Micro Focus® COBOL Workbench 3.4

Detailed Product Information

Micro Focus COBOL Workbench integrates the industry-standard COBOL compiler with development and testing tools that promote programmer productivity, satisfaction and quality development on 16-bit environments. It features powerful editing, debugging and communications facilities as well as graphical data handling tools that are efficient and easy-to-use. With COBOL Workbench, programmers can develop applications that run on mainframes, PCs, as well as in open systems or client/server environments.

Product Highlights

New Release Highlights

Product Features

What is COBOL Workbench?

COBOL Workbench streamlines workflow during the edit-test-debug development cycle. COBOL Workbench provides application developers working in 16-bit operating environments with the tools necessary to develop and maintain industrial-strength applications for IBM® mainframes, Windows,ª OS/2® and a wide range of UNIX® and other platforms quickly and efficiently. COBOL Workbench bridges the gap between old and new technologies by allowing programmers to leverage their skills in COBOL while applying the latest technologies to create new industrial-strength systems for the rapidly diversifying enterprise computing environment. Applications developed with Micro Focus COBOL Workbench can support every major ANSI or IBM COBOL syntax. Micro Focus COBOL Workbench supports offloading mainframe development, application rightsizing and application development for IBM OS/2, Microsoft® Windows and open systems. Micro Focus COBOL Workbench is written with an extensible architecture that makes it easy to interface with most popular database and file handling systems; popular Micro Focus add-on mainframe support systems like IMS, CICS and MVS Assembler, MVS JCL and most popular source code control systems. With all this power, Micro Focus COBOL Workbench provides the most complete integrated development environment for COBOL application programmers available anywhere.

Graphical or Character Interfaces

Micro Focus COBOL Workbench includes both graphical and character interfaces into most functions. This makes Workbench suitable for development using the latest under the graphical environments of Windows and OS/2 while still allowing developers using DOS to develop COBOL applications. The GUI Workbench supports development and deployment of character interface applications.

Integrated Development Environment


COBOL Workbench provides the essential facilities for development regardless of which environment the programmers prefer. The Workbench provides support for the development and maintenance of applications intended for deployment on an IBM mainframe or PC workstation.


The Graphical Workbench represents an electronic desktop. It uses icons to represent project and tool objects. Dropping a project on top of a tool passes project settings to the tool and invokes the tool. Tools and projects can be moved about, opened and closed. When the Graphical Workbench is shut down, objects stay put on the desktop. When the Graphical Workbench is started again, all the projects and tools are where they were when the Graphical Workbench was shut down.

The Workbench desktop is highly configurable allowing specification for default environments for tools and projects. Any executable can be added as a tool on the Workbench desktop. Desktop settings can be exported and imported allowing sharing of definitions.


COBOL Workbench provides the hub of the Micro Focus Offload Solution. COBOL Workbench Mainframe Development Support is an integrated series of special syntax support, run-time routines and productivity components (including a menu system specific to mainframe development) which support and enable mainframe offloading or rightsizing. Host emulation is provided by supplementing COBOL Workbench with emulator options purchased from Micro Focus.

Compiler Support for Mainframe Development

The Micro Focus COBOL compiler supports mainframe application development in the run-time architecture and mainframe dialect support. It is suited for offloading mainframe development as well as application rightsizing or downsizing.

Dialect Behavior Support
Micro Focus COBOL Workbench provides behavior compatibility as well as syntax compatibility with the various COBOL dialects it supports. The details of behavior are too numerous to list, but here are some examples:

A GUI tool, CompOpt, allows easy selection of directives for checking programs. Select directives for mainframe dialects, output control, and IMS, CICS or SQL in the following mainframe dialects:

Support for the EBCDIC Character Set
No mainframe offloading tool would be complete without EBCDIC support. Mainframe programs typically use the EBCDIC data format while the PC world almost exclusively uses ASCII. Check-time and run-time support is provided in Workbench. The Micro Focus Workbench system allows you to check programs so that USAGE DISPLAY data is read, written and used in EBCDIC.
Workbench v3.4 also supports:


Because of the high level of mainframe compatibility offered by Micro Focus COBOL Workbench, bringing applications from IBM mainframes to execute on the PC is a straightforward process.


