CICS / WebSphere

  • OS/VS COBOL (5740-CB1, 5740-LM1, and 5734-CB4)
  • VS COBOL II (5668-958, also 5688-023 and 5688-022).

While the COBOL2 option was removed from the translator, customers found that COBOL II source would be translated with the default COBOL3 option and the result was a successful compile and executable module. Technically, it worked even though it was unsupported. The same didn’t apply to old OS/VS COBOL. Changes to the translator restricted the ability to continue any new compiles of these programs.

The result was source that couldn’t be modified or enhanced since it was impossible to translate/compile and produce a new load module. But, if customers were happy to run these programs without changes, the “run-time” environment remained available, though not supported. In this release, IBM also warned: “In the next release of CICS after V2.2, native support for the old language run-times will be removed.” The release after V2.2 will continue to provide object compatibility; i.e., all applications will continue to work.

The direction has been clear, however, that IBM didn’t intend to support the old releases forever. Following is an excerpt from the CICS TS V2.3 Release Guide:

“CICS TS 1.3, CICS TS V2.2, CICS TS V2.3: The Language Environment component of z/OS is required; applications will run unchanged. This function will be removed in the next release of CICS TS.”

The old modules that could run unchanged in CICS would no longer run. Some customers missed this item. In the CICS TS V3.1 announcement letter, IBM states: “OS/VS COBOL modules will not execute in this and subsequent releases of CICS TS.” This is further documented in informational IBMLINK Items:

  • RTA000178522: Removal of OS/VS Support
  • RTA000178499: CICS Transaction Server 3.1 support for COBOL compilers.

If customers try to execute OS/VS COBOL modules in CICS TS 3.1, they’ll receive an ALIK abend. No warning, but then again, IBM has been warning in the documentation for years. The light at the end of the tunnel has been extinguished.

What Now?

If you’ve been procrastinating and still have old OS/VS COBOL modules in CICS, there are only two options available:

  • Convert the code to supported COBOL or replace it with something else
  • Leave the application in CICS TS V2.3 for as long as possible and retire the application when V2.3 goes out of support.

IBM hasn’t announced the end of service for CICS TS V2.3, so ideally there are still a few years left. Customers could upgrade their systems to CICS TS 3.1 and leave one Application Owning Region (AOR) behind on V2.3 for these applications, although that’s not recommended. It’s also not a long-term solution.

Finding Modules

Customers may have many old libraries with modules and can no longer find the source code for them. There may be many techniques you can use to find the level of COBOL they were compiled with. Figure 2 contains one method. If you run IBM’s utility AMBLIST, it will produce a report as shown in the JCL example. The report shows the attributes of the module and, near the bottom, it lists the code sections (CSECT) and translator used. You can identify the compiler, version and release number from the object via the VR.MD, in this case ’01.03’. From Figure 1, you can see that this module is VS COBOL II Release 1.3. You would expect an OS/VS COBOL module to show ’01.02.’

New Integrated Translator Support

Starting in CICS TS V2.2, IBM provides a CICS integrated translator component that eliminates the need for the translate step in program development, simplifying the development process. Customers that wish to take advantage of this feature need to change their compile process and corresponding PROCs (compile procedures), but may benefit from the ease of use. In the CICS TS V2.2 SDFHPROC library, a new member can be found—DFHZITCL—that contains a sample procedure. In the normal COBOL compile PROC, DFHYITVL, customers execute four steps starting with the TRN (translator) step. This step translated the CICS commands into “native” language statements before compiling the COBOL program. The new PROC contains only three steps, and directly invokes the COBOL compiler with the integrated translator. The program source must be untranslated as input into this step.

IBM continues to support the translators if customers wish to use them, and the original PROC in SDFHPROC remains available, although IBM recommends that customers use the new procedure. Some customers have found that the integrated translator changes the results of the compile and the output they’re used to seeing. The output of the integrated translator doesn’t produce the MOVE and CALL statements that the translator does, and you can’t view the EIB references. This change is documented in IBMLINK items BDC000026949 and BDC000025833. The CICS TS V2.2 Application Programming Guide also contains a reference to this difference, “The CICS-supplied separate translators change the line numbers in source programs, which means that an intermediate listing with the translator-generated CALLS must be used when debugging an application program.”

Customers dependent on the expanded output from the translator step will need to continue using the “old” process and not the integrated translator.


The demise of old COBOL was inevitable. IBM can’t continue to expend time and resources supporting old releases forever, especially while enhancing the features of existing and new releases. Onward and upward, right? We may be dinosaurs, but we still love our CICZ TS.

2 Pages