by September 3, 2009 0 comments

Remember how COBOL programs were written in the past? Well, it was real pain
as the interface was not as user-friendly as the new IDEs that are available for
various languages. However, at a later stage, the re-engineering process began
for COBOL because development on the language had achieved its saturation. The
optimization of the code began to gain traction which made it even more
difficult for developers to work on. Also debugging the application on a
mainframe was costlier and there was need for a solution.

The Microfocus Mainframe Express Enterprise Edition provides mainframe
development environment for developers with the added benefit of reduced costs
and risks. Today, organizations are looking at building and deploying an
application in a short period of time. Also, as rewriting the application for a
new platform is much costlier, this solution helps in reusing the existing
application code, skills and assets in a simple and cost effective way. This
also helps you to deliver the application over multiple channels, for example
online. Take an example of a typical banking environment where the backend is
running on legacy systems. And suppose they want to introduce a new featue that
helps users to know their loan balance. For this, they had to build applications
in an interface that was not graphical, and then for testing they used
mainframes which made the task costlier. Executing the application on a
mainframe is far costlier than executing on workstations as mainframes charge on
MIPS. Using this tool, one can create or optimize applications and run
mainframe-based applications with ease as there is inbuilt emulator for
mainframes. The emulators provided with this application are CICS, IMS, DB2 and
Assembler. Also, after this application has been deployed, exporting a program
to a mainframe is as simple as drag and drop.

Price: Not available
Meant For: COBOL programmers
Key Specs: Debugging options, mainframe emulator
Pros: Graphical user interface, emulator
Cons: None
SMS Buy 130990 to 56677

Re-engineering with MFEEE
One of the major drawbacks with legacy applications is that they are not
documented well. This is a real pain as there would be number of modifications
done to an application to optimize it and make it suitable for business. Now the
challenge here is that if someone has to go to through the code, as would be the
case if they want to redeploy the application as a web service or .NET object,
then the task becomes really difficult.

To overcome this challenge, MFEEE provides a very easy and effective
environment to take up the legacy application and analyze or re-engineer it. It
provides full support for all phases of a typical mainframe application such as
design and generation, through analysis, development, compilation, debugging,
testing and deployment, which makes the tasks easy as developers don’t need to
switch workstations for each phase.

The analysis tool provided by MFEEE has a wide variety of capabilities; for
example, if there is a variable and you want to know its occurrence in the
program, you can do so with a couple of clicks. Also you can search for the
occurrence of a macro in an application. The best feature is the automatic
graphical representation of the application structure which helps developers to
know how an application works. That is, what program is being called and by
whom. In addition, it has the ability to capture lines of code, variable
definitions, entire files, etc for better management of a program. This detail
can also be shared with other members for team-oriented activity. Apart from
these, context-sensitive information about different variables, files and other
key information are shown in an application suggestion window for developers.

MFEEE provides you a very easy
UI which lists all programs, dependencies, etc in the same window.
In the same window, you can edit
the program and run. This makes debugging easier for developers.

Like any other IDE, you will find debugging features as well. For example, it
allows a developer to see step-by-step execution of a program. It also allows
you to examine the data item and change it during the execution of the program.
Apart from these, it provides you the ability to debug native COBOL or S-COBOL
according to your preference. MFEEE also includes component generation
technology with the help of which you can capture complete legacy applications
running on the mainframe and reuse them as a component of Java Beans, EJB, .NET,
XML, web services, etc without writing a single object from scratch. The MFEEE
has integrated support for JCL and REXX which enables the developer to execute
complete batch jobs on the workstation. As it has in-built REXX and CLIST
engines, this enables developers to execute the mainframe REXX and CLIST
commands within the MFEEE IDE.

For testing an application, this
IDE provides a mainfram emulator to run all programs and hence saves on time
and costs.

Bottomline: COBOL programmers have been waiting since long for the
innovative features provided by this IDE. Now that they have one, there should
be little room to complain about.

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