In addition to the support provided for the development and maintenance of applications intended for deployment on a mainframe system, the Workbench also provides excellent support for the development and maintenance of workstation applications. Some of the features include:

Major Components


The Graphical Workbench environment is presented as a "desktop" containing icons representing tools and projects. A tool is started by dragging and dropping a project icon on a tool icon. Information about the project, such as default directory and environment variables, is stored with the project and Workbench sets this environment before invoking the tool. In the character Workbench, the development environment is presented through a series of menus where the tools are invoked using function keys.


Compiler Syntax

Syntax Dialects Supported:

Micro Focus Syntax Extensions

Micro Focus COBOL Workbench combines the best syntax features from other dialects with Micro Focus specific extensions. The Micro Focus extensions add features such as:

SQL Support

The COBOL compiler natively supports SQL when used with the following relational databases: Additional databases work with COBOL using precompilers, including:

National Language Support (NLS)

For applications which will be run in countries using different languages, Micro Focus COBOL Workbench provides a "NLS" compiler directive to indicate a program should be language sensitive and uses the appropriate:

Double Byte Character Set (DBCS) Transparency

DBCS transparency means programmers can use Micro Focus COBOL Workbench to produce applications which have native language screens and data. Micro Focus COBOL syntax supports the use of PIC N and PIC G data types. Animator v2 supports the use of special double byte characters in the source and data. Together, the Compiler and Animator v2 provide the necessary tools to develop native language applications even for complex character sets like Chinese, Korean and Japanese.

Object COBOL Syntax

Now with the introduction of Object Oriented COBOL syntax support, you can create fully object oriented COBOL applications. Object Oriented COBOL enables you to take full advantage of all the benefits that object oriented programming offers Ð with the additional benefit of programming in COBOL.


Micro Focus COBOL, the Data File Editor and Data File Conversion tools support the wide variety of file types used in COBOL programming. Files can be either Micro Focus or Btrieve format. The file format is defined at file create time in the Data File Editor or in the Workbench File Loader during the file conversion process. The Micro Focus file formats supported are: File Organizations supported are: Micro Focus data file management includes some other useful features such as: Both the Micro Focus Compiler and the Workbench File Loader allow data compression on output files. There are three types of key compression for Micro Focus ISAM files. For Btrieve ISAM files, programmers can use the index compression provided by Btrieve. Micro Focus data compression (using run-length encoding) is available for all Micro Focus and Btrieve file types.

Micro Focus COBOL Workbench provides:


Streamlined workflow is critical to effective coding and debugging of programs and increased programmer productivity and application quality. Efficient analysis and navigation of source assists in achieving effective program construction. COBOL Workbench includes Animator v2, the world's most sophisticated and easy-to-use COBOL editing and debugging tool. The ability to edit and debug in the same window allows the programmer to fix bugs in source as they are uncovered without having to search around for the edit window.

Animator v2 is a graphical environment. For character mode users, the Advanced Animator, Structure Animator, Editor and Analyzer with COBOL Source Information provide much of the Animator v2 functionality.

Program Construction and Debugging

Animator v2 combines the functions of the Editor, Animator, Analyzer and COBOL Source Information tools into a single tool. Animator v2 is designed to meet the needs of the COBOL programmer, providing editing functions as well as direct access to the COBOL compiler and debugging functions from within the editing session.

Once accustomed to Animator v2, you may never need or want to use the other editing and debugging tools. Animator v2 provides powerful full-screen editing functions. It is also a valuable tool for controlling the program development cycle: coding, compiling and testing. Animator v2 defaults to COBOL margins and tab stops, uses smart indent processing and allows direct access to COBOL copy members by recognizing COBOL COPY statement syntax. It also gives access to COBOL Source Information via pull-down menus, push buttons and context sensitive pop-up menus. Once in a GUI environment, you stay in a GUI environment.

