New Tool Looks for Y2K "Hot Spots" in RPG

If you feel confident about the latest Year 2000 renovations to your RPG application code, you may want to run it past the engineers at DRI Legasys Group (Oakville, Ontario). "Send us your application code -- we'll check it, and if we don't find any errors, it's free," invites Douglas Archibald, CEO of Design Recovery Inc, part of the DRI Legasys Group (Oakville, Ontario). Of course, DRI Legasys will charge for date deficiencies it does find, he adds. "We have found that a high percentage of code, thought to be Y2K compliant, contains errors," Archibald says.

Along with code inspection services, DRI Legasys recently positioned its LS/2000 toolset as a Year 2000 remediation tool. By running remediated code against a tool such as LS/2000, a company can shorten the testing cycle by a factor of 30, Archibald claims. LS/2000, designed for systems written in RPG, COBOL and PL/I, was recently launched in Britain. The product is remarketed in the United States as QA2000 from PRT International (New York) and Format 2000 from Format 2000 Inc. (Toronto), and in Canada by IBM Canada Ltd. Legasys DRI wants to license the toolset to vendors interested in offering Year 2000 remediation and inspection services, Archibald says.

LS/2000 is part of a new and growing class of Year 2000 programs that are being promoted as a way to inspect code following conversion and prior to testing. "We believe Y2K code inspection and auditing services will become increasingly attractive to large users in 1998 and 1999, with numerous competitors entering the market by mid-1998," states a report from Meta Group (Stamford, Conn.). "Bugs are five to ten times costlier to fix after code has been put back into production."

LS/2000 -- which runs on the RS/6000 -- zeros in on specific date-oriented "hot spots" -- typically less than half a percent of the code base, Archibald says. Also, the LS/2000 system can automatically convert over 95% of hot spots, substantially reducing conversion and testing costs.

LS/2000 Year 2000 hot spots include date constants, comparisons, arithmetic statements and other operations in programs that may be sensitive to the Year 2000 problem. In general, these are computations involving date fields with two-digit year encodings, although some operations on other date fields may also be sensitive. LS/2000 employs a sliding window technique to code remediation, which, at this point, is the only feasible option available, he points out.

The RPG-AS/400 functionality in the toolset "almost came to us by accident, because many of our initial customers were Canadian banks that used AS/400s," Archibald relates. LS/2000 was originally written 10 years ago as part of a design recovery software package for legacy systems. Implementations include The Royal Bank of Canada, Bank of Nova Scotia and the Toronto Dominion Bank. LS/2000 has taken up the slack of manual efforts that were formerly underway at Royal Bank of Canada, according to Ronald O'Donoughue, manager of project Year 2000 at Royal Bank of Canada. At the Bank of Nova Scotia, the reporting aspect of LS/2000 helped keep staff updated with day-to-day progress and potential issues during conversion, reports Gordon Jang, VP of Year 2000 project and operations.