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  • Writer's pictureDonald Wickham

What Windows C++ Programmers Should Know about NonStop

Updated: Dec 29, 2022

We have had many conversations with our customers regarding the challenge of finding programmers to develop NonStop applications.  COBOL isn’t being taught anymore.  Many new graduates know  C# and/or Java.  HP has been pushing Java for several years.  But for those customers who prefer Guardian,  C++ may be a good alternative modern programming language choice since Java only runs on OSS.

If you are like a lot of NonStop users, chances are you may have some Windows developers in your organization developing applications in VB, VC++ or C#. So you may ask: “Can we utilize their VC++ skills to develop NonStop applications? How can we integrate those Windows developers into the NonStop development environment? “

The answer is “Yes.” Windows programmers can learn to become productive on NonStop. Here are some common items they will need to get familiar with.

Common Operations

As I have been developing applications in C++ for the NonStop Guardian platform for over 15 years,  I’ve noticed that there are a basic set of operations that I use, over and over.

  • Handling $RECEIVE messages Windows developers need to understand that $RECEIVE is a key component of Requester/Server architecture on the NonStop.

  • Logging to the spooler, EMS and disc It is very common for NonStop applications to write output to spooler, or logging to EMS or disc files versus Windows programs writing to Event Log on the Windows platform.

  • Managing and accessing Enscribe files Unlike SQL, Enscribe is a unique NonStop concept that Windows developer will need to learn how to code for.

  • Manipulating character strings NonStop C/C++ does not have a native string class.

  • Communicating with applications on other platforms via TCP/IP Many Windows developers know how to write socket programming code. To a large degree NonStop TCP/IP is very similar to Windows, however, they are some subtle differences that programmers need to be aware of.

In general, these topics are not difficult and can be learned quite easily. Once they are mastered, they can be used over and over again in different applications. I find that I use a few skeletons as starting points.  And several of these operations lend themselves to object encapsulation.  (Encapsulation is wrapping a set of functions around one or more operations for data integrity and ease of use.) By using class objects that encapsulate the NonStop fundamentals, we believe it will be must faster to develop new NonStop applications

Want to learn more?

TIC will be offering webinars, tutorials and consulting to assist any customers who would like to know more about developing NonStop applications in C/C++.  We will also be offering example source programs, in C++:

  • Reading Enscribe files

  • Handling $RECEIVE and doing CRUD (create, read, update, delete) of Enscribe files including TMF.

  • Requester accessing Pathway serverclasses.

  • SQL query


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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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