All Animator v2 operations are available from the menu bar. For further ease of use, hot key combinations, an edit command language, edit macros, button bars and context sensitive menus are all available. Programmers can decide for themselves which methods of control work best for their programming style.

Animator provides:

Coverage Analysis

Animator v2 includes Analyzer which monitors the frequency of execution of COBOL statements. With Analyzer, developers can have Statement execution counts displayed next to source statements or display statement execution counts numerically.

Program Analysis and Navigation

Program analysis and navigation are enhanced by a COBOL Source Information (CSI) utility that allows developers to quickly learn information such as:


PC directory information is accessible from most Workbench components. The Directory Facilities to create, copy, rename and delete files. This intelligent directory facility knows what file type to list based on what Workbench component is being loaded. For example, the source Editor would assume a file type of CBL, while the Data File Editor would assume a file type of .DAT. The directory facility remembers, from one component to the next, the current and default directories, program name and other important directory information.


The online help system is only a keystroke away in any component. Help is normally context sensitive and has hypertext links to important related information. When the appropriate help is located, it can be written to a file for inclusion in source or documentation. The online help system gives access to much of the COBOL Workbench product reference information. The system provides navigation through the information so a desired topic can be located.


The Micro Focus Source File Comparator, a utility for comparing two source files and determining the changes between the "old" and "new" source. This is useful in program analysis when trying to determine the extent of changes in "old" and "new" code. The Comparator also assists in source analysis. Micro Focus Workbench provides both character and graphical interfaces for source file comparison.


NOTE: COBOL Workbench includes powerful suites of tools for regression testing character and GUI applications. These tools are both called "Session Recorder", but they are by nature different and do not share the same recording formats. Session Recorderª records a test session, capturing keystrokes and screen snapshots of character mode applications for later editing and playback. Snapshot Analyzer compares two recorder sessions and reports differences in screens and keystrokes. The GUI Session Recorder provides similar functionality along with an analysis tool built for GUI applications.

Graphical Interface

Regression testing for OS/2 Presentation Manager and Windows applications is easy with GUI Session Recorder (for general details on Session Recorder, see the section on Regression Testing in the Product Features section of this document). Special features not found in the character version of Session Recorder include:

GUI Snapshot Analyzer

In addition to regression testing for GUI, regression analysis for GUI has been enhanced in the GUI Snapshot Analyzer. Micro Focus View, the Snapshot Analyzer, uses the output from GUI Session Recorder to analyze difference in screen output from one session recording to the next. This is useful in regression testing where changes to one input or process must be validated throughout the entire system.

Session Recorder - Character Interface Only

Session Recorder captures keystrokes and plays them back to the application. Session Recorder can faithfully test changes and report them back to the programmer for validation, documentation and demonstrations.

Snapshot Analyzer

Micro Focus Snapshot File Analyzer, MFReview, uses the output from Session Recorder snapshots to analyze differences in screen output from one session recording to the next. This is useful in regression testing where changes to one input or process must be validated throughout an entire system.

Run-Time Analysis

Run-Time analysis for COBOL programs is provided by two tools, Memsnap and Probe. Memsnap is memory snapshot utility that provides the programmer with analytical details of memory usage. Probe is an application monitor that provides resource usage and event data for COBOL applications in real time. PROBE includes the memory statistics functionality of Memsnap. Probe exploits graphical displays to present additional information to help programmers analyze application structure and performance.


The Graphical Data Management Tools provide a rich set of functionality for creating and maintaining data files. This is particularly useful when creating test data, but can also be important in a production environment. These tools are available in both GUI and character mode, where the character mode tools provide a subset of the functionality.

