for higher levels of the z/Architecture and higher levels of performance optimization (ZP13-0179)'.

At a glance
"Enterprise COBOL for z/OS , V5.1 exploits the capabilities of the z/Architecture while adding a number of new features and enhancements:
  • A new compiler option (ARCH) to exploit and tune your code to run on your choice of the z/Architecture levels of the z/OS platform.
  • The enhanced compiler option (OPTIMIZE) to select from multiple levels of increasing optimization for your code.
  • Improved capability to process large data items to the full AMODE(31) capability.
  • Improved capability for modernizing business-critical applications through XML enhancements that gives you control over the form of XML documents.
  • Support for the latest middleware including CICS, DB2, and IMS.
  • Improved capability for programming with UTF-8 Unicode.
  • New pseudo-assembly listings (output from LIST compiler option).
  • Interoperability with Java7 to help you incorporate web-based applications as part of your business processes.
  • New DWARF/Common Debug Architecture interface to provide a consistent format for information that can be used by debuggers and program analysis tools."
If I just pick out a couple of things : "the new compiler option (ARCH) is made available to you for selecting optimization and processor architecture levels". ARCH(6) e.g. limits you to instructions available on the z990 and z890. At the other side of the scale ARCH(10) produces code that uses instructions available on the zEC12 in z/Architecture mode. This adds e.g. the Transactional-execution facility.

Another interesting thing : you'll no longer have to use the 'NO89 DD' statement in the SCRT JCL to indicate where your Cobol compiler runs. Cobol V5.1 can now automatically be tracked by SMF89 records and will be supported by SCRT V21.2.0.

Some more facts. GA will be June 21, 2013.
And there's one software requirement I'd also like to mention. You'll need z/OS V1.13 or later.

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