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  • Writer's pictureDonald Wickham

Desktop Development for NonStop Introduction

Updated: Dec 5, 2023

Many years ago I switched from editing and compiling programs on a NonStop server to using Windows™ desktop tools.  Once those tools were available, I found it both faster and much easier.  Using EDIT, TEDIT or VI when I was used to editing on my PC was such a pain.  At the time I started using the desktop cross-compilers, compiling on a NonStop was so much slower (Cyclone, EXP and K systems back then.)  And, although the newer S and now Itanium systems are so much faster, cross-compiling still makes lots of sense.

Some of the benefits I’ve found of using the desktop cross-compilers:

  • Compilation is much faster and errors jump to the location in the source file with just a click of the mouse.  Compiling of very large source files complete in seconds.

  • Color-keying of reserved words, auto-tabbing and other “intelligent” editor features, like Intellisense (the editor anticipating what you are typing), reduces errors and speeds development.

  • Compiler/linker settings are done with dialog boxes which are self-explanatory.

  • Shared directories of libraries and code including source control are readily available.

  • Debugging using a GUI tool (Visual Inspect) is a huge benefit, especially now that eInspect is so different from inspect.  Visual Inspect works with K, S and Itanium systems and looks just the same for all of them.

  • Moving files back and forth to the NonStop using a GUI ftp client is very easy and fast.  (I’ve been using WS FTP Pro for years.)

  • Programs can be developed for Guardian or OSS and libraries, DLLs can also be created.

  • NMCobol, pTal and C/C++ languages can be used.

My first experience with desktop cross-compiling was using TDS (Tandem Development Suite.)  (Integrating the cross-compilers with Borland C++ was one of the projects I had worked on at Tandem back then.)   I was developing Server Object Gateway (SOG) at the time.  Using TDS on my desktop I was able to develop my portions of SOG at a pace orders of magnitude faster than doing it just on the NonStop server.

TDS was built on Borland’s C++ development suite.  Tandem had talked to Microsoft about integrating with Visual C++, version 5 at the time, but they weren’t interested.  Several years later, when Visual Studio .NET came out, the cross-compliers were integrated with VS.NET and ETK was born.  I use both ETK and TDS since we have to build some of our applications to work on K systems and ETK doesn’t support D48.

HP has decided to migrate from VS.NET to Eclipse.  I’ve done a bit of testing but still use ETK and TDS.  Perhaps I’ll give some comparisons in a future blog.

In my next blog on Desktop Cross-Compiling, I’ll show some examples and share some tips.


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Donald Wickham has 31 years experience with Nonstop including 20 years for Tandem, Compaq and HP. He has been with TIC Software for 11 years in the role of Chief Architect.


TIC Software, a New York-based company specializing in software and services that integrate NonStop with the latest technologies, including Web Services, .NET and Java. Prior to founding TIC in 1983, Phil worked for Tandem Computer in technical support and software development.




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