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what is a dbl data base on a unix box written in a mixture of cobol and fortran legacy project

Hi
I have been handed a legacy project that has being abandoned by the original designer as he is retiring and wants no more to do with it so i am inheriting the system it ws designed some 22 years ago so its a system that looks like a db3 dos system.
i have spoken to him once and he said that the db is written in dbl and that the program is written in a mixture of cobol and fortran so he said.
the whole lots sits on a unix box which happens to be un-seeable on via windows explorer,
now i do not want to play too much on the network i am not a unix boffin, but do have access to the back ups which i am guessing hold the DBL files which hold the data files that i wish to access.
********************  what i need
so what i need to do, is to access the dbl tables in the unix section or off the backups and get access to these tables and then extract the information out of them so that i can rebuild the system that i will be building, but first i need to see the tables and then go from there.
so not being a unix person you can see what  i need
i know that dbl is supposed to to be short for data base language but thats it not sure that the guy was not leading e down the garden path as he has the system hidden from the client for the last couple of decades with the support guy the only one that has the remote dial in for the network so
what do you think can you lend me in the right direction
thanks for any help in advance
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sydneyguy
Asked:
sydneyguy
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14 Comments
 
arnoldCommented:
What are the backups, TAR,gz, tgz, gz, files?
Thinking you can restore backups even if possible in windows and see the data is ........
You have to see the data/setup in the environment presumably you will be migrating to something different that you can manage.
Now the issue is do you have a clear and complete picture what this thing is supposed to do and the logic that was developed over the years.

These types of transitions where there is no clear business process .. you .....

Do you have a way to have the support guy outline what support tasks are provided and whether said individual knows has a way to export the data from the DBL
Dothe designer/support have written documents on the app/schema.........?
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sydneyguyAuthor Commented:
What are the backups, TAR,gz, tgz, gz, files?    a..  ther server its elf tapes and a hard drive back up
You have to see the data/setup in the environment presumably you will be migrating to something different that you can manage. .....
----- -this is my area if i can see the tables i can usually put humpty back together again but saying that until i can see the data i can then see what i am up against and have some idea of what i need to do to export and put the system back together  again in the new format ....
i do not have any documents on the schema  or how the data relates to each other, and speaking quickly to the guy he was not to forthcoming in bringing forward this information, so lets so no.
as for support from the guy that did the original design, i would say probably he has the attitude that i no longer want to support the product but do not want any one else working with the data, even though the data is the client information.
not having played with unix systems i do not even know if i found one of the tables that has the data does it read say into note pad, so i can see the data
but this is my next stop
unix in this area is new to me
any ideas
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gheistCommented:
You can transfer file to a modern linux or cygwin and try determining DBL file format using 'file' command.
Cobol and fortran are both alive and well nowadays (though some minor restructuring might be needed to compile with recent compilers)
DBL file is windows offline activation nowadays, so you have to search using methods pre-dating google.
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sydneyguyAuthor Commented:
what extentision do the dbl database table files use or are there many different types
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arnoldCommented:
How does the client access the data, work your way through the process this way noting where you are going and what you are doing.
I.e. what is the access to the interface/application. To replicate you have to maintain functionality. Unfortunately, in a situation such as this, you would have to make one change at a time, while maintaining the old setup.
Do you have access into the linux/unix system?
What OS is it running uname -a?

Not sure how they use cobol/fortran and which and how this person chose to store/arrange the data.......

login in and without making change look around, this is likely a terminal window similar to the dos/command window under windows.
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gheistCommented:
Hi sydneyguy - we ask you to determine file structure. We are not good at remote sensing. File extension alone yields exactly NOTHING.
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sydneyguyAuthor Commented:
its not that i am trying to hide any thing from you guys it that i dont have that information,
for all i know the guy may have been telling me a stack of hueey as well but what i do know is that
the log in is through some sort of unix shortcut, will find out more about that but from there it goes to a dos looking log in screen
username then password then it goes to a dos looking screen with 30 odd items  on it type in a number and the dos screen with the info on it ect
the file structure is at present on the unix partition which i cannot see as i am not a unix person and not even sure how to access the unix box as i am a windows person.
I am not interested in the actural code of the system as i am going to rebuild the whole system, i really just need the data to migrate and give my self an idea on how it holds together.
the program its self live on the c://drive on the pc but its all compiled and there is no source or configurtion info in th edir that i found useful
.....................
we ask you to determine file structure. We are not good at remote sensing. File extension alone yields exactly NOTHING.
not sure how to look at the file structure as its on the unix section that at the moment i cannot see and not sure how to even look at it thats why i was thinking of looking at the backups maybe i could see them there......
...................
login in and without making change look around, this is likely a terminal window similar to the dos/command window under windows.
... there is an extra options that i have not looked at, it is a terminal window as you suggested but could not see any menus taking you to the schema ect. there is no informaion in the provided manual about any of this information ect.
........................
Not sure how they use cobol/fortran and which and how this person chose to store/arrange the data......
.. this may be just talk as well to give me a hard time but in the end i dont really care as i am just trying to export the data to have a look at it
.......................
Do you have access into the linux/unix system?
...   have no unix file explorer like windows not even sure what to use to see unix using the windows enviroment
What OS is it running uname -a?  running on windows 7

does any of this make sense are we heading in the right direction
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arnoldCommented:
"Rebuilding the whole thing" without having a blue-print of what that means to the client could potentially run into an overlooked/function/feature leading to or causing major headache to you in the event those features/functionality .....
Getting an overview from the client what tasks they run, the purpose, etc, to build a picture ..........

