Eclipse Che4z

Eclipse Che4z is an all-in-one mainframe extension stack for Eclipse Che, which provides a modern experience for mainframe software developers working with z/OS applications.

Powered by the open source projects Zowe and Eclipse Che, Che4z offers an easy and streamlined on-boarding process to get new developers using the tools they need. Using container technology and stacks, Eclipse Che brings the necessary technology to the task at hand.

Developers can find the code they need to work on in Explorer for Endevor, Git and Zowe Explorer, edit code assisted by COBOL or HLASM Language Support, and test the resulting code with the Debugger, all in one Mainframe development package.

Eclipse Che4z is an open source project. Many of the components of the Che4z stack are also available on the Visual Studio Code marketplace as part of the Code4z package.

Use cases

The Eclipse Che4z extension allows:

  • Viewing and editing Endevor data in the Eclipse Che environment.

  • Editing COBOL and High Level Assembler language files with syntax awareness and autocomplete features.

  • Browsing mainframe data sets in the Eclipse Che environment.

  • Debugging CICS and Batch programs written in COBOL.

  • Performing tasks on mainframe applications using a command-line interface.

Getting Started

For instructions on how to install the Eclipse Che4z stack, see the Che4z Git repository


The Eclipse Che4z extension includes the following components:

COBOL Language Support

COBOL Language Support enhances the COBOL programming experience on your IDE. The extension leverages the language server protocol to provide autocomplete, syntax coloring, highlighting and diagnostic features for COBOL code and copybooks. The COBOL Language Support extension can also connect to a mainframe using a Zowe CLI z/OSMF profile to automatically retrieve copybooks used in your programs and store them in your workspace.


  • Edit COBOL code with assistance including:

    • Syntax highlighting and coloring

    • Real time syntax validation

    • Content assist

  • Automatic copybook retrieval

GitHub issues slack

Zowe Explorer

Zowe Explorer is an extension powered by Zowe CLI that streamlines interaction with mainframe data sets, USS files, and jobs. The extension is designed to function along with other extensions and plug-ins to deliver a richer experience.

You can learn more about the Zowe Explorer by watching the Getting Started and Work with Data Sets tutorial videos.


  • Access z/OS Datasets and z/OS UNIX file systems, and submit JCLs.

  • Create, edit, and work with z/OSMF compatible profiles.

  • Store your credentials securely with Secure Credentials Store plug-in.

  • View and download job output.

  • Issue TSO commands.

  • Install additional extensions.

GitHub issues slack

HLASM Language Support

HLASM Language Support is an extension that supports the High Level Assembler language. It provides code completion, highlighting and navigation features, shows mistakes in the source, and lets you trace how the conditional assembly is evaluated with a modern debugging experience.


  • Highlights statements with different colors for labels, instructions, operands, remarks and variables.

  • Autocomplete is enabled for the instruction field. While typing, a list of instructions starting with the typed characters displays.

  • The extension adds the 'go to definition' and 'find all references' functionalities.

  • The macro tracer functionality allows you to track the process of assembling HLASM code.

  • GitHub issues

  • Slack

  • For documentation and release information, see the HLASM Language Support Git repository.

  • For the feedback related to the topic of improving HLASM Language Support, see Let us know.

Explorer for Endevor

Explorer for Endevor gives you the ability to Browse and Retrieve Endevor elements using a user-friendly, intuitive interface.

This extension offers the best developer experience in combination with Bridge for Git, a solution which enables you to concurrently work in Git and mainframe.


  • Retrieve, browse and search Endevor elements.

GitHub issues slack

Debugger for Mainframe

Debugger for Mainframe provides the debugging interface to InterTest for CICS and InterTest Batch. This extension provides a modern debug experience for CICS and Batch applications written in COBOL.


  • Debug COBOL code for applications running in a CICS region.

  • Debug COBOL code for Batch programs.

GitHub issues slack

Zowe CLI plug-ins

Zowe Command Line-Interface (Zowe CLI) is a command-line interface that lets application developers interact with the mainframe in a familiar format.

Sample Workflows

COBOL Language Support using Endevor Bridge for Git and Explorer for Endevor

  • Use Visual Studio Code’s built-in Git interface to clone source code from Endevor using Endevor’s Bridge for Git.

  • Edit COBOL code using COBOL Language Support, taking advantage of all the coding assistance provided by the extension.

  • Locate all copybooks in the Git folder structure, and if needed, download other copybooks used in the source code from the mainframe.

  • Use Visual Studio Code’s built-in Git interface to push, pull and merge changes.

  • Search and browse additional code elements in the entire map of Endevor using the Explorer for Endevor extension. The COBOL Language Support extension provides syntax awareness for COBOL elements.

  • Download code elements, including their dependencies, into the current workspace using the Explorer for Endevor extension, and synchronize them with the Git project if code modifications are needed.

Debugger for Mainframe

  • Provide InterTest server location, CICS region, credentials and program or transaction name (either by file or input form).

  • Obtain the listing and set breakpoints.

  • Trigger the CICS transaction and start a debug session.

  • Display and change variable values.

  • Stop at designated breakpoints, continue from a designated breakpoint and step through the listing.

  • Close the debug session.

Zowe Explorer and Zowe CLI

  • Access mainframe files and execute jobs, either from an interactive graphical interface or in the terminal with CLI. Whether you need to view a PDS, allocate a dataset, change a JCL, submit a mainframe compile, or download and upload files, Zowe Explorer and Zowe CLI interfaces provide these capabilities.