Migrating a Dialog System Application to Visual COBOL

To migrate an application, you start by opening a Net Express project in Visual COBOL. This invokes the Net Express Project Import wizard that converts the project into a Visual COBOL solution.

Alternatively, you can use the Dialog System Application project templates available in Visual COBOL to create a solution manually and add the files from the Dialog System application to it.

There is one Dialog System specific item that is added to the project and that is the screenset, the .gs file. The wizard sets the following properties on the screenset file and you need to do the same if you create the project manually:

When the Dialog System application is in Visual COBOL, you can continue to maintain and run it with Visual COBOL, as shown here:

Screenshot of a dialog system application in the IDE

In Visual COBOL, you can:

Debuggable OO Class Libraries

If your application uses the native OO COBOL class libraries, and you want to step into those libraries when debugging, you need to build debuggable versions of them. This is different from Net Express, where the libraries were supplied and you could select them from the IDE. To build and use debuggable versions of the libraries:
  1. Open the project for the required class library. The projects are located in the cpylib folder of your installation, which is by default %ProgramFiles(x86)%\Micro Focus\Visual COBOL. The class library projects are:
    • Base class library - basecl\classm.cblproj - installed with Visual COBOL
    • GUI class library - guicl\apiguim.cblproj - installed with Visual COBOL
    • OLE class library - olecl\olecl.cblproj - installed with Visual COBOL
  2. Ensure the Debug configuration is selected and then build the project. The resulting output is stored in the debug subfolder of the project folder.
  3. In your application, set the COBPATH environment variable to point to the folder containing the debuggable version of the library. To do this, add the variable to the application.config file, as follows:
    1. Open your application in Visual COBOL.
    2. Right-click your main project and click Add > New Item > Application Configuration File.
    3. Double-click Application.config in Solution Explorer.
    4. In the Name field, specify COBPATH.
    5. In the Value field, specify the full path of the folder. For example, %ProgramFiles(x86)%\Micro Focus\Visual COBOL\cpylib\guicl\debug.
    6. Click Set.
Note: The Help for the class libraries is available in the file nxrclr.chm, which is installed in the Help folder of your installation. The default location is %ProgramFiles(x86)%\Micro Focus\Visual COBOL\Help.

Examining object reference items

Visual COBOL enables you to examine native object reference data items to allow the object's instance data to be displayed, provided that the debug information for the object's class is available.

The debug tool shows both the hexadecimal and the actual value of the data item.