Definition and usage of the CA MetaCOBOL+ DIALECT parameter.

Document ID : KB000054567
Last Modified Date : 14/02/2018
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The DIALECT option causes CA MetaCOBOL+ to properly identify COBOL words in the input source for the selected COBOL compiler and operating system. What is meant by 'input source' is the ordinary user COBOL/ CA MetaCOBOL+ source program. There is no overview available about the differences in the generated COBOL source code for the different IBM COBOL compilers.


The DIALECT option:

  • Determines the words in the input source text that will be recognized as verbs, special registers, figurative constants, and keywords.

  • Must match COBOL compiler and the target operating system.

  • Causes CA MetaCOBOL+ to generate appropriate COBOL code for the selected COBOL compiler.

If an inappropriate DIALECT option is used CA MetaCOBOL+ results may be unpredictable. The input source may be misinterpreted and/or an incorrect output source may be generated. If an incorrect DIALECT option is used, correct it, regenerate and recompile the program.


CA MetaCOBOL+ is a powerful batch and online programming aid for COBOL and COBOL II programs. CA MetaCOBOL+ was developed to overcome COBOL's many limitations:

  • The user is restricted to coding within the rigid framework of the COBOL syntax.

  • For most users, the language is too inflexible and unnatural.

  • Frequently, common logical Functions require an excessive number of COBOL statements or cannot be programmed in COBOL at all.

  • It is often necessary to repeat information that is actually common to many COBOL functions.

  • Tedious, time consuming effort is necessary to write the phrases and truly descriptive names which contribute to the overall clarity of a COBOL program; programmers are constantly tempted to abbreviate data names so that they become meaningless and detract from the effectiveness of documentation.

  • There are also no universal standards to ensure consistency in source language program formats.

  • COBOL systems developed by the manufacturers do not provide facilities for generating test data and examining the test output in COBOL source language.

Although COBOL has become recognized as the standard programming language for commercial data processing, it has remained essentially unchanged from the earliest version, leaving much room for improvement.

CA MetaCOBOL+ accepts standard COBOL and user-defined CA MetaCOBOL+ statements and transforms them into a standardized format acceptable to all IBM COBOL compilers. Some of its features include:

  • Developing and invoking macro statements embedded in COBOL programs.

  • Defining new verbs for use within COBOL programs.

  • Abbreviating existing COBOL required words and phrases.

  • Simplifying the writing of multipart verbs.

  • Eliminating the need for writing extensive data name qualifications.

  • Producing program listings of standard appearance in easy-to-read format.

  • Defining a library of standard macros and abbreviations.

  • Debugging source programs by automatically generating test data for any input program and supplying pertinent information for the programmer in source form.