Data File Editor

Data File Editor provides a means of tailoring data files as input for program testing. Basic features of Data File Editor include facilities to: The structure selector allows a programmer to view a data file with the COBOL structure and the COBOL names superimposed over the data. DFED integrates with the Micro Focus Checker to provide consistency between the DFED file structures and the "check"ed programs. When rechecking a program changes a data structure, the DFED data structures can be updated automatically. The structure selector allows:

File Conversion

When data or report files need to be transformed from one file organization, type, or character set to another, Micro Focus GUI File Converter Ð which combines the functionality of the Workbench File Loader (WFL) with GUI, can be used to accomplish the conversion. It can be used to convert between: WFL supports the ability to:

Structure Editor

Micro Focus structure editor allows you to create data structure overlays for your data files. Data structure overlays allow you view and edit your data files using COBOL data names and data definitions. The GUI structure editor is directly accessible from the data file editor. Structures may be built using .CPY or .IDY format files. Structures may be specified as conditional. This means that records will only be displayed in the Data File Editor if the record meets the conditions specified in the structure file.

File Transfer

File transfer to and from other computers is an important part of the program development process. Micro Focus File Transfer Aid will support the exchange of COBOL programs and data with a mainframe host or a PC based source code control system (SCCS). The graphical interface to the file transfer facility provides an easy-to-use interface to the file transfer tools.

File Transfer Profiles and Default Options

File transfer profiles can be defined for frequently used file transfers. A user supplied profile description saves characteristics about function, direction and files.

Host Data Transfer

Micro Focus COBOL Workbench includes a data file transfer feature for streamlining workflow The automated data transfer allows MVS users to specify the name of the VSAM data file they want transferred and the name the file will have on the PC, then using a host based CLIST (provided by Micro Focus), automatically access the host VSAM data catalog, pass the information back to the file transfer utility, initiate the transfer, and once the transfer is completed, automatically load the file into Micro Focus file format and rebuild any indexes, including secondary indexes. This streamlines the data file transfer process and reduces errors at the same time.

Streamlined Data File Transfer for MVS

Mainframe data file transfer using Micro Focus Workbench is a simple matter of using Micro Focus File Transfer to specify your mainframe dataset and your PC dataset name, then let the tool take care of reading the mainframe catalog, unload the mainframe dataset, transfer it to the PC and reload it into Micro Focus file format. It will even take care of rebuilding any primary and alternate indices defined for the file.


Micro Focus COBOL Workbench provides the developer with intermediate level Application Programming Interfaces for GUIs, communications and data. When used together, these APIs allow the implementation of systems, including client/server systems that are portable across DOS, Windows, OS/2 and Motif. Build it on one operating system today and deliver it on multiple operating systems tomorrow.

Panels v2 for Portable User Interfaces

Micro Focus Panels v2 enables applications to have a graphical user interface without the need to know how to program the operating system APIs. The application calls Panels v2 with the generic instructions about the action needed. Panels v2 then translates them into the correct form or the closest approximation for the environment. Because these APIs are portable, GUI applications written for one operating system can be executed in another.
Environments currently supported include:

Common Communications Interface

The Common Communications Interface (CCI) allows programs to access networks and other communications media in a consistent fashion regardless of the communications protocol. CCI provides a set of functions that allow an application to connect to other workstations, send and receive data, and suspend, resume and terminate workstation connections. Since CCI uses a consistent approach to communications, programs written and tested for one system or environment are portable to another without coding changes.

CCI currently supports the following communications protocols:

Fileshare for Data Management

Fileshare v2 is a high-performance application file server for multi-user network applications. It provides file update logging, roll-forward recovery and transaction processing. Most features of Fileshare v2 can be used through standard COBOL I/O syntax, so there is no difference between a program written to run on a network and one designed to work on a standalone system. Micro Focus extensions to the COBOL language facilitate transaction processing, including the ability to commit or rollback changes to groups of files. Existing applications using traditional COBOL data files can be brought onto the network environment when using Fileshare.


Fileshare v2 provides:


Run-Time Support Routines

The Micro Focus Run-Time Environment (RTE) provides all the run-time support routines needed by Micro Focus COBOL Workbench programs, in a single, free-standing, memory resident, run-time system. This RTE contains facilities for program loading and memory management. It can load and execute COBOL programs without requiring a Operating System Extensions (OSX) based applications. Many of the facilities included in OSX make use of dictionaries, libraries, scripts, executable programs and other files that are created using the COBOL Workbench facilities. The use of these facilities in creating OSX applications is further explained in the Micro Focus OSX product announcement.

