Technical Solutions for COBOL

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Redvers COBOL XML Interface - Frequently Asked Questions

Why have you written the interface in COBOL?

We've taken the unusual step of writing and delivering this product in the form of COBOL source code subroutines because we understand how important it is to have a product that is easily integrated with existing applications. If you need a product to interface COBOL with XML, then you must have COBOL programs and a COBOL compiler already.

Another advantage is that people using the product will already be familiar with the terminology, characteristics and capabilities of COBOL based programs.

How do I install this software?

The Redvers COBOL XML Interface programs are sold in COBOL source code form and are installed by copying to your site source code library and running your standard COBOL compiler. Compilation at client sites enables installation on multiple platforms and ensures complete compatibility with all other COBOL applications on the platform.

In order to protect both clients and ourselves from unauthorized code changes, the source code has been "cloaked" using the Redvers Cloaking Device. This process makes no logical difference to the code but renders it unintelligible to humans.

What are the technical limitations?

As the product is written and compiled as a site standard COBOL program, the limitations are the same as those placed on the calling application. Therefore, if an application uses a 16MB copybook layout with 5,000 fields, each requiring a 500 character XML tag, our subroutines can process it.

In order to make the most efficient use of machine resources, several parameter variables (referred to in the user guides as User Maintained Variables) are defaulted to fairly modest values. These may be increased or decreased according to application/system requirements.

Is the interface compatible with ASCII as well as EBCDIC based character sets?

Yes, all our products run on ASCII and EBCDIC platforms. No code changes are necessary.

Is the interface compatible with sites using "little-endian" binary storage?

Yes, all our products run on "big-endian" and "little-endian" platforms. No code changes are necessary.

What are the benchmark statistics?

XML generation rate is 9.9 megabytes per second; parsing rate is 7.4 megabytes per second. All benchmark timings are based on an IBM zSeries mainframe running z/OS 1.10. Maximum document size is 99,999,999 bytes but there is no maximum document size for batch applications.

Most applications will require I-O external to the interface in order to collect data for conversion to XML or to update COBOL based files/databases from the XML input. Therefore, as no I-O is performed by the interface, application run times are unlikely to be affected by the addition of the Redvers COBOL XML Interface.

Will the parser validate the incoming XML document?

The Redvers COBOL XML parser issues an error message, identifying the erroneous character position within the input document, when an XML document contains XML syntax errors. XML syntax is defined at the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Extensible Mark-up Language (XML) 1.0 definition. No schema or DTD validation is performed.

Can a CRD be automatically generated from an XML schema or DTD?

Redvers Consulting offers two free CRD building programs called RCCRDSCH and RCCRDDTD. These tools create a base CRD from the information held in a schema or DTD respectively. In keeping with our other tools, these are written in open source COBOL and are available from your Redvers account manager.

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