TSG Software has a great deal of experience helping clients convert from legacy database technologies to modern RDBMS platforms, including the conversion of any applications written in 4th Generation languages (4GL) to more contemporary languages, and the adaptation of any applications in standard programming languages to directly access the new relational database.

Included in that coverage is Adabas and Natural from Software AG (SAG).


With many traditional 4GL (Fourth Generation Language) conversions, we convert the 4GL programs directly into functionally equivalent COBOL programs.  This is a great approach if the 4GL is simple and straightforward, as this means the converted COBOL will be well structured and maintainable. However, with Natural programs, the language has enormous capability and flexibility, which means that the converted programs can be very complex.

So, converting Natural programs to COBOL, and then maintaining the converted COBOL is not a great idea.

In addition, many Natural Adabas installations have thousands of programs, and the developers have a great deal of expertise and knowledge of these programs.

So, the optimum solution is to leave the programs looking exactly as they are today, exactly the same Natural syntax, and to provide a new Natural Development Workbench, which provides application and program analysis capabilities, and a context sensitive Natural syntax editor.

Finally, we need the final production code to NOT require a licence from SAG to use.

Welcome to ATP.

ATP incorporates an application Analysis tool, and also the Smart Editor for Natural programs. It is PC Windows based and a superb product !

The ATP editor is specifically built to work on programs which are using the same Natural syntax as the original Natural programs, BUT, it also has the ability to convert these programs at save time, into either COBOL, COBOL CICS, or C#.

ATP also includes an interactive execution mode, which means that the Natural programs can be written and tested against a local database, before any conversion is performed.



Clients like flexibility, and we provide that.

With the solution from TSG, you have a choice of Target platforms for the dev, test and production systems. We can also take the Natural and Adabas applications based on z/OS, and redeploy to Windows or Linux, and we can likewise take the Natural and Adabas applications based on Linux and Windows, and redeploy to z/OS.

IBM Mainframe (z/OS)

If your execution environment is an IBM Mainframe running z/OS, then we would convert the ADABAS Database into DB2.  (See ‘for the technically minded’ below, for more details).

For the Natural programs, ATP would convert them into Cobol CICS for Online, and COBOL for Batch programs.

All Natural components are converted, including programs and subprograms, maps and local, global and parameter data area definitions.

Both Batch and Online Natural programs would continue to be maintained and edited as Natural programs, within the ATP toolkit, as stated above.

For the other traditional programs that were accessing the Adabas database, e.g. COBOL, PL1, assembler, they would now be calling the new DB2 database via a Data Access Layer (DAL) which would provide total transparency for the application code.  This technique means that these programs are not touched or changed, AT ALL.  This approach saves clients’ money and time, as this means that these standard language programs do not need retesting, only the DAL needs testing.


For the Windows platforms, the Adabas database is converted to SQL Server, Oracle or DB2.

The Natural programs are converted to C# for batch and C#.net for online.  The traditional programs such as COBOL or PL1 will need to be converted to C# or will require a run time environment, such as Microfocus or Clerity.  For code in assembler, this will need conversion to C or COBOL.


For the Linux platforms, the Adabas database is converted to SQL Server, Oracle or DB2.

At this time we do not have a ‘convert to Java’ option within ATP, so there are two solutions for the conversion of Natural code for a Linux environment.
The first would be to use the ATP toolset and use the ‘Natural to COBOL’ conversion option, as used in the mainframe environment, along with a run time environment such as Microfocus or Clerity.  This would provide a robust and reliable execution environment.

We can also provide a one-time conversion of Natural to Java, but this would mean that you would then have to maintain the Java code directly, and you would not to be able to take advantage of ATP as a Natural language Development Workbench.



Adabas is automatically converted to a fully relational form, as DB2, SQL Server or Oracle.

The analysis capabilities of ATP will provide a system wide view of the applications.

All code maintenance is carried out using ATP, with the programs remaining the Natural Syntax.

Using ATP, the code is converted at save time to COBOL, COBOL CICS or C#.



ADABAS Migration
We use a proven automated conversion for ADABAS databases to any of the major RDBMS (IBM DB2, Oracle, SQL Server) The new database will provide a complete replacement for all ADABAS database functionality.


Database Definition
Based on the characteristics and functionality of the original ADABAS database, we provide a functionally complete fully relational replacement. The DDL to create this new database is generated by automated conversion routines, creating all required primary keys, foreign keys, index definitions and constraints.

Data Conversion
Fast and efficient COBOL routines are provided to unload the ADABAS data to the correct format for the relational database load utility, and the customised JCL to run these.

Other optional deliverables are control cards for the relational database data LOAD process, control cards for RI checking, control cards for RUNSTATS processing and DCLGEN control cards for the generation of COBOL layouts of the tables.

Due to the automated nature of the database conversion, it is possible to tailor the deliverables to match the customer requirements.

Table, column, table space and index names can be customised to reflect site naming standards, rules based data cleansing can be built into the data extract routines and date fields can be manipulated to allow use of relational DATE data type. In addition several options to customise the data definitions are available.

Since a complete understanding of the ADABAS database and how the new relational database relates to it is key, a wealth of documentation is produced as part of the migration process.

This documentation is invaluable to both the customer and TSG and includes complete Entity Relationship Model (ERM) diagrams for the relational databases, matrices relating records to tables, elements to columns, ADABAS files to extract programs, etc., in addition to many other standard and ad-hoc reports.

Natural Conversion
Natural Batch applications are converted by ATP to COBOL or C# for execution on a variety of platforms.
Natural online applications can be converted to efficient and functionally equivalent CICS/Cobol or C# .NET using an automated process within ATP. The resulting C# and COBOL applications are multi-tiered; made up of;  User Interface, Business Logic and full-feature SQL-based Data Access layers.

All Natural components are converted, including programs and subprograms, maps, and local, global and parameter data area definitions. All ADABAS database access is converted to process against the new relational database. Due to the automated nature of the process, a large degree of customisation is possible.

The ATP Developers Workbench is feature rich, offering code analysis, flow diagramming, impact analysis, pattern matching, version comparison and interactive debugging.  
Application code written in other languages that access the existing Adabas Database can easily be converted, (usually without modification), to access the new relational database.

Natural Utilities
Replacements for the utilities Natural utilities such as Entire Operations, Entire System Server, EntireX, Natural Construct, Natural Security, and Com-plete are available as part of the conversion.