Summary of Differences

The majority of the applications created with Net Express or Server Express will continue to work in Visual COBOL without any changes. However, there are some differences between these development systems you should consider when you upgrade to Visual COBOL.

Compiling and Building Differences

There are several aspects of compiling and building applications that behave differently in Visual COBOL. You might need to change the project properties and update some of the Compiler directives and settings that you previously used.

Compiler directives
When you upgrade your source code to Visual COBOL some Compiler directives that were specifically designed for 16-bit systems now produce an error on compilation because they are no longer relevant. You should remove them from your code and directives files before you compile.
SQL Compiler Directive Options
When you upgrade your to Visual COBOL, some SQL applications could require additional SQL Compiler directive options to avoid compiler errors.
XML PARSE Statement
In Server Express, the default setting for the XMLPARSE Compiler directive is COMPAT, which causes the XML PARSE statement to return information and events for IBM Enterprise COBOL Version 3. In Visual COBOL, the default is XMLPARSE(XMLSS), which returns information and events for IBM Enterprise COBOL Version 4.

Run-Time System Differences

There are some differences between the run-time systems supplied with Visual COBOL and those supplied with Server Express. These, however, do not affect your existing applications if you recompile them from the source code in Visual COBOL.

Visual COBOL sets the BEHAVIOR SQL Compiler directive option to MAINFRAME by default to provide optimal performance. To revert to the default behavior exhibited in Server Express, set the BEHAVIOR directive to UNOPTIMIZED.
Static-Linked Run-Time System
The static-linked run-time system is not available in Visual COBOL. Instead, you now link native code to the shared or dynamic run-time system. This has no effect on your existing applications.
Setting the environment on UNIX
You use the cobsetenv script to set your COBOL environment on UNIX if you have installed the product to a directory other than the default one.

Restrictions and Unsupported Features

Some features in earlier Micro Focus products are not available in Visual COBOL. However there are alternative techniques for many of these features.

Character-Mode Dialog System
Support for creating character-based user interfaces for applications that run in character environments is available in Visual COBOL.
DBMS Preprocessors
Earlier Micro Focus products supported DBMS preprocessor versions that are not supported in Visual COBOL. For a list of currently supported DBMS preprocessors, see the Database Access Support with Native COBOL topic.
FSView is a utility for administering Fileshare servers. The FSView GUI is not supported in Visual COBOL.
GNT Analyzer
GNT Analyzer is not available in Visual COBOL. It has been replaced by Test Coverage.
Host Compatibility Option (HCO)
Host Compatibility Option (HCO) is not supported in Visual COBOL.
The INTLEVEL directive is rejected by the Compiler in Visual COBOL.
There is no support for NSAPI in Visual COBOL.
OO Class and Method Wizards
The OO Class and Methods wizards are not available in Visual COBOL. However, the run-time components for the base and COM OO class libraries are available.
SQL Option for DB2
SQL Option for DB2, also known as XDB, is not supported in Visual COBOL.
UNIX Publish
The UNIX Publish feature is superseded by the remote development functionality in Visual COBOL for Eclipse. You use the Eclipse IDE on a local machine as the development interface. You use Visual COBOL Development Hub on a remote development server where you host your source code.

Run-Time Technology Differences

Some technologies behave differently in Visual COBOL and this might affect how you upgrade existing applications.

File Handling
The way you integrate your own security modules into Fileshare has changed. Also, the FILEMAXSIZE setting is different for Visual COBOL and for Net Express and Server Express .
Java and COBOL
The cobsje script is not available in Visual COBOL. Visual COBOL uses the COBOL run-time system to load JVM based on LIBPATH, LD_LIBRARY_PATH, JAVA_HOME etc...
Test Coverage
Test Coverage replaces GNT Analyzer, which was available in Server Express.

Editing and Debugging Differences

Much of the edit and debug functionality in Server Express is available in Visual COBOL, but some of it has a different name or slightly different behavior.

Data Tools
The Net Express Data Tools are available as the Classic Data File Tool utility in Visual COBOL on Windows, but not on UNIX. On UNIX, there is a new Data File Tools utility which is a standalone text editor in which you can create and edit data files .
Interface Mapping Toolkit
The Interface Mapping Toolkit is not available in Visual COBOL Development Hub. It is available in Visual COBOL for Eclipse; however it does not support CICS or IMS service interfaces.