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Types of COBOL Project Templates

COBOL projects that compile to native code

Enterprise Developer enables you to create projects for applications that compile to native code. For example, the following native project templates, among others, are supplied:

Console Application (native COBOL)
Adds the items needed to create a console application. Console applications are typically designed without a graphical user interface and are compiled into a stand-alone executable file. A console application is run from the command line with input and output information being exchanged between the command prompt and the running application.
Enterprise Server Application
Creates a COBOL project that supports COBOL-based service interfaces with the IMTK.
INT/GNT (native COBOL)
Creates an empty project for INT/GNT code and offers project properties specific to the .int and .gnt file types.
Mainframe Subsystem Application (native COBOL)
Creates an empty solution and project. It offers project properties specific to the Mainframe applications such as BMS, CICS, IMS and JCL.
Unit Test Library
Creates a project and test program for use with the Micro Focus Unit Testing Framework.

COBOL projects that compile to .NET managed code

Enterprise Developer includes a number of project templates for creating .NET managed code applications.

In most cases, you need to use the standard managed project templates (which excludes the Procedural Multi-Output Project) which compile all the programs within the project into a single assembly. When using multiple projects within your application, you might need to preload the target assembly before calling a subprogram. See Calling Entry Points in Subprograms for details on how to preload modules.

Some of the standard managed COBOL project templates include:

Class Library (managed code)
Creates reusable classes and components that can be shared with other projects. Typically, this is built into a .dll file.
Windows Forms Application (managed code)
Creates an empty Windows form and skeleton COBOL code behind the form. It adds the necessary .NET Framework classes, such as System.Windows.Forms to the project references. It creates default project properties.
WPF Application (managed code)
Creates a COBOL client application for User Interfaces that uses the WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation) presentation features.

When dealing with large numbers of source files, for example in an existing native application which you want to compile to managed code, it may be preferable to use the Procedural Multi-Output Project which is a special type of a .NET project. It creates a single assembly for each individual program within the project. In this way, when calling a subprogram, the COBOL run-time system can locate the assembly using the name of the called program which will match the assembly file name. In this case, the assembly does not have to be preloaded.

You can use this template to move some existing applications to Enterprise Developer and to managed code. These applications rely on the mechanism within native code described earlier, for example, an .INT or .GNT application, and where code changes to preload modules are not desirable.

Procedural Multi-Output Project (managed code)
Creates an empty managed project with multi-output assembly support for compiling procedural programs to individual managed assemblies or executables. Every compiled program includes the references specified for the project in Solution Explorer, and under the References node.
Note: Using this template can result in a large number of managed assemblies which means deployment of the application might not be straightforward. You might need to consider consolidating programs into fewer assemblies which may ease the distribution and maintenance of your application.

The following limitations apply to this project type:

  • Adding managed resources such as classes, WinForms, resources, Service References, Web References is not supported. You need to create these in a separate managed project and reference that project from within the Procedural Multi-Output project.
  • The programs generated from the procedural multi-output project cannot be referenced from other managed projects, nor can they be referenced using object COBOL syntax. However, a multi-output project supports adding references to other types of managed projects.

Projects for creating COBOL Azure cloud services

Enterprise Developer includes a project for creating COBOL Azure cloud services. The Windows Azure Tools must be installed. See the Additional Software Requirements for information about all prerequisites.

SQL Server Database project

The SQL Server Database Project creates a COBOL project that enables you to create SQL CLR stored procedures, and a .Publish project that you can use to publish your SQL CLR stored procedures directly to a SQL Server database.:

Projects for creating COBOL applications for the Web

A number of project templates for creating COBOL applications with a Web user interface, or COBOL web services, are available. For example:

ASP.NET Web Application
Creates a COBOL application that you deploy on the Web using the Visual Studio deployment tools.
WCF Service Application (managed code)
Creates a project for building a service-oriented COBOL applications. The WCF (Windows Communication Foundation) services consist of a number of operations which you can expose to client applications through different endpoints . This template is not available in Visual Studio Shell.
WCF REST Service Application
Creates a COBOL WCF REST Application service. This project type requires a more advanced edition of Visual Studio such Professional, Premium, Ultimate or Community Edition as the Visual Studio Shell does not support WCF applications. It also requires versions of the .NET Framework 4.0 and later. For more information about WCF and REST, check the Microsoft MSDN.

Projects for creating Dialog System applications

The following project templates are available:

  • Dialog System Application (Modern) for creating Dialog System applications with modern look and feel that use Microsoft's visual styles by default.
  • Dialog System Application (Classic) for creating Dialog System applications that use the classic fonts and look.
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