Upgrading Your COBOL Application

Note: Upgrading your existing applications might be a complex task, therefore we recommend you contact Micro Focus Professional Services for assistance with this process.

If you've never used Eclipse before, Micro Focus recommends that you read the chapter Introduction to Eclipse in this product help to get familiar with the IDE before you start upgrading your applications.


In most situations when you are upgrading to Visual COBOL, you will:

  • Keep your source code on the UNIX machine. You need to install Visual COBOL Development Hub on this machine.
  • Install Visual COBOL for Eclipse on the your local Windows machine. You need to create a connection in Visual COBOL to the remote UNIX machine and then create remote projects for the application's source files.

On single-user Linux machines you do not need to install Visual COBOL Development Hub. Instead, you can install Visual COBOL for Eclipse on the same machine as the application files and maintain the application directly on the Linux machine.

Upgrading your applications

The following outline shows an example approach to upgrading an application to Visual COBOL:

  1. Assess your existing processes for building and testing your applications.

    Discover any similarities and differences between your existing applications and what programming issues they resolve. Determine what project types and scenarios you need to handle in Visual COBOL for Eclipse.

    Review the Compiler directives that are used to build the applications. Review these to ensure they are still valid.

    Note: You can use Micro Focus COBOL Analyzer to check your existing applications and assess what might need be to changed or what functionality is no longer supported.
  2. Compile your existing sources at the command line:
    1. Ensure Visual COBOL Development Hub is installed on the machine that stores your sources.
    2. From a terminal window, set the environment for Visual COBOL Development Hub and build the existing application. Resolve any compilation issues and ensure that the application behaves as it did previously.
  3. Create a Visual COBOL project to handle your source code:
    1. Install Visual COBOL for Eclipse on a local Windows machine.
    2. In Eclipse, create a connection to the machine that includes your sources and create a remote project.
    3. Add the application sources to the new project and set the following Compiler directives on the project:
    4. Add the Compiler directives that were used to compile the original project and are still valid to the new project.
    5. Build and debug the application using Eclipse.

      Ensure you get the same results using Eclipse as you did when you used Visual COBOL Development Hub on the remote machine (see step 2b).

  4. Add more projects, programs and copybooks as required.
  5. Review the Best Practice in Development Using Eclipse information in this document to ensure you achieve maximum productivity.
  6. Experiment with various debugging options to find those that best meet your requirements.
  7. Compile for debug and for release and ensure that the application performs as expected.
  8. Create one or more template projects and distribute those across the entire development team.
  9. Examine ways in which Eclipse can help to modernize your applications and processes.

For more details about these steps see the following sections and the Related Information.