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Accounting Software Technical Features

The accounting software technical features apply the online accounting software by Legler Systems Company and influenced how the computer programs were designed for improved reliability and ease of maintenance. The accounting software is written in COBOL (COmmon Business Oriented Language) for general use in mainframe and client-server environments. Procedure DBxx refers to procedure number xx on the Database Control System menu.

The major accounting software technical features are described below:

  1. A menu driven system offers easy operator navigation to specific procedures or functions. The master menu and all system menus are displayed by the main computer program (DBSMNU) that also calls each application program based on the procedure number specified by the user. The indexed Program File (DBSPGM) relates the System-ID and procedure number of a specific application Program-ID and its location on disk (path name) to provide a menu driven system.

  2. Screen input/output operations are performed from a single sub-program (DBSSCR) that is called by each application program. The screen content of the fields displayed on the screen is defined in the indexed Format File (DBSFMT), which is organized by System-ID and Procedure-No. This indexed Format File can be changed by the user to add any special notes to a specific screen or rearrange data fields on a screen.

  3. Online Master File input/ouput operations are performed from a single sub-program (DBSIDX) that is called by each application program. The online Master File (DBSMST) is an indexed file with one primary key and five alternate keys to provide flexible and rapid access to a single data record or a group of records. This single online Master File is composed of different record types for easy operational maintenance and control.

  4. Dynamic file specification allow for easily switching to another file as defined in a Global Control Record (DB04) for maximum flexibility. Disk file locations can be changed on-the-fly, though this is generally not done. Also, the indexed support files can be located on the server or client's personal computer for optimum performance.

  5. Record level locking is provided to ensure the accuracy of accounting data in the financial system by ensuring that another user has not changed the same accounting record between the time of the query and modify function. All database update programs are designed with record level locking to support a multi-user environment.

  6. Special program edits are performed to prevent "lost updates" in a multi-user environment when more than one user queries the same accounting record at the same time to make modifications to it. The first user to change the accounting record cannot be overridden by the second user changing the same accounting record. The second user must query the changed accounting record before applying his changes to avoid this "lost update" problem of accounting data.

  7. The COBOL sort verb is used for report sorting operations where the location of the sort work file is user definable, thereby allowing for decentralized sorting on a local personal computer rather than the file server in a LAN environment.

  8. Disk access is minimized during data entry operations by storing prior codes in internal tables for subsequent verification rather than re-reading the same record over and over again.

  9. The content of any data record in the online Master File, History File (DBSHST), Transaction Log File (DBSTRN.LOG) or sequential Transfer File (DBSTFR) can be printed in character or hex format by procedure DB07.

  10. The number of detail data records stored in the online Master File depends on the disk capacity and the amount of history the user wants to see online. All records are 400 characters including the primary key and five alternate keys plus some extra space for new fields that may be added in the future. Purging of old data records from the online database (DBSMST) is initiated by the user.

  11. One common linkage parameter record (SLD500) is defined for internally passing data to and from all called sub-programs for standardization.

  12. Three source text files (DBSFMT.TXT, DBSPGM.TXT and DBSHLP.TXT) are available and easily changed using any standard text editor. For example, the online Help File (DBSHLP) can be expanded to add additional notes or special messages. The screen definitions are stored in the indexed Format File (DBSFMT) to define the data fields on the screen and their location within a data record. The indexed Program File (DBSPGM) defines the names and disk location of the computer programs that are executed when the operator enters a specific procedure number on an application menu.

  13. Provide a dump/restore capability where the dump process copies data records in the online Master File (indexed) to a backup History File (sequential) and the restore process copies data records from the backup History File to the online Master File.

  14. Accounting programs are written in structured COBOL. These computer programs are logically divided into three major sections: main-line, file and sub-routine. In each COBOL accounting program, business logic is done within PERFORM statements with the THRU option. The COPY statement is used for all data record descriptions and common sub-routines in each COBOL program.

  15. The date format can be easily changed for entry purposes as either YRMODA, MODAYR or DAMOYR with the current system date shown on the heading line as set by System-Option-36 in procedure DB03.

  16. Laser printer (HP compatible) support is provided for all reports in either landscape (12 cpi) or portrait (17 cpi) orientation. Separate Code Definition Records (DB01) with a Code-Type of "LP" define the laser printer setup codes (PCL commands) for each accounting report.

  17. Printed reports can be viewed on the terminal or personal computer, prior to physical printing when a disk file is specified as the print file name.

