CobMaker - Solutions for the Developer

Our core product CobMaker makes it easy to develop business applications based on the COBOL language. Select a category to learn more about some CobMaker solutions for the Developer:

Project-Oriented Environment
The very basic core in CobMaker is the application project, which is associated to a certain directory structure where sources, copy texts, objects, data files and executable files are stored. Users having access to the same project are grouped together and will be recorded as a project team. CobMaker supports shared team development by means of a special locking method. Developers can have exclusive access to selected sources and objects during a user-defined time period.

Object-Oriented Development
CobMaker allows the developer to separate the coding of COBOL sources and the designing of objects. Objects are e.g. screens, reports and file-related "windows". Ready-designed objects are generated to subprograms, which then are compiled keeping only the executable code files. At runtime, the user-written programs control these objects by means of logical functions. In this way dialogue and report programming is simplified and standardized; application programs are not affected by low-level processing of screens and reports.

Screen Designer
CobMaker screen layouts containing guide texts and input/output items are simply "painted" by means of the Screen Designer. The basic layout for the native language also defines other properties like processing order, validity checks, screen levels, help texts, item labeling and breakpoints for user-specific procedures. For multi-language screens, the developer simply has to "redesign" copies of the basic layout, by translating the form guide texts. Executable screen objects can be produced for both the GUI and the character-based interface, using the same layout properties. 

Report Designer
CobMaker report layouts containing line types like page heading/
footing, group control and details are simply "painted" by means of the Report Designer. The basic layout for the native language also defines other properties like selection, sorting, page breaks, line spacing, editing formats, subtotals/totals, standard report items and embedded COBOL statements. For multi-language reports, the developer simply has to "redesign" copies of the basic layout, by translating and overtyping all text fields. 

Event-Driven Programming
Application COBOL programs interacting with screens, designed by CobMaker, are all based on event-driven programming. The developer captures all events interrupting the screen processing and writes the code that responds to these events. Low-level screen events are converted to logical reply codes allowing the equal handling of GUI and character-based screens.

Extended File Processing
CobMaker contains a number of powerful methods for extended file processing, besides to normal COBOL file statements. The built-in file editor allows the user to create, inspect and modify data files without COBOL programming. The Query module offers a database retrieval function, based on simple SQL syntax, in order to search, view and print records in application data files. The Window module allows the user to design callable file-related "paged windows", presenting data records in different views. The user can even generate callable file subprograms, containing all COBOL file operations for each data file, allowing the removal of file operations from the business logic.

Data Dictionaries
CobMaker offers a data dictionary feature. Item descriptions can be stored in one ore more Data Item Catalogues (DIC). Different subsystems make references to items in DIC files, e.g. screens, reports and COBOL record descriptions. By means of an extended COPY statement, the related COBOL syntax is generated by the built-in pre-compiler. The advantage with DIC is that unique data items are only described once; record structures are not affected by multiple PICTURE descriptions for one and the same item.
CobMaker also contains a file dictionary for global storage of file and record descriptions. File-related objects, like windows, file editor, reports and queries, make references to this dictionary. References can also be made from within COBOL sources, using the extended COPY syntax for file descriptions.

Program Development
CobMaker contains functions for rapid, easy, secure and efficient COBOL development: editing, compiling, error-fixing, debugging and executing. From within the built-in editor the developer can control all functions by standard or user-specific keystrokes. The interface to the compiler and runtime can be configured on both project and editor level. The built-in queue handler allows the compilation of program groups or the entire application with one keystroke. All compilation results are spooled for later analysis.

Messages and Help Texts
CobMaker contains functions to maintain all kind of messages, error texts, questions and help texts. These texts are displayed by means of the FH runtime utility. All messages are language-dependent and may be translated from English into a number of foreign languages. Help texts can be related to input fields in screens and are presented by means of the Help function key.

Memo Texts
CobMaker offers functions to store and retrieve variable-sized small texts associated to memo numbers. These memo texts are maintained and displayed by a callable memo runtime utility with an integrated powerful text editor.

Application Menus
CobMaker contains an easy-to-use editor for the preparation of application menus. The menu structure is prepared as bilateral relations between menu pages and menu positions. On lowest level COBOL programs are defined with properties like program name, shortcut symbol, launching method, secrecy and logging.

Cross-Reference Library
CobMaker contains a cross-reference library function, in order to create, search, view and print source-object relationships within an application. The library is created by scanning through all or selected COBOL sources and object system files. The generated library contains relationships between program sources, called subprograms, COPY text files, objects (like screens and reports), data items, literals and environment variables.

Source-Writer and Pre-Compiler
CobMaker has a built-in source-writer creating temporary COBOL sources for external objects like screens, reports, SQL queries and "paged windows". It uses a common skeleton for each object type and generates small subprograms, which are then compiled keeping only the executable code. The source-writer can also be called with any user-defined skeleton, allowing the generation of different program types (function foreseen in future version).
CobMaker also has a built-in pre-compiler, which is automatically launched when converting DIC references or MACCO statements to normal COBOL syntax.

Multi-Language Processing
CobMaker supports Multi-Language Processing (MLP), meaning that certain objects (like screens, reports and messages) can be designed in different languages. This allows COBOL sources to be completely language-independent during the development cycle. In which language objects are later processed, is determined by the language code an end-user receives when logging into APEX. This offers a mixed language processing of the application.

Macro Language MACCO
MACCO is a macro language for COBOL. It can be used in many different situations, e.g. shorthand coding, standard routines, and for user-specific languages. Typically MACCO programs are much smaller than the equivalent COBOL programs and therefore easier to maintain, resulting in a more time-saving development cycle.

Extended Runtime Functions
CobMaker adds a number of callable runtime functions enhancing file, screen, report and other processing from within application programs. These functions also cover interfaces to useful APEX routines when running applications in a production environment.




Product Details



CobMaker: Application Project


CobMaker: Object View


CobMaker: Screen Designer



CobMaker: Report Designer



CobMaker: File Editor



CobMaker: Paged Windows



CobMaker: File Dictionary


CobMaker: Item Dictionary



CobMaker: Program Compile


CobMaker: Message Texts


CobMaker: Application Menus


CobMaker: Cross-Ref. Library


CobMaker: Source-Writer


CobMaker: Macro Language