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Summary comment to MX COBOL limitations
For more see - Formats in detail + FAQ and How to ..

MX COBOL can work in MS Windows but it is DOS oriented
It means that it can work with names of directories (path) and files in according to DOS conventions only. They have to be short names (max 8+3 length) and without spaces and diacritical marks.

This limitation is valid in general for compilation and for executing of developed programs too. But if developed programs work in batch-mode with files in actual directory only - then can be used only file-names alone and path is not important but for file-names mentioned limitation remains.

For work with source files in Notepad the size of types 14 is recommended.

Why is MX COBOL like it is
or his story within Czech tradition of COBOL programming
The first attempts with computer research and development started in former Czechoslovakia at the end of the 50th years last century. Unfortunately, the communist regime meant in those times that "cybernetics is burgeois anachronism and pseudo-science" and put down these attempts.

Only in era of "PragueSpring 1968" the contacts with west technologies were allowed for a short time. Except several imported IBM, ICL and DATASAAB computers, the license for 2.5 generation mainframe computer production was gained from BULL. From beginning these TESLA 200 named computers (in total sum more than two hundred installations) were supplied only with magnetic tapes but worked already with byte-structured memory and except Assembler there was COBOL 60 compiler. (By the way - with the last one in 1970 began his career as programmer author of this text).

In the next years then were produced copies of IBM/360 mainframes (named EC 1021 to EC 1027) where COBOL was basic programming language. Thanks to this home production ("iron courtain" still existing) all big and intermediate enterprises had their own computing centers with batch processing of the economic data programmed mostly in COBOL.

Operating systems for these last computers were not copies of that of IBM but first of all virtual DOS-3/JS (1980) was modern brand new development made by Computer Research Institute Prague (VUMS in Czech). The COBOL compiler as its part was developed in KS Brno by group of experts - Petr Bilek, Josef Brlica, Petr Dvoracek, Jiri Smerk and Vladimir Verosta. This system inclusive COBOL were very successful and therefore were used not only in Czechoslovakia but also in East Germany and by means of which thousands of programmers worked many years.

In the end of 80th the COBOL compiler was by experts mentioned above under name MX COBOL reengineered to PC platform as compiler from COBOL to C-language. After the fall of "iron courtain" in year 1989 the overall situation has changed, new products became available and interest of COBOL has decreased. KS Brno did not continue MX COBOL development any more and in 1994 all the rights were sold to Vlastimil Cevela - specialized on COBOL programming support.

For DOS on PCs were then sold several tens MX COBOL + Borland TC 2.0 installations and with help of Vladimir Verosta was improved some functions (1996). By the author personally was by means of MX COBOL developed reengineering some mainframes projects of a big company from mainframe to Novell/PC net, HTML database of more than six thousand scanned texts (generated from XML contents with more than ten thousand mutual links) and many tools for text-files manipulaton and HTML, CSS and JavaScript generating.

In the several last years stayed MX COBOL compiler "as it is" and no development continued. But not long ago in connection with discovery of the "Borland TC 2.01" as "free antique software" on web came the idea to offer MX COBOL as free compiler in the same way. This compiler it's true is not the Windows GUI oriented product but in tandem with Borland TC it can work without problems in the Windows CMD mode very well. See What's MX like and above.

There are some limitations for MX COBOL from the reasons time of come into being and interrupt of development and support. But with acceptance of them as necessary facts remains very interesting free tool for small tasks and training of basic COBOL programming skills. See What's MX for.

In general is MX COBOL based on COBOL-74 but it contains interesting system library routines called, some qualities from COBOL-85 as initialize statement, end-if, end-perform delimiters and even from COBOL-02 - screen section. The other end-delimiters, nested programming, reference modifications and evaluate, continue, set .. true statements are not implemented. Beside it is source text in MX COBOL limited by number of 700 to 900 lines. The reason for it is memory concept in DOS used.

In connection with interrupt development there are some qualities "not functional". So as not to make problems for users all formats and language qualities was careful checked before release of their new brief description in English and finded limitations was mentioned in detail. But because all it is "one man's project" and new documentation is derived from manual which in original contains over 1000 pages in Czech language, author will be very grateful for all remarks, experiences and notices to those problems ! The same is valid for the English translation of compiler's messages and listings. All known limitations of this sort are listed in FAQ and How to .. .

MX COBOL - free compiler - © Vlastimil Cevela 2006

Date 2006-06-03 - Text Builder 0.65 - Time 20:32:59