  18. Every data field is defined by a prompt name stored in the indexed Format File along with its relative location within the data record and a field error number.

  19. All data entered by the operator is edited for valid code, format and completeness to ensure accuracy. A computer detected error results in an error message being displayed at the bottom of the screen, so the user can easily correct the error. Invalid data is never written to the online database.

  20. The accounting software supports dynamic linking between data entry programs with a single keystroke (function key F7) when the cursor is on a data field with a red up arrowhead. Dynamic linking to existing General Notes Records (DB17) from an accounting application is done with the F7 key when the word "NOTES" appears on a data entry screen between the Trans-Code and Company-ID fields.

  21. The online help program DBSHLP is called from sub-program DBSSCR and has a Help Window size of either 78 characters wide by 11 rows (78x11) or 78 characters wide by 22 rows (78x22) depending on the setting of the "Error Option" field for each user in procedure DB08.

  22. Whenever function key F1 is pressed, a field help window is displayed containing help message about the field the cursor is on. For error messages, a description of the error and the steps to correct the error are shown in the user error window (same as the field help window) when the F1 key is pressed.

  23. A number of user options are specified in the User Control Record (DB08), such as set the screen color codes for background color and foreground color, display of real-time dashboards, show dollar sign ($) in all dollar amount fields and define the help window screen colors. These user options can be different for each user.

  24. Any report procedure can be aborted during online processing by pressing the ESC key. Function key F10 exits any screen and returns to the application menu.

  25. Online Master File records can be selected by system date range and written to an external Export File (comma separated values) for import to another external computer application using procedure DB05. Procedure DB18 provides a more robust import and export capability.

  26. Up to three independent sequential number counters (SEQNO) are defined in the Company Control Record (DB03) for use in assigning voucher numbers, invoice numbers, customer order numbers and Name-ID numbers to avoid duplicate numbers when adding new data records to the online database. These sequential number counters can be reset by the operator.

  27. Most modules provide for auxiliary input capability of fixed format records in a sequential Transfer File (DBSTFR) for initial file creation or processing input transactions created by other external computer applications.

  28. Multiple companies (up to eight) can be defined in one online database, since the Company-ID field is part of the primary key.

  29. The same application programs that access the online database on hard disk are used to access historical data on CD-ROM or USB to avoid duplicate programs. The accounting software is designed to provide both hard disk and removable disk (CD-ROM and USB) data access support.

  30. All application procedures for a specific accounting system (module) are defined on the application menu where each procedure corresponds to a separate application sub-program.

  31. Data record I/O counts can be displayed on the message line when printing management reports online as set by System-Option-14 in procedure DB03.

  32. When converting from uppercase letters to lowercase letters and vice versa, both ASCII coding and IBM EBCDIC coding is supported. System-Option-07 (value 6 or 7) in procedure DB03 sets the conversion logic to EBCDIC coding. ASCII stands for American Standard Code for Information Interchange where each character is represented by 7 bits. EBCDIC stands for Extended Binary Coded Decimal Interchange where each character is represented by 8 bits and is used primarily on IBM computers.

  33. Numeric data (dates, dollar amounts, etc.) is stored in binary format (COMPUTATIONAL or COMP in COBOL) for faster performance and added security. For example, 32-bit computations on a pc using binary data (COMP) is 5x faster than packed data (COMP-3) and 6x faster than numeric data (display). To support different 32-bit cobol compilers, the size of binary data fields have been standardized to 9(4) COMP (2-bytes), 9(8) COMP (4-bytes), 9(7)v99 COMP (4-bytes) or 9(15)V99 COMP (8-bytes).

  34. The active keyboard function keys, ESC key, return key and left mouse click terminate the cobol ACCEPT statement.

  35. Report sorting, Transfer File sorting and IBM AIX system call to Unix chmod command are in separate copy members (SLP320, SLP330 and SLP310) that are referenced by most application sub-programs.

  36. To support 32-bit COBOL applications with dynamic load library executables, a new OPR-SYS-PARM value of "WIN" (.dll) is defined in addition to "DOS" (.exe) for 16-bit programs and "AIX" (.gnt) for Unix programs. Additional screen color codes are available with the 32-bit executable code.

More Information on the Software Technical Features:

To receive additional information on the Legler Systems online accounting software, e-mail Bill Legler in the San Francisco Bay Area, California or go to the Online Business Accounting Software Overview page.

Version 11.8 (2018). All rights reserved by Legler Systems Company.