The Report Writer is a special purpose feature which places its emphasis on the organization, format, and contents of an output report. Although a report can be produced using the standard COBOL language, the Report Writer language features provide a more concise facility for report structuring and report production. Much of the Procedure Division programming which would normally be supplied by the programmer is instead provided automatically by the Report Writer Control System (RWCS). Thus the programmer is relieved of writing procedures for moving data, constructing print lines, counting lines on a page, numbering pages, producing heading and footing lines, recognizing the end of logical data subdivisions, updating sum counters, and so on. All these operations are accomplished by the RWCS as a consequence of source language statements that appear primarily in the report section of the data division of the source program.
Although it is a part of the standard COBOL definition, this module is explicity excluded from the X/Open COBOL language definitions and should not be used in a conforming X/Open COBOL source program.
The OS/VS COBOL compiler provides support for Report Writer that is based on the ANSI'68 Standard (even when the mainframe LANGLVL(2) compiler option is used - which normally requests ANSI'74 support). However, there are many cases in which that compiler actually supports a cross between the two COBOL Standards. Therefore, you should not attempt to use your COBOL system with OS/VS COBOL emulation along with any other dialect.
Within this chapter, many of these OS/VS COBOL extensions are indicated by an OSVS bubble. However, for the exact rules for the OS/VS COBOL Report Writer syntax, you should refer to your IBM OS/VS COBOL Language Reference.