Portable Code Generation

One of the limitations of PC object format code (.OBJ) is that it cannot be ported to operating systems other than DOS or OS/2. The Micro Focus COBOL compiler/checker can produce .OBJ format code, but it can also produce Micro Focus intermediate (.INT) and Micro Focus native code (.GNT) executables. Intermediate code contains instructions and tables designed to be processed, in an interpretative fashion, by the Micro Focus Run-Time System. (RTS) Native code is in the instruction set of the workstation processor and uses the RTS only for support routines. Both formats provide a high degree of portability across operating systems and do not require a link step prior to execution. Micro Focus OSX provides the facilities for running these executable formats

Support for Complex OS Call Interfaces (APIs)

Many operating systems and associated sub-systems (e.g., Presentation Manager and Microsoft Windows) have designed their CALL interfaces on the assumption that the code will be written in C or other low-level programming language. Micro Focus has added sufficient extensions to the COBOL language to facilitate use of the operating system APIs.

Integrated Pre-Compiler Support

Micro Focus compiler has an interface which allows pre-compilers to be invoked by the compiler so that the user:

System Library Routines

Micro Focus COBOL Workbench comes with many routines to facilitate functions in various areas. The routines cover the following:

ADIS and Keyboard Configuration

The behavior of Micro Focus extended ACCEPT/DISPLAY statements can be configured using the ADIS configuration module. Features such as which keys should be enabled and whether the cursor should skip to the next field when the previous field has been filled can be configured.


Forms is supplied for compatibility with earlier releases. The Screens Facility is recommended in place of Forms.

Mixed Language Programming

If you are developing mixed language applications, you can now directly interface your COBOL programs to Visual C++ and PowerBuilder.® A new version of H2CPY provides enhanced support for converting C header files to COBOL copy files. H2CPY now includes support for converting macros, function prototypes, external data definitions and C typedef to COBOL typedef structures. Your COBOL programs can even directly include C header files. This simplifies the task of using C only examples provided for most operating system APIs.

Mixed Language Debugging Utility

Xilerator is a debugging facility useful for testing mixed language applications and Presentation Manager and Windows programs. Programmers can trace the execution of an application, seeing both COBOL source and machine code. Xilerator will also handle machine code created by any assembler or compiler, complete with symbols.

Xilerator allows programmers to control the execution speed and sequence, interrogate and change COBOL data items and machine memory, set temporary breakpoints and execute a program by single COBOL statements or single machine instructions.


Simplified Link Interface

Compiling and linking PC applications couldnÕt be easier! The new COB utility provides a simplified interface to the system linker, enabling .EXE and .DLL modules to be created from multiple modules using a single command-line. COB automatically links in the required operating system and run-time support modules, insulating you from the complexities of the link process.

Build Utility

The Build Utility provides a convenient means of packaging an application. It combines user written programs with COBOL Workbench Run-Time Environment (RTE) to create a standalone, executable application, one that can be run independently of the Micro Focus COBOL Workbench environment.

The Build Utility can produce dual-mode executable files, which can run under DOS, DOS with XM (Micro Focus Extended Memory Manager) or OS/2. Alternatively, it can produce files that will only run under DOS (with or without XM). The Build Utility can also be used to create Windows executable files and, under OS/2, executable files for Presentation Manager.

Library Utility

The Library Utility provides the means to group individual files into a single file, making them easier to administer. It is used mainly with the Build Utility to package applications for distribution. Files may be of any type, not just executable modules, however, files in a Micro Focus Library (LBR) file are read-only.

XM and XM Build

The Extended Memory Manager (XM) is a component of Micro Focus Operating System Extensions (OSX). XM makes it possible for DOS users to take advantage of the protected mode and extended memory addressing capabilities available with Intel 80286 processors and above. This makes it possible to run very large programs which exceed the capacity of the base 640K to which DOS applications are normally restricted.

