COBOL syntax highlighting stops working

  • I’m writing a COBOL app. The syntax highlighting works for about the first half of the program and then stops - highlighting just disappears after the first few lines of the PROCEDURE DIVISION.

    I have cobol.xml and userDefinedLang.xml in my Notepad++\plugins\APIs folder.

    Has anyone got a solution?


  • @PaoloRicardo

    could you please download the cobol sample from >>> here <<<, extract it anywhere, and open DATEP.COB in notepad++ (appx. 40kb).
    scroll down to the end and compare if it looks like this screenshot:


    if DATEP.COB does not look the same, we would need your debug info.
    please go to ? > debug info... > copy debug info into clipboard and paste your contents here, as we still do not have your debug info yet, and it has been requested before.

    if DATEP.COB looks the same, and you have a specific files that show this issue, we would need a sample .cob, to try to reproduce this, in addition to your debug info.

    ps: could you please reply to one of your previous posts:
    many of us have an elephant’s memory, and might otherwise refuse to answer future questions you might have ;-)

  • Meta Chuh

    The DATEP.COB program certainly shows the highlighting as in the example, although the colours are different because I am using a different colour scheme. Sorry for not sending debug info before. I misread the post.

    Debug Info:
    Notepad++ v7.5.9 (32-bit)
    Build time : Oct 14 2018 - 15:02:52
    Path : C:\Program Files (x86)\Notepad++\notepad++.exe
    Admin mode : ON
    Local Conf mode : OFF
    OS : Windows 7 (64-bit)
    Plugins : DSpellCheck.dll mimeTools.dll NppConverter.dll NppExport.dll AnalysePlugin.dll AutoSave.dll CodeAlignmentNpp.dll NppCCompletionPlugin.dll NppEditorConfig.dll NppEventExec.dll NppExec.dll NppFavorites.dll NppFTP.dll NppHorizontalRuler.dll PluginManager.dll SourceCookifier.dll

    The program I am having difficulty with is shown below. The line where highlighting ceases is indicated by <<<<< Highlighting ceases

      *> ***************************************************************
       identification division.
       program-id. DCFApp.
      *> environment division.
      *> configuration section.
        cursor is curs-pos.
        function all intrinsic.
       input-output section.
      *>   select
      *>   assign to
      *>   organization is
      *>   .
       data division.
       file section.
      *>fd .
      *>    01 .
       working-storage section.
       copy "screenio".
       01 curs-pos.
        03 curs-line        pic 99.
        03 curs-col         pic 99.
       01 input-numbers.
        03 input-year       pic 99.
        03 input-outlay     pic x(9).
        03 input-benefits   pic x(9).
        03 input-opcosts    pic x(9).
        03 output-cashflow  pic +++,++9.99.
       01 calc-table.
        03 inv-entries occurs 11 times.
          05 inv-year       pic 99.
          05 inv-outlay     pic 9(6)v99.
          05 inv-benefits   pic  9(6)v99.
          05 inv-opcosts    pic 9(6)v99.
          05 inv-cashflow   pic s9(6)v99.
          05 inv-presvalue  pic s9(6)v99.
       01 discount-rate     pic 9(3)v99.
       01 year-sub          pic 99.
       01 posneg-flag       pic x.
         88 positiv         value "p".
         88 negativ         value "n".
       01 calc-results.
        03 inv-netpresvalue pic s9(6)v99.
        03 inv-IRR          pic s99v99.
      *> local-storage section.
      *> linkage section.
       screen section.
      *> copy "".
       procedure division.
      *> set in order to detect the PgUp, PgDn, PrtSc, Esc keys
       set environment 'COB_SCREEN_EXCEPTIONS' TO 'Y'.
       set environment 'COB_SCREEN_ESC'        TO 'Y'.
       display "DCF  Model - 10 Year Project" at 0119 
                background-color white foreground-color blue
       display "Year   Outlay     Benefits    Operating     Cashflow   
      -"  Present" at 0302   <<<<<  Highlighting ceases
       display "Costs                      Value " at 0434
       move 1 to year-sub input-year
       display " [  ] [         ] [         ]  [         ]" at 0601
      *> perform loop
       perform main-loop 10 times
       accept omitted
       stop run.
      *> sub-routines. 
      *>  move 06 to curs-line
        display input-year at 0603
        accept input-outlay at 0608
        accept input-benefits at 0620
        accept input-opcosts at 0633
        move numval(input-year) to inv-year(year-sub)
        move numval(input-outlay) to inv-outlay(year-sub)
        move numval(input-benefits) to inv-benefits(year-sub)
        move numval(input-opcosts) to inv-opcosts(year-sub)
        perform calc-cashflow *>end-perform
        move inv-cashflow(year-sub) to output-cashflow
        evaluate true
         when inv-cashflow(year-sub) is positive
          set positiv to true
          display output-cashflow at 0645 foreground-color green
         when inv-cashflow(year-sub) is negative
          set negativ to true
          display output-cashflow at 0645 foreground-color red
         perform display-year-input *>end-perform
         add 1 to input-year.
        compute inv-cashflow(year-sub) = 
         + inv-opcosts(year-sub))).
        display input-year at 0803  
        display input-outlay at 0808
        display input-benefits at 0820
        display input-opcosts at 0833
        if positiv 
         display output-cashflow at 0845 foreground-color green
        if negativ
         display output-cashflow at 0845 foreground-color red.
       end-program. DCFApp.

  • @PaoloRicardo

    this is because you have an odd number of three " double quotes in line 69/70.
    all strings have to have open and close quote or double quote pairs.

    if you instert the missing quote like this, the highlighting will work:

       display "Year   Outlay     Benefits    Operating     Cashflow   
      -"  Present"" at 0302   <<<<<  Highlighting ceases

    but i doubt that the cobol error correction will be able to run this code properly, as Present is no longer part of the string.

    does it even run for you as it is ? with 3 double quotes and one closing double quote missing ?

    note: if you want to use " as part of a string, you will e.g. have to use 'single quotes as delimiters for the whole string.

       display 'Year   Outlay     Benefits    Operating     Cashflow   
      -"  Present"' at 0302   <<<<<  Highlighting ceases

  • Mata

    The above leads to compilation errors. I have split the Display into two separate statements and have an acceptable result i.e. syntax highlighting is back.

    I realised that I did not have the most recent version of Notepad++ (7.63). Installing this now means F6 correctly brings up the NppExec dialog.

    Thanks for your help.


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