Cobol Copybook Format

by Steven J. Owens (unless otherwise attributed)

A few years back I posted on an XML mailing list, asking for information about tools to convert cobol copybook data to XML format automatically. I didn't have much luck at the time, but since then I've received about a dozen or more followup messages from various people. Some of them were also looking for information, others had news of tools they thought might be helpful. Eventually I started keeping track of them and put together a stock reply, and later I put the stock reply into a web page - this.

At the time there were no tools that did what I needed. We never got sufficient management buy-in to spend enough time building a general tool. However, since then IBM has come out with several XML tools and other companies probably have products as well. I no longer work with Cobol data, however, so I haven't been following the topic.

Recent Addition

On April 2, 2010, "Mike" submitted this useful comment:

If I can correctly assume you are on a mainframe system, perhaps you have FileAid? It has a pretty nifty option (option 3.G) for converting data with a COBOL copybook (or even an XREF in FileAid) to XML. It's not perfect, nor is it super fast, but works pretty well for me.



Other Suggestions

I'd suggest you start by looking at IBM's XMLExtender product and search from there.

Let's do a little google search on "xml" and "copybook" and see what comes up.

Javaworld has a short article on how to build a one-off copybook-to-XML converter:

BEA Weblogic, one of the leading java application server engine providers, also has for sale a product named JAM, Java Adapter for Mainframe, which includes a tool named eGen which "provide the ability to generate both XML Schema and XML DTD documents for a given COBOL copybook record definition."

BEA also has XML/Non-XML Translator, which promises some ability to import copybooks and generate a translator to translate them to XML:

Oh, yeah, here's a repy I got much too late, suggesting a product called XML Convert. Here's the XML-dev archive of the reply:

The specific URLs he suggested were for their XML Convert product and, for their metagenix product.

Another person contacted me in January, 2001 about copybooks and later commented:

"Thanks for the reply! I found XML Convert using a web search (the same search that pulled up your old post), and it looks like it may solve my problem."

Another poster, on the XSL list, suggests claims to have some XML/cobol stuff; the best XML geek I know gives datajunction's XML junction tool a very high recommendation. claims to be able to automagically generate java objects representing Cobol copybooks.

I also received this reply at one point:

>I am very late, but found your question regarding XML and Cobol on
>We are offering such a utility. Attached you will find the current
>documentation. You can view our marketing flyer at
> .
>Best regards
>Thomas Funke
>Managing Director
>+49 711 77917 33
>Maas High Tech Software GmbH

Hope this is some help to you.

See original (unformatted) article


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