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ESL is a visual development tool for building workstation applications that can interact with mainframes, servers and databases using a wide variety of protocols. ESL is used worldwide in high-performance, production, mission-critical, client/server applications.

The visual tools support a rapid application development model while the underlying ESL language provides the benefits of scalability and maintainability.

ESL is well suited to large organizations that need to build complex mission-critical, multi-layered applications. ESL provides:

  1. GUI tools for designing & building the user interface
  2. Efficient access to enterprise wide databases
  3. Robust, optimised, integration of PCs, hosts, servers and networks
  4. Application partitioning between client and server
  5. Adaptive architecture based on the requirements of your application
  6. Seamless access to popular desktop applications
  7. Integration of new or existing C, C++, C#, vb.net and COBOL code
  8. Easy transition from procedural programming environments
  9. Desktop integration of current and legacy systems
ESL is available on Windows and has been tested on the platforms detailed in the Release Notes.

ESL components

  1. ESL Edit
  2. Layout Editor
  3. QuikStep
  4. DB/Assist
  5. SqlWizard
  6. EslFields
  7. EslMsgMgr
  8. EslIniMgr
Esl Edit

Esl Edit is a developer tool that parses your source code, providing direct access to:

  1. Action routines
  2. Subroutines
  3. Included files and
  4. Functions
Esl Edit also parses error logs, and locates the reported error by loading the associated application source code. Together with the enhanced editing facilities, the Programmer can invoke the common Esl Development tools:
  1. Compiler
  2. Layout Editor
  3. QuikStep Debugger and
  4. The Esl Runtime
Esl Edit has been written in the Esl Language using only the libraries and modules that are available to all Developers.

Layout Editor

The Layout Editor is a tool for creating and editing the user interface of your ESL program.

On the Screen Editor's desktop you can create or edit a screen as it will appear to the user of your program.

The Objects Palette is your source for ESL objects.  You can quickly place new objects on the desktop, size and position them, and align and distribute them.  You can refine existing objects or remove objects which are no longer part of your user interface.

To tailor how an object appears, you use the Attribute Editor.  The Attribute Editor presents values for the attributes which describe the ESL object.  By specifying the attribute values you want for your object, you give the object its visual characteristics.  

The Layout Editor understands the ESL language.  It can read ESL object definitions from a complete ESL program or from an ESL include file.  It saves the objects you have created or modified as ESL object definitions in the files you specify.

The Layout Editor is aware of all objects defined in your opened file.  You use the Hierarchy Viewer to select which part of your user interface you want to edit.  You can easily make edits for one part of your user interface and then switch to another part.

When you have ended your editing session, the files you have created or edited are ready for the ESL compiler.


As both an ESL source code project manager and an interactive source-level debugger, ESL QuikStep provides you with a robust, flexible visual testing environment for your ESL for Windows applications.


DB/Assist is a visual database programming tool. It allows you to build and manage the SQL database access portion of an ESL application.
At development time, you can use DB/Assist to do the following:

  1. Visually create and maintain SQL statements, and combine related statements into SQL Access Modules (SAMs). A SAM is a file that consists of a group of related static SQL statements and ESL variable information for all or part of an ESL application.
  2. Dynamically run each SQL statement in a SAM, view the result set, and modify the statement if necessary.
  3. Generate ESL action routines for each valid SQL statement in the SAM.
  4. Compile the generated ESL action routines into a file that you specify.
  5. Create the appropriate bind file for the SAM and, if desired, a database access package.


ESL SQL Wizard provides point and click SQL statement generation for; Microsoft  SQL Server, Oracle, Sybase, ODBC, or IBM  DB2.

For information on supported versions, please contact the ESL HelpDesk.

ESL SQL Wizard provides easy-to-use construction dialog boxes which help you define a SQL SELECT statement with accompanying WHERE, ORDER BY, JOIN, GROUP BY, and HAVING clauses.

A SQL Statement window displays the SQL select statement as it is being constructed. ESL SQL Wizard generates a full ESL application around the SQL select statement.  The ESL application can then be compiled and run under Windows.

Additional SQL select statements may be added to the application by constructing subsequent SQL select statements.  A separate include file stores the code for each SQL statement.

If the SQL query contains a primary key as one of its columns selected from the first table accessed, ESL SQL Wizard generates an ESL application providing;



DELETE functionality,

as well as VIEWING capability for the set of data generated from the SQL SELECT statement.

The include file generated for the SQL statement contains a dialog box with a table object for viewing the results of the SQL select statement, an Insert push button for inserting data into the table, an Update pushbutton for updating the table, and a Delete push button for deleting data from the table.  (Note that when you try to delete primary keys that have foreign key relationships, the behavior will depend on how you have configured your delete options.)

If a SQL select statement does not contain a primary key as one of its columns selected from the first table accessed, ESL SQL Wizard generates an ESL application for viewing information only. The include file generated for the SQL query contains a dialog box with a table object for viewing the results set generated from the SQL select statement.

A Test SQL option provides an alternate way for constructing, testing, and generating code for a SQL select statement.

By typing in a SQL select statement, you can then view the result set generated.


ESL Fields is a development tool that generates two types of reports:

  1. A list of all 5250 and 3270 host sessions started by the emulator.
  2. A report containing data about a specified session.
If everything is set up correctly, all you need to do is hit enter and the field information will be captured and stored in the default file in the current directory.


Esl Message Manager is a development tool that generate the Message File used by both the ESL Compiler (Eparse.exe) and the ESL Runtime (EslRun.exe).
This tool is design for Client who wish to customize the message, typically translating each message from the supplied English version into the Client's local language.


ESL INI Manager is a configuration tool to supersede a text editor, (e.g. Notepad or similar), used to configure the ESL Compiler, Runtime, Ehllapi (Host Emulator Screen interface) and ESLPR fonts. To run ESL INI Manager, you merely need to select one of ESL's configuration files:

  1. ESLConfig.ini *
  2. ESLCMSrv.ini
  3. ESLPR.ini
(Note. * The main ESL configuration file can be specified via the command line option "-f".) If you start ESL INI Manager from the Windows Start Menu, then it will immediately display the Open File dialog.