Overview of Modernizing Dialog System Applications

Visual COBOL includes the Dialog System Runtime which enables you to modernize Dialog System applications within Visual COBOL for Visual Studio 2013 and to run them under COBOL Server.

You upgrade an application to Visual COBOL and from there, you can run the application without change, or modernize it over time. The application runs under the COBOL Server and the Dialog System run-time system.

The first stage is to import the application into Visual COBOL which you do using the Net Express Project Import wizard:

From then on, you can edit and maintain the application from within Visual COBOL. The screensets are referenced in the Visual COBOL project. You can double-click a screenset in Visual COBOL to start the Dialog System painter and edit the screenset. In this way, you can continue maintaining your application with Visual COBOL until you are ready to modernize it.

The next stage is to modernize the application gradually, as much or as little as you want, keeping other code unchanged. There is a range of techniques for modernization. For example, you can replace one Dialog System screen with a Windows Form or you can wrap a .NET user control as an ActiveX and use that in Dialog System.

You can give a modern look and feel to existing Dialog System applications by enabling the Windows visual styles and fonts in them. The applications that use the visual styles have an appearance that is native to the Windows version they are running on.

A number of samples are available in Visual COBOL to demonstrate the various modernization techniques, and there is supporting documentation in this Help explaining the significant elements of the code. Some samples use the same code as in Net Express, and have the key difference that they use the Visual COBOL version of the COBOL and Dialog System run-time systems.

Finally, to fully modernize, you use Microsoft tooling, the .NET Framework and Microsoft interoperability techniques.