The company decided to Unicode-enable one of its products as a strategic initiative for Globalization. The present project is for entering the Chinese market. The project involves two phases:

(a) Software modifications
(b) Regression, Functionality and Integration Testing

The modifications to the software make it possible to acquire, store, and retrieve data seamlessly in both,Chinese and English languages. This feature is relevant for alphanumeric data. Every Unicode-enabled field takes twice the original storage. Therefore, only some of the fields were Unicode-enabled, for example, the fields that would store information like the names of people, the descriptions of items, addresses, search words, etc.

Changes to Physical Files are required for storing the Chinese language data. The data type of the field changes from CHARACTER to GRAPHICAL (CCSID 1200). Unicode-enablement is relatively new and IBM is not yet fully geared up to seamlessly support Unicode in applications developed using RPGLE & CLLE Hence, Logical Files, Display Files, and Printer Files, and RPGLE & CLLE programs also need modifications. We used X-Analysis tool developed by Databorough for the Unicode conversion process. The tool automated some of the modifications, but the more complex changes had to be handled manually.

This project involved about 800 Physical Files (PF), 900 Logical Files (LF), 800 Display Files (DSPF), 700 Printer Files (PRTF), and more than 2000 programs. IBM does not provide Unicode support for legacy Printer Files that use O-specs. We converted about 200 programs to use external printer files instead of O-specs.