Just in Time for Y2K: Code Analyzer for TPF
by Jeff Robinson
The TPF (Transaction Processing Facility) product has been around since the 1960s and has undergone many a facelift in order for its current rendition (TPF4.1) to be where it is today. I once talked to a TPF "old-timer" and learned that in its early days TPF (or ACP as it was known back then) only offered 6 ECB data levels! Can you imagine having been around in those days?
Keeping up with the numerous changes to TPF has been a nightmare for TPF systems programmers and an absolute horror for TPF application programmers. That's because the millions of lines of Assembler code written by programmers around the world (and through several generations) to harness that magnificent power that TPF possesses has to be changed or "retrofitted" with just about each new release of the operating system.
Now, the TPF industry -- just like the entire data processing industry -- has to apply changes due to the infamous Year 2000 bug. Unfortunately, this is one retrofit that all TPF shops have to perform without the promise of operating system improvements. For most facilities, this means dedicating programming staff to, or hiring new programming staff to search through every line of code to change or verify that applications can handle dates and date ranges beyond December 31, 1999. Even with its use of the "pars" date format for date handling, the TPF community has not been spared from this grueling task.
Can you imagine the learning curve of programmers studying code that was written 20 or 30 years ago by some "genius" who decided NOT to comment his programs because it was "self-documenting"? Even a seasoned professional might have difficulty deciphering the "spaghetti" code of an area he's never been exposed to. The worst-case scenario in a situation like this might certainly be that programmers would tend to "break" something that works just fine but looked "suspicious".
There's just no way to avoid all of the traps awaiting TPF developers charged with retrofitting their installation's applications. And even the most expert developers might still make mistakes regardless of the amount of exposure they have to an area. But there might be one way to shorten the learning curve and improve the knowledge of the people making these changes: Code Analyzer for TPF.
Code Analyzer is a profiling tool that gives developers a visual preview of the applications they're about to change. This product can de-mystify those legacy TPF Assembler programs written decades ago in a bygone era (and even those written in this era!). Here's a list of the features that this utility can provide programmers with:
The Code Analyzer tool could prove a useful instrument in your Y2K arsenal and beyond. To find out more about this product visit my web site at: www.robisoft.com. Please feel free to email me at robisoft.NOSPAM@aol.com with questions and comments. (Free, limited-time versions of this utility will be made available for download soon, so visit this site often!).
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TPF and IBM are trademarks of International Business Machines. There is no relationship between the aforementioned product and IBM, its affiliates or the TPF product line.