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Process XML Documents Within COBOL and DB2

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a continuing series on XML, DB2 and COBOL development on z/OS.

I remember first hearing about XML and using XML with DB2* for Linux*, UNIX* and Windows* (LUW) in early 2001. XML use has grown exponentially since then, and DB2 technology now provides the capability to parse and store XML in its native form.

Some people view XML as the universal format for sharing data among applications. Any application, running on any platform, using any database or file system can process data, as long as that application understands how to process XML. IBM understands applications won’t move to XML if they don’t perform well. That’s why IBM has been working vigorously to bring robust and efficient XML support to the z/OS* platform and delivered native XML data type with DB2 9 for z/OS.

Many of the world’s businesses run on z/OS—with applications written in COBOL and processing data in Virtual Storage Access Method (VSAM), DB2 and Information Management System (IMS*). IBM realizes companies want to easily share data from these legacy systems with Internet-based systems running on many platforms. Service orientated architecture (SOA) and XML form the core to a robust and flexible solution.

Long-time z/OS developers are busy supporting legacy applications written in COBOL and processing data stored in VSAM files, DB2 or IMS. These developers must learn XML and how to process XML documents. I’ll provide a brief explanation of XML, how to process XML documents stored in files within a COBOL program and how to process XML documents stored in DB2.

Troy L. Coleman is an IBM-certified Certified database administrator, specializing in DB2 9 for z/OS and Linux, UNIX and Windows. Troy can be reached at

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