Micro Focus Plc has found a front end for its VS Cobol Workbench mainframne Cobol development product, which adds analysis and design to the development, compilation and testing capabilities offered by Workbench. The product, the Excelerator systems analysis and design software from Index Technology Corp of Cambridge, Massachusetts, can now be interfaced to the Workbench via a software link that converts system designs into crude Cobol that can be refined on the VS Cobol Workbench. The partners reckon this will reduce communication errors and redundant work between analysts and programmers developing and maintaining large Cobol systems. Workbench users also operate in the familiar Cobol environment and spend less time entering program specs. Available now in the US, the link consists of two products, XL/Interface Micro Focus from Index Technology and the Excelerator Interface from Micro Focus. The link translates Excelerator structure charts into skeletal Cobol source, and during the translation process, the program documentation, pseudocode, or actual Cobol source code recorded in Excelerator’s dictionary for each function of a structure chart is automatically inserted into the proper portion of the Cobol program generated by the link. Programmers on the Workbench can then expand the skeletal program, check syntax, and conduct unit and system testing of the applications, which could be for anything from micros to mainframes. The optional CICS and IMS toolkits for Workbench emulate mainframe production environments on the MS-DOS micro, thereby extending the benefits of the Excelerator Interface to CICS and IMS DB/DC applications. In addition, Excelerator data records, elements, screens and reports are translated into Cobol data descriptions, screen maps, and report maps that can be inserted into the structured code. The two companies developed the interface together and will continue joint efforts to strengthen the integration of their products, and will co-ordinate marketing and support of their respective parts of the interface. XL/Interface Micro Focus can be installed with an existing copy of Excelerator Version 1.8 and is $650 in single copies. Excelerator Interface needs VS Cobol Workbench Version 2.0.2 up; at $500 a copy, it will come with Micro Focus’ CO-Maps and CO-Reports for painting mainframe and micro screen and report code.