CSP/VaGen to COBOL Conversion


The conversion of old, obsolete and/or unsupported programming languages to IBM's strategic COBOL for OS/390 is an important step to enabling an organization to take advantage of the latest in technological advances. Continued compatibility with current versions of strategic OS/390 and z/OS software and the benefits of the increased functionality of the new compiler provide the incentive to effect this conversion as quickly and accurately as possible.

PRINCE Software offers extensive experience and a proven track record in the planning and execution of operating system, program language and data conversions. Our staff is comprised of information technology professionals, specifically trained and experienced in the disciplines required for the successful migration process. Because of our extensive experience, we are able to provide significant flexibility in adapting basic migration techniques to support each client's unique application environment.

A primary factor in our success in the conversion arena is our ability to develop and implement automated tools to assist in the conversion effort. From a fully automated COBOL conversion product to a programmer interactive workbench used for Y2K remediation, PRINCE has relied heavily on automation to assure an accurate, consistent and cost-effective conversion.

Project Description
The primary objective of the migration is to convert the source language of the selected programs to COBOL, while maintaining the same application functionality. In this case, the source language may be any language that produces External Source Format (ESF) files, e.g., CSP, VaGen, etc.
To achieve the goals of increased standardization and continuing compatibility with the latest versions of strategic software, PRINCE Software will develop an approach that will:
  • Minimize the impact on ongoing activities
  • Offer the least risk
  • Assure the greatest opportunity for success
To this end, PRINCE Software is in the unique position to provide the necessary elements to assure the successful completion of the application upgrade:
  • Experience in upgrading applications to the COBOL for OS/390 compiler and LE runtime environment
  • A proven track record in the planning and execution of large scale migration projects
  • Ability to provide customized, automated solutions to assure a high level of productivity, accuracy and consistency

In selecting PRINCE Software to assist in the migration effort, you can be assured that the upgrade will be performed in a professional, timely and cost-effective manner.

Migration Process
In general, we recommended that the workload be divided into conversion groups of 50-100 applications. The first group will serve as a pilot project to verify the conversion process, options and results. Each conversion group will be processed as follows:
  1. Client will identify the MSL libraries and verify that they contain all of the proper entries.
  2. Client and PRINCE Software personnel will discuss and select conversion options.
  3. Client will produce External Source Format (ESF) files individually for each of the applications with "associates."
  4. PRINCE Software will translate the applications to COBOL for OS/390 and assure that they compile cleanly as follows:
    • Programs will be processed through an automated translation tool
    • Manual procedures will be used to finalize the conversion
    • Standard COBOL subroutines that perform commonly used functions will be provided in source code format
    • Converted COBOL programs will be transferred to client’s computer system and compiled using client’s standard compilation procedures
  5. Client will provide test data and testing scripts required to test the converted applications.
  6. PRINCE Software will perform initial testing of the converted programs to verify that all maps are displayed properly and that all main functions and transfers between programs are executing correctly.
  7. PRINCE Software will return to client’s technical staff the translated output consisting of clean compiled COBOL source code and copybooks, SQL INCLUDE members and BMS maps.
  8. Client will perform an acceptance test of the translated applications to verify that they perform correctly and that output results match those produced by the original programs.
  9. PRINCE Software will support the testing function and correct any conversion errors encountered by the in-house conversion team.

Testing Methodology

Testing consists primarily of a regression test to assure that the programs continue to execute and produce the same results as before the conversion. Testing results should indicate that all the screen layouts, and database output should remain identical between the existing and converted systems.

To achieve the goal of minimizing the risks involved in the migration process, it is important that careful consideration be given to the test-bed selected for this testing. Client personnel must identify test files that contain representative business data. The test-bed should be of sufficient size to test the performance, as well as the accuracy of the converted programs.

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