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Pro*COBOL® Getting Started
Releases 9.2 and 1.8.77 for Windows

Part Number A96113-03
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1 Introducing Pro*COBOL

This chapter describes the Oracle programmatic interface for the COBOL language running on Windows operating systems.

This chapter contains these topics:

1.1 What is Pro*COBOL?

To access an Oracle database, you use a high-level query language called Structured Query Language (SQL). You often use SQL through an interactive interface, such as SQL*Plus.

Pro*COBOL is a programming tool that enables you to embed SQL statements in a COBOL program. The Pro*COBOL precompiler converts the SQL statements in the COBOL program into standard Oracle run-time library calls. The generated output file can then be compiled, linked, and run in the usual manner.

Use the Pro*COBOL precompiler when rapid development and compatibility with other systems are your priorities.

1.2 Release 1.8.77

Oracle Corporation expects that any application written for Pro*COBOL release 1.8.x should precompile successfully with Pro*COBOL release 9.2.0. However, some vendor extensions may not be accepted and the application may not precompile successfully when migrating from release 1.8.x to release 9.2.0.


Pro*COBOL Precompiler for Windows release 1.8.77 is now automatically installed with the Programmer installation type of the Oracle9i Client top-level component. You do not need to use the Custom installation type of the Oracle9i Client top-level component.

If you simply want to migrate a release 1.8.x application to release 9.2.0 without using any of the new features of Pro*COBOL release 9.2.0, but the application does not precompile successfully, then report the problem to Oracle Support Services.


Oracle Corporation recommends that you use release 9.2.0 to develop new applications.

1.3 Supported Compilers

Pro*COBOL supports the MERANT Micro Focus NetExpress version 3.1 for 32-bit Windows NT, Windows 2000, and Windows 98.


Pro*COBOL does not support Object Oriented COBOL (OOCOBOL) specifications.

1.4 Features

Pro*COBOL supports the following:

1.5 Restrictions

Pro*COBOL does not support the following:

1.6 Directory Structure

When you install Pro*COBOL, Oracle Universal Installer creates a directory called \precomp in your ORACLE_BASE\ORACLE_HOME directory.


The \precomp directory can contain files for other products, such as Pro*C/C++.

The \precomp directory contains the directories listed in Table 1-1.

Table 1-1 Directories

Directory Name Contents
\admin Configuration files
\demo\procob2 Sample programs for Pro*COBOL release 9.2.0
\demo\procob Sample programs for Pro*COBOL release 1.8.77
\demo\sql SQL scripts for sample programs
\doc\procob2 Readme files for Pro*COBOL 9.2.0
\doc\procob Readme files for Pro*COBOL 1.8.77
\lib Library files
\mesg Message files
\public Header files

1.6.1 Header Files

The ORACLE_BASE\ORACLE_HOME\precomp\public directory contains the Pro*COBOL header files listed in Table 1-2.

Table 1-2 Header Files

Header File Description
oraca.cob Contains the Oracle Communications Area (ORACA), which helps you to diagnose runtime errors and to monitor your program's use of various Oracle resources.
oraca5.cob ORACA5 is the COMP-5 version of ORACA.
sqlca.cob Contains the SQL Communications Area (SQLCA), which helps you to diagnose runtime errors. The SQLCA is updated after every executable SQL statement.
sqlca5.cob SQLCA5 is the COMP-5 version of SQLCA.
sqlda.cob Contains the SQL Descriptor Area (SQLDA), which is a data structure required for programs that use dynamic SQL Method 4.
sqlda5.cob This is the COMP-5 version of SQLDA.

1.6.2 Library File

The ORACLE_BASE\ORACLE_HOME \precomp\lib directory contains the library file that you use when linking Pro*COBOL applications. The library file is called orasql9.lib.

1.6.3 Known Problems, Restrictions, and Workarounds

  1. Although all Windows operating systems allow spaces in filenames and directory names, the Oracle Pro*C/C++ and Oracle Pro*COBOL precompilers will not precompile files that include spaces in the file name or directory name. For example, do not use the following formats:

    • proc iname=test one.pc

    • proc iname=d:\dir1\second dir\sample1.pc

  2. Users running PROCOB application that are not linked using /LITLINK option and failing at runtime with the error,

    Load error: file 'ORASQL8'

    need to copy orasql9.dll to orasql8.dll in the same directory where orasql9.dll exists.