Aggressively laying down the gauntlet to market leader Micro Focus Plc, Islandia, New York-based Computer Associates International Inc has launched the CA-Realia II Workbench, a personal computer-based graphical system for downsizing applications and offloading development and maintenance of old Cobol systems. Computer Associates got into the Cobol compiler business when it bought Pansophic Systems Inc – Pansophic had acquired Chicago Coboller Realia Inc shortly before being eaten itself. CA-Realia II Workbench, which carries an introductory price of $2,500 per copy, but costs only $1,250 if you use the Micro Focus Cobol Workbench and are prepared to switch, is claimed to be the first truly-integrated multi-tasking Cobol development environment, enabling developers to debug, analyse and edit their Cobol applications concurrently at the source level. It has a Cobol-intelligent analyser that is active at all times, so users don’t have to leave the debugging tool and reposition themselves to the same place in the code in order to do analysis. It is compliant with IBM Corp’s Common User Access if anyone still cares, and is context-sensitive so that data items are monitored when debugging by simply dragging any reference to the data item from anywhere within the source program. It includes context-sensitive help, pop-up menus and various Cobol-intelligent devices in the user interface. It is claimed to provide a wide variety of mainframe and desktop Cobol dialects, and can process both ASCII and EBCDIC data, with support for programs of virtually unlimited size. Compilation is launched from within the editor and proceeds as a background task. Compile error messages are colour-coded according to severity and shown in the source-file edit window above the affected statements. Buttons advance the programmer between each statement until all errors are corrected. Existing mainframe CICS tables are used to create a personal computer-based CICS system that can be run from a local net or individual machine. Life cycle management features include version management, parallel development control, reporting capabilities, change and configuration management and a host integrated facility directly integrated with CA-Panvalet, CA-Librarian or PDS libraries. A mainframe-based component transports files between the desktop and one or more mainframes. There is a navigation facility to enable users to step forward or backward through a program’s procedural logic and analyse all logical paths that are possible. It requires Windows 3.1 up running in enhanced mode and MS-DOS 3.3 up.