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November 29, 1993


By CBR Staff Writer

Hewlett-Packard Co has introduced two new Cobol versions of its Softbench application development tools and framework. Cobol SoftBench and Cobol/C SoftBench are targeted at applications developers that want to move their applications off the mainframe to HP-UX-based servers, without having to learn much about the operating system. Each comes with enhanced versions of tools already found in exising C and C++ releases, such as SoftBuild-SoftOption, a program builder that only rebuilds Cobol programs, and programs depending on them, as they change; SoftStatic, a static analysis tool that enables users to query specific variables and view the paragraph and program structure of an application graphically; SoftDM, a productivity tool that enables customers to use point, click and action commands on files; and SQL support for relational databases such as Oracle Corp’s. The offerings also include new versions of Micro Focus Plc’s compiler, Animator and profiler. Each tool has a common Motif look and feel, and can be integrated with about 75 encapsulated third party offerings – or custom-built products. More specifically, Cobol/C SoftBench was developed for building mixed-language applications written in both Cobol and C, and Hewlett-Packard claims that with it, programmers can learn and use C, while still working in Cobol. As well as the above, the product also offers an HP-UX C developer’s kit, including a C compiler and HP/DDE source-level debugger. Cobol SoftBench and Cobol/C SoftBench will be available only under HP-UX from January, the former costing $3,000 and the latter $3,500. Nonetheless, applications developed using the tools can run under any environment for which Micro Focus has a compiler, such as Microsoft Corp Windows 3.1 and MacOS. Meanwhile, Hewlett-Packard has also announced it will implement SoftBench for Stratus Computer Inc’s fault-tolerant Unix operating system, FTX, and is working with Science Applications International Corp to convert the SoftBench sub-process control daemon or distributed process management technology for it. This means that it will be able to integrate SoftBench with other Stratus development tools.

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