Pre-processor for VMS COBOL (david nicol)
Tue, 19 May 1992 19:42:17 GMT

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Pre-processor for VMS COBOL (1992-05-19)
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Newsgroups: comp.compilers,alt.cobol
From: (david nicol)
Keywords: Cobol, question
Organization: Compilers Central
Date: Tue, 19 May 1992 19:42:17 GMT

The odd request for information from students in this area may be
hard to put up with, but I have run out of information sources. So please
bear with me...

I am currently engaged in a project that must have been done many
times over...yes, another pre-processor for VAX COBOL! I have been led to
understand that VAX COBOL conditional compiling requires the "column mode"
coding, which at our installation is not in use.

                Why not write another program to shift all of the source code to
the right column? Well, that would put all our RDB pre-processor commands
out of place too. So this pre-processor is to handle some conditional
compiling functions, act as a simple front-end to the VMS run-time library
and any user-defined library of functions and it must include wonderfull
macros such as string concatenation in one line, etc...

I have obtained the source files for flex (with a makefile for
VMS) and yacc (without a makefile). I have also been shutting myself in a
room for hours on end reading books on language construction, parsing and
compiler construction. My learning curve has improved dramatically, but
there are still some things I do not understand (i.e. symbol table
handling). It seems that flex and byacc may take too long to learn how to
use, although I am interested in doing so and can see the worth of doing
so. So I am appealing to you for some constructive input...(save me from
approximately 5000 lines of C or Pascal coding, please!).

The syntax is not a problem, (I have written a context free
grammar), nor is the output, (COBOL code of course),...its that sticky bit
in between. If you have any information about Translator Writing Systems,
or building pre-processors on the VAX VMS platform, or indeed if you have
been fortunate enough to have experienced this joy yourself, please
contact me at

Thanks in advance...David Nicol :-)

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