Look at the shortcut, what command does it run? Is it a windows based app, or is it running one of the various ssh/telnet clients to the UNIX system?

Exploring the linux/UNIX system in a terminal window uses commands such as:
ls - list contents similar to dir
cd -change directory
more -text viewer
 file -command to identify file type file somefile
What is the OS, uname -a?

At times, a system has graphical components that can be "sent" back to the workstation using X-Windows x11tunnel in an ssh tunnel.
If the connection/shortcut is an ssh connection, (xming is a Windows X-Windows application, Cygwin is a UNIX/Linux like environment that can be setup on Windows ... That you could use to explore/learn UNIX.... Creating a VM with a Linux/UNIX environment .......
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tliottaCommented:
If it's what is currently commonly known as "DBL", it shouldn't be 22 yrs old. DBL was developed with initial release in 2010, six years ago.

the program its self live on the c://drive on the pc but its all compiled and there is no source or configurtion info in th edir that i found useful
And the "program" is what? If it's on the C: drive, it's not UNIX. It seems that the "program" would only be Windows code that communicates with DBL that's implemented on UNIX. But at one point you refer to a "unix partition". Elsewhere you refer to "unix box".

Can you clarify at all what hardware and OSs you're actually working with? Exactly how do access "the program"? Does it auto-start? Desktop icon? Something else?
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sydneyguyAuthor Commented:
And the "program" is what? If it's on the C: drive, it's not UNIX. It seems that the "program" would only be Windows code that communicates with DBL that's implemented on UNIX. But at one point you refer to a "unix partition". Elsewhere you refer to "unix box".
... the short cuticon goes to a program on the c drive, i am guessing this is the cobol/fortran or what ever (he could have been speaking rubish for all i know) but it does live on the c drive,
as for the unix partition or box, i am not a unix user so it the server has a unix partition or is on a seperate drive i have no idea as i cannot see whats on the drive with windows explorer, this is why i have been asking newby questions as i am not sure how and which direction to move in i am going back for another look at the structure with the information that i have now ben given, and go from there,
am taking a punt that its DBL so he said but then the system is over 20 years ond but some one said that dbl has only been around for the past 10 years so not sure whats happening there
any pointers oooon which direction to go in
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sydneyguyAuthor Commented:
Exploring the linux/UNIX system in a terminal window uses commands such as:
ls - list contents similar to dir
cd -change directory
more -text viewer
 file -command to identify file type file somefile
What is the OS, uname -a?
.............................................
i do not really want too sit on the persons machine and learn unix but putting on commands and seeing what it does,
not too profesional and runs a chance of breaking the machine, not what i wish to try

At times, a system has graphical components that can be "sent" back to the workstation using X-Windows x11tunnel in an ssh tunnel.
If the connection/shortcut is an ssh connection, (xming is a Windows X-Windows application, Cygwin is a UNIX/Linux like environment that can be setup on Windows ... That you could use to explore/learn UNIX.... Creating a VM with a Linux/UNIX environment .......

would it be better to build a unix/linux machine or like type to figure out how to use it and manipulate thesystem
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arnoldCommented:
You could do that, but I am certain that the only way to find out what that system is is to check it out.
What would you advise a person in the reverse circumstance, I.e. A UNIX/Linux person is facing the prospects of managing a window system with which they are unfamiliar?
The system does not bite. Your initial access is to gather information on what the system is and what is running one it.
You might be surprised that it is using MySQL or postresql as the backend to the .............



Perhaps all the talk about cool. Fortran is to dissuade you from taking on this project or to prank you.
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tliottaCommented:
If you can't "see" into a partition with Explorer, it's not clear how the programs that you're running (in Windows) can use anything in that partition and it remains not visible.

If an OS is active in the partition, it might allow exporting over NFS. Windows could then use NFS to 'mount' the exported directory over one of its directories. The UNIX directory could then be seen by looking into the Windows directory over which its mounted. But it needs a UNIX (or Linux) OS running from the partition, and that's difficult if Windows is already running. It could work well enough if the database is on a different system. You could verify if NFS is installed under Windows utilities.

Then there's Ext2 Installable File System For Windows. You should be able to see it under 'Add/Remove Programs' in Widows. AFAIK, it's free software. Also, ExtFS for Windows® Free, but I haven't seen it used nor looked at it enough to know how it might be installed. It's purchased licensed product. Both can give read/write capability; not sure about any others. There are various others that are for read-only.

Does the UNIX (or is it Linux?) partition boot?
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gheistCommented:
You can mount disk clone in a virtual machine without impacting original.
NetBSD may have more archaic filesystem support than linux.
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