Once an application that requires XM is ready for distribution, it is necessary to distribute XM to the end-users along with the application. XM Build allows the developer to incorporate XM into a COBOL executable so that its presence is hidden from the end-user. For use with XM Build, an executable module may be either a linked COBOL program or a module built with COBOL WorkbenchÕs Build Utility.

New Release Features


This release of Workbench sees further enhancements in Animator v2 including:


Organizer provides the Workbench desktop development environment. This release sees a number of enhancements including:



The new Source Control System supplied with COBOL Workbench v3.4 provides a complete source management solution which integrated with the Workbench system:


Object COBOL is natively supported by the COBOL compiler. A rich Class Library for GUI and non-GUI classes is included along with a Class Browser. In the Workbench v3.4 product, OO is supported for investigation, planning and educational purposes. For production support, the 32-bit COBOL Workbench v4.0 product is required.

Early Release Features

Micro Focus wishes to give its customers a chance to see what new components or features are being developed in the product. To that end, several components are available under "Early Release"


The GUI Structure Diagrammer provides a graphical view of a COBOL programs structure and data flow. In the structure view, you can see where paragraphs are performed, collapse and expand the views and zoom-in and zoom-out on those views. In the data flow view, you can see what logic paths are followed based on data values. The GUI Diagrammer integrates directly to Animator v2 so you can navigate around the structure diagrams to position yourself in the COBOL source.


Programmers can specify which programs to compile. They can also specify DBDs, PSBs, or MFS files to generate. The interface allows the programmer to specify directives for each program individually, then compile all selected programs at once. General features include:

Technical Information


Micro Focus offers training classes for a number of products and purposes. Contact your Micro Focus Sales Representative for more details.


Micro Focus is committed to providing quality support for its products and has a multi-level support plan to meet the growing needs of our customers.


Source code developed with previous versions of Micro Focus COBOL is compatible with this release. Object files created with earlier releases of Micro Focus COBOL should not be mixed with object files created using Micro Focus COBOL Workbench v3.4. Applications with changed modules should be recompiled and relinked with Micro Focus COBOL Workbench v3.4. Animator information files (.IDY files) need to be recreated for programs to be animated with Micro Focus COBOL Workbench v3.4.


General Release components are those components which Micro Focus believes are fully tested and suitable for release to customers for use in pursuit of developing enterprise applications.


Early Release components are supported through Product Support representatives. However, since these components are Early Release, representatives will not necessarily have the same level of information as Full Release items, they may pass problems on to the Product Usability Group who will provide second level support. The Product Usability Group will evaluate and prioritize all user needs and coordinate any changes to component interfaces.

Workbench components in Early Release are:


To order Micro Focus COBOL Workbench v3.4, phone or fax Micro Focus at one of the numbers listed at the end of this product announcement. Our sales representatives will be pleased to provide you with details of volume purchase agreements and other programs.


Workbench supports both Graphical User Interface and character interface mode. Character mode will run in PC-DOS, Windows and OS/2. GUI components are restricted to OS/2 PM and Windows v3.1. Micro Focus COBOL Workbench v3.4 is available on 3-1/2" high density disks.

Note: The table assumes just the base Workbench. Use of Micro Focus CICS Option, Micro Focus IMS Option, Micro Focus 370 Assembler with Animator/370 TM, or other products may increase the minimum requirements for memory and hard disk space. For minimum requirements, please refer to your operating system for details (except for DOS).

FKP Workbench on DOS or OS/2 (minimum requirements):

GUI Workbench on OS/2 or Windows v3.1 (minimum requirements):

NOTE: For Windows 95, Windows NT and OS/2, the 32-bit COBOL Workbench v4.0 is recommended.

© Micro Focus 1996. Micro Focus Animator and COBOL Workbench are registered trademarks of Micro Focus Ltd. CICS Option, IMS Option, PROXMVS, DB2 Option and Transaction System are trademarks of Micro Focus. Other trademarks are property of their respective companies.