MANTIS to COBOL Conversion


MANTIS® is an interactive 4GL application development system that dates back to the 1980's. On-going maintenance costs and a dwindling number of MANTIS technicians have caused a number of organizations to consider converting these applications to a more strategic programming language.

For more than 20 years, PRINCE Software has specialized in migration solutions for large-scale legacy systems. Our Products and Professional Services Divisions have assisted more than a thousand organizations in the areas of COBOL conversion, VSE to OS/390 migration and custom legacy solutions. Within our specialty business of migration services, we offer extensive experience and a proven track record in the execution of migrations, including those requiring the conversion of older languages to COBOL.

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. Combining automated solutions with our extensive migration experience enables PRINCE Software to assure an accurate, consistent and cost-effective solution.

Project Description
The primary objective of a MANTIS to COBOL migration is to convert the source language of the selected programs, while maintaining the same application functionality.

PRINCE Software will convert MANTIS applications to COBOL for OS/390 source code compatible with the latest IBM COBOL compilers. The creation of the batch and/or CICS COBOL programs and BMS maps is performed using an automated process, followed by some manual tuning.

The source code conversion will be performed at PRINCE Software's migration center. The client will provide a machine-readable form of MANTIS print files for Programs, Screens, Files and Prompters, which will be used as input to the conversion process. PRINCE Software technicians will assure that the converted COBOL programs compile cleanly and will deliver to the client the COBOL source code and BMS maps.

Client personnel will test the converted applications to assure that the programs continue to execute and pro-duce the same results as the original MANTIS applications. Testing results should indicate that all screen layouts and database output are identical between the existing and converted systems. PRINCE Software migration specialists will support the testing effort and resolve any problems.

MANTIS Migration Process
In general, we recommend that the workload be divided into conversion groups of 50-100 MANTIS programs. 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 and PRINCE Software personnel will discuss and select conversion options and standards, as well as develop a project schedule.
  2. Client will provide the application code in a machine- readable form of MANTIS print files for Programs, Screens, Files and Prompters.
  3. PRINCE Software will translate the applications to COBOL for OS/390 and assure that they compile cleanly.
  4. The conversion process will be as follows:
    • Programs will be processed through an automated translation tool
    • Manual procedures will be used to finalize the conversion and apply local standards
    • BMS maps will be generated by the automated process
  5. PRINCE Software will return to client's technical staff the translated output consisting of clean compiled COBOL source code and copybooks, and BMS maps.
  6. Client will test the translated applications to verify that all main functions and transfers between programs are functioning correctly, all maps are displayed properly and output results match those produced by the MANTIS generated programs.
  7. PRINCE Software will support the testing function and correct any conversion errors encountered by the in-house conversion team.

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