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LongEx Mainframe Quarterly - May 2014

technical: How to Check If You Have The Right Source

Confirming that you have the right source code used to create a load module is a problem too often encountered. Ideally source code management software such as CA Endevor will do this for us, connecting source to modules. However sometimes this isn't an option. So how can you confirm that your source and modules correspond? There's good news, and there's bad news. The bad news is that we can't do this. The good news is that we can get close. Here's how.


The first step is to compare the dates of the source and module. So if you have a module compiled on 01-Jan-2015, and source last saved on 01-Jan-2015, that's a good sign. The date source code was last saved can often be found in the DSLIST of the PDS holding the source code.

BROWSE            DSTEP.SOURCE                         Row 00001 of 0001
Command ===>                                              Scroll ===> CSR
           Name     Prompt    Size   Created          Changed         ID 
_________ COBOL3                45  2014/02/25  2014/02/25 22:08:50 DSTEP

This gives you the date each PDS was created and changed. In our case the member COBOL3 was last updated in 25-Feb-2014. If you're lucky enough to have your source code in SCM, then the SCM features will show this to you. However the date a source member was last saved isn't a guaranteed value for the date the source was last updated. The member may have been copied in from somewhere else, or saved with no changes. Another option is to look at the program source. Often programmers will include the date source was updated in comments.

The load module is a bit more difficult. Unless you're a systems programmer writing exits, most code will be application code. When compiled, the final load module will include the application module, and several other modules automatically. For example, COBOL, C/C++ and PL/I load modules always include Language Environment modules, SAS/C load modules SAS/C modules, and programs accessing CICS or DB2 some CICS or DB2 modules. You may also find some of your own included modules. So we need to isolate our program module from the rest in the load module.

Our weapon of choice is the IBM supplied batch utility AMBLIST. Run AMBLIST with the SYSIN


This will list IDR data for this member. IDR data can be thought of as notes for a module. Almost all compilers include information about the date it was compiled and the compiler. Here's some example output:

   CSECT        TRANSLATOR     VR.MD             YR/DY
   COBOL3       5655S7100      41.00           2014/056
   IGZCBSO      569623400      01.04           2004/068
                PL/X-390       02.02           2004/068
   CEESG005     569623400      01.04           2004/068
                PL/X-390       02.02           2004/068
   CEESTART     569623400      01.04           2004/072
   CEEBLLST     569623400      01.04           2004/072
   CEEBTRM      569623400      01.04           2004/072
   CEEBETBL     569623400      01.04           2004/072
   CEEBPUBT     569623400      01.04           2004/072
   CEEBINT      569623400      01.04           2004/071
                PL/X-390       02.01           2004/071
   CEEARLU      569623400      01.04           2004/071
                PL/X-390       02.01           2004/072
   CEEBPIRA     569623400      01.04           2004/072
                PL/X-390       02.01           2004/072
   CEECPYRT     569623400      01.04           2004/072
                PL/X-390       02.01           2004/072

We can see that there are a lot of modules in our load module. The ones starting with CEE are Language Environment modules, IGZ Enterprise COBOL modules. Our program COBOL3 is at the top. It was compiled on day 056 in 2014: 25-Feb-2014. This is the same day as our source. So there's a good chance we have a matching module and source. Products like IBM FileManager, IBM Debug Tool, or Serena StarTool DA show this information online without needing a batch AMBLIST job.

Module Size

Another possibility is to recompile our source code, and compare module sizes. We could even do a byte-by-byte comparison of the two modules.

Recompiling is a bit more difficult, as we need to recompile our source in exactly the same way: the exact same compiler and version. If you compile a program with the COBOL II compiler and Enterprise COBOL compiler, the output will be different. Even different versions of the same compiler can product different modules. So the first thing is to find out which compiler was used. Our IDRDATA can help again. In the above data, our module COBOL3 was compiled using version 41 of 5655S7100. This last number is the IBM product code: 5655-S71 with two zeroes at the end: IBM Enterprise COBOL 4.1. In our article Find Out More About Your Load Module, we discuss load modules in some more detail.

We also need to compile with exactly the same COBOL compile options. Getting compiler options can be difficult. If you have IBM Debug Tool, you can use the Load Module Analyzer to get compiler options for some compilers:

5655-W70   Debug Tool Version 12 Release 1.2  Load Module Analyzer 
          Load Module  DZS.LOAD(CICSPGM)  AMODE(31),RMODE(ANY)          
CSECT   Offset Len/Ent  Program-ID  Trn-Date    Program-Descriptio
CICPGM1      0     A40   5655W32    2015/01/07  Enterprise COBOL f
                         LEINFO=(COBOL,V05R01M01 2015/01/07 02:52:
                         COMPOPTS:    ADV          AFP(VOLATILE)  
                         NOAWO        NOBLOCK0     NOCICS
                         DBCS         NODECK       DISPSIGN(COMPAT)
                         NODYNAM      NOEXPORTALL  NOFASTSRT
                         MAP          NOMDECK      NONAME
                         NOOFFSET     NOOPTFILE    OPTIMIZE(0)
                         RENT         RMODE(ANY)   SEQUENCE
                         SQLCCSID     NOSSRANGE    NOSTGOPT
                         TRUNC(STD)   NOVBREF      NOWORD

Other tools such as Serena StarTool FDM, Prince Load Analyzer, Edge Portfolio Analyzer and GSF LOADXREF can also help. The CBT website also has a sample program for determining compile options of some older COBOL compilers in file 552.

