IBM Enterprise COBOL for z/OS, V6.1 supports the continuous delivery model for new features

IBM United States Software Announcement 217-012
March 7, 2017

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IBM® Enterprise COBOL for z/OS® is a leading-edge, z/OS-based compiler that helps you create and maintain mission-critical, line-of-business COBOL applications to execute on your z/OS systems. Enterprise COBOL for z/OS continues to give you access to CICS®, DB2®, IMS™, and other transactional and data systems.

Enterprise COBOL for z/OS is enhanced to support the continuous delivery model. Continuous delivery allows you to receive new and enhanced capabilities through the compiler service channel. New features and enhancements are included in Program Temporary Fixes (PTFs) along with corrective and preventative service.

With continuous delivery, you benefit in receiving the new features that you need as soon as the code is ready. You can now receive enhancements in a faster and more continuous way without having to wait for the next release.

Continuous delivery is already available for Enterprise COBOL for z/OS, V6.1 with the inclusion of selected features and enhancements within recently available PTFs. Among these additional features are enhancements that you requested to address urgent needs and are made available continuously through the compiler service channels to deliver:

  • INITCHECK (A new compiler option to tell the compiler to look for unitialized data items)
  • Support for Dynamic storage in COBOL (PIC X(1)) linkage section items

Continuous delivery features for Enterprise COBOL for z/OS, V6.1 are also made available in conjunction with this announcement to help you find occurrences of invalid data. The following are the features delivered:

  • NUMCHECK compiler option to check zoned decimal (NUMERIC USAGE DISPLAY) and packed decimal (COMP-3) data items for invalid data, and binary data items for digits exceeding what the picture clause allows.
  • SSRANGE (MSG) and SSRANGE (ABD) suboptions to control the runtime behavior of the COBOL program when an invalid subscript is detected.

New features that are delivered through continuous delivery are often controlled by compiler options or by usage of a new function. This gives you the flexibility to control when you implement the new feature in your environment. The two features made available in this continuous delivery release are implemented by you using options or suboptions.

Introduction of the continuous delivery model for these enterprise-level programs reinforces the continuing IBM commitment to the COBOL programming language on the IBM z™/OS platform. With the support of the continuous delivery model, you gain the benefit of immediate delivery of new compiler technology and new functions while taking advantage of more than 50 years of IBM experience in compiler and compiler related development.

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Planned availability date
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March 7, 2017

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The continuous delivery model for Enterprise COBOL for z/OS, V6.1 is already implemented with the inclusion of features and enhancements within recent PTFs as follows:

  • INITCHECK (available with APAR PI68226). INITCHECK is a new compiler option to tell the compiler to look for uninitialized data items.
  • Support for dynamic storage in COBOL (PIC X(1)) linkage section items with reference modification and table ODO overlays (available with APAR PI63286).
Continuous delivery features for Enterprise COBOL for z/OS, V6.1 which are available with this announcement include:

  • NUMCHECK (available with APAR PI71625: This APAR requires z/OS Language Environment® PTF with APAR PI72127)

    The NUMCHECK compiler option tells the compiler whether to generate extra code to validate data items when they are used as sending data items. For zoned decimal (numeric USAGE DISPLAY) and packed decimal (COMP-3) data items, the compiler generates implicit numeric class tests for each sending field. For binary data items, the compiler generates SIZE ERROR checking to see whether the data item has more digits than its PICTURE clause allows.

    Note: ZONECHECK is deprecated but is tolerated for compatibility, and it is replaced by NUMCHECK(ZON).

  • SSRANGE suboptions MSG and ABD (available with APAR PI74933: This APAR requires z/OS Language Environment PTF with APAR PI72127).

    This option is enhanced with new MSG and ABD suboptions that control the run-time behavior of the COBOL program when a range check fails. If MSG is in effect and a range check fails, a run-time warning message is issued and the program will continue executing and may potentially identify other out-of-range conditions. If ABD is in effect and a range check fails, the first out-of-range condition will result in a run time error message and the program will abend.

Many new features are inactive until used. These features are controlled by compiler options or by your usage of a new function. Generally, you must make a code change to your application or invoke new compiler options in order to activate any new function.

Some features are not activated by an option or code change made by you to your application but instead are active by default as soon as you install the continuous delivery PTF. Examples of these kind of features are general performance enhancements (for example, performance tuning or fixes), minor listing changes, and message changes.

Continuous delivery features apply primarily to the service stream of the latest active release of the product. Once a new version or release is made available, it becomes the latest service stream which receives continuous delivery features. The previous release reverts back to corrective or preventative service only.

Accessibility by people with disabilities

A US Section 508 Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) containing details on accessibility compliance can be found on the IBM Accessibility website.

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SmoothStart/installation services

IBM SmoothStart Services and Installation Services are not provided.

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Program number
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Program number VRM Program name
5655-EC6 6.1 IBM Enterprise COBOL for z/OS, V6.1

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Business Partner information
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If you are a Direct Reseller - System Reseller acquiring products from IBM, you may link directly to Business Partner information for BP Attachment for Announcement Letter 217-012. A PartnerWorld ID and password are required (use IBMid).

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Ordering z/OS through the internet

Shopz provides an easy way to plan and order your z/OS ServerPac or CBPDO. It will analyze your current installation, determine the correct product migration, and present your new configuration based on z/OS. Additional products can also be added to your order (including determination of whether all product requisites are satisfied). Shopz is available in the US, Canada, and several countries in Europe. In countries where Shopz is not available yet, contact your IBM representative (or IBM Business Partner) to handle your order through the traditional IBM ordering process. For more details and availability, go to the Shopz website.

Unlicensed documentation

A Program Directory and Licensed Program Specifications are supplied automatically with the basic machine-readable material of the base release. No other hardcopy publications are shipped with the product.

The Enterprise COBOL for z/OS,V6.1 Knowledge Center and PDFs are updated to document the continuous delivery features. No other publications are updated or shipped with continuous delivery features.

Subsequent updates (technical newsletters or revisions between releases) to the publications shipped with the product will be distributed to the user of record for as long as a license for this software remains in effect. A separate publication order or subscription is not needed.

Customized Offerings

Product deliverables are shipped only through CBPDO and ServerPac. These customized offerings are offered for internet delivery from Shopz. Internet delivery reduces software delivery time and allows you to install software without the need to handle tapes. For more details on internet delivery, go to the Help section on the Shopz website.

You choose the delivery method when you order the software. IBM recommends internet delivery. In addition to internet and DVD, the supported tape delivery options include:

  • 3590
  • 3592

Most products can be ordered in ServerPac the month following their availability in CBPDO. z/OS can be ordered through CBPDO and ServerPac at general availability. Many products will also be orderable in a Product ServerPac without also having to order the z/OS operating system or subsystem.

Shopz and CFSW will determine the eligibility based on product requisite checking. For more details on the product ServerPac, go to the Help section on the Shopz website.

For additional information on the Product ServerPac option, refer to Software Announcement 212-272, dated July 31, 2012.

Production of software product orders will begin on the planned general availability date.

  • CBPDO shipments will begin one week after general availability.
  • ServerPac shipments will begin two weeks after general availability.

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Note: Shipments will begin after the planned availability date.

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