From here we compile our source into a different library, and compare the load modules. However we need to only compare our module. We ignore the Language Environment, CICS and other modules as they may have changed: few sites have access to older versions of Language Environment or similar modules. Again, AMBLIST comes to the rescue. Using the LISTLOAD OUTPUT=MODLIST, we can get a listing of our module:

RECORD# 1  TYPE 20 - CESD     ESDID 1        ESD SIZE 240     
      1    COBOL3    00(SD)   000000   07         1672      
      2    IGZCBSO   00(SD)   000778   06         1392      
      3    CEESTART  00(SD)   0006C8   07          176      
      4    CEEBETBL  00(SD)   0006A0   07           40      
      5    CEESG005  00(SD)   000688   07           24      
      6    CEEBXITA  0A(WX)   000000                           
      7    CEEBINT   00(SD)   0012D0   07            8      
      8    CEEBLLST  00(SD)   001270   07           92      
      9    CEEUOPT   0A(WX)   000000                         
     10    CEEBTRM   00(SD)   0011C8   07          164      
     11    CEEBPUBT  00(SD)   001158   07          112      
     12    IEWBLIT   0A(WX)   000000                             
     13    CEEMAIN   0A(WX)   000000                             
     14    CEEFMAIN  0A(WX)   000000                             
     15    CEEROOTA  0A(WX)   000000                             
RECORD# 2  TYPE 20 - CESD     ESDID 16       ESD SIZE 240     
     16    CEEROOTD  0A(WX)   000000                          
     17    CEEINT    03(LR)   000D98   06           21      

The first records of a traditional load module are the CESD records: an index to the modules in a load module. Our COBOL3 is at the top, and is 1672 bytes in length. So if the new and old modules are the same length, the chances are that they're the same module. You can also compare the modules AMBLIST can dump out the module contents. IBM Debug Tool also includes a load module comparison utility.

Analyse the Load Module

A final possibility is to look more closely at the load module, and compare it to your source. This sounds crazy, as they look nothing alike. However there is information to be found. It won't give us everything, but can be used when choosing between different source code versions.

For example, using AMBLIST, you can get a list of all modules in a load module, including any included modules. Suppose we have one source that includes one module, and a second that includes two. Or one that includes MODA, and another that includes MODB. Using AMBLIST, we can see the included modules, and instantly determine which source we need. Constants are another option. We can find constant values such as strings in a load module by browsing it. Consider the following output from a load module browse:

BROWSE    DSTEP.LOADLIB(COBOL3)            Line 00000000 Col 301 380
Command ===>                                              Scroll ===> CSR 
******************************** Top of Data ****************************


******************************* Bottom of Data **************************

And the corresponding COBOL source:

PROCEDURE DIVISION.                                 
    DISPLAY "COBOL3 STARTING"                       
    IF   INPUT-NAME = " "                           
        MOVE "(NO NAME)" TO INPUT-NAME              
        DISPLAY "NO INPUT NAME"                     
        DISPLAY "DEFAULT NAME INPUT"                
        MOVE "(HAVE NAME)" TO INPUT-NAME            
    MOVE "(END NAME)" TO INPUT-NAME                 
    DISPLAY "COBOL3 ENDING".                        

Constants we use in our COBOL program are in clear text in our load module. Again, if we have two versions of a module: one with messages in English, another in Spanish, then a simple browse can determine which corresponds to a load module.

Other load module attributes can be similarly used, such as AMODE and RMODE, or even compile options.


The fact is that it is almost impossible to confirm that a particular source code was used to generate a load module. The only sure way is to recompile the source, and compare the resulting module with the original. However the source must be recompiled with the same compiler and version, compiler options, and copybooks and includes. In many cases this isn't an option. Outside of this, there are several ways to get a good estimate by analysing the load module and its corresponding source.

David Stephens

LongEx Quarterly is a quarterly eZine produced by Longpela Expertise. It provides Mainframe articles for management and technical experts. It is published every November, February, May and August.

The opinions in this article are solely those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of any other person or organisation. All trademarks, trade names, service marks and logos referenced in these articles belong to their respective companies.

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