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Language Mapper (now known as BIS)

Author:Peter Alderton
Score: (3.02 in 93 votes)
.bottles of beer                                                                
@ldv <bottles>i2=99,<name>a7=bottles .                                          
@brk .                                                                          
@0010: .                                                                        
<bottles>(p) <name>(p) of beer on the wall, <bottles>(p) <name>(p) of beer,     
@if <bottles> > 0 . ;gto 0020 ;.                                                
@dec <bottles> if <bottles> = 0,(0020) ;if <bottles> = 1 ldv <name>=bottle ;.   
Take 1 down, pass it around, <bottles>(p) <name>(p) of beer on the wall.        
@gto 0010 .                                                                     
@0020: .                                                                        
Take 1 down, pass it around, no more bottles of beer on the wall.               
@gto end .

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>>  Devo said on 12/15/06 15:46:57

Devo Most Amazing Programming Product Ever Released!

>>  Clyde Drawdy said on 10/02/07 18:01:04

Clyde Drawdy I first programmed in mapper 25 years ago. The adaptibility and longevity of this product is mind boggling. I work for a state government agency that began using it instead of Cobol CICS. It was my decision to be made and several of my friends advised me against it but we have never looked back. At one time when it was unavailable in a windows environment I thought I would have to go to another product and then Unisys brought out Mapper For Windows followed very closely by NT Mapper. We immediately rewrote our entire application in NT mapper using 90% of the old code and have had a very successful GUI application for approx six years. We love Mapper so much that we didn't like the name change to BIS but now BIS runs my entire application to include our web site. The introduction of ICE (Internet Commerce Enabler) a few years ago is now all a part of Mapper. That's right, we still call it Mapper, and it's the best thats ever been.

>>  Joseph said on 01/06/08 02:13:56

Joseph I read with nostalgia Clyde's account of his experience with Mapper.
Like him, I started out in Mapper some 27 years ago in Canada, later going on to work in New Zealand, then as administrator for the Queensland State Govt, and finally back to the US to work at Disney. During that time I became one of the pre-eminent "experts" in the product, navigating the assembler in which it was written back then as smoothly as I do today in a piece of Java code. I still look back on that time with amazement.

My reason for posting, other than to express appreciation for what I read, is to ask for help.
I have no idea how this will be received - but here goes.

I feel lately that I have one more killer project in me, and I have decided that it will be to rewrite Mapper as Open Source software. In doing this I am not in any way hoping to take business away from Unisys. That is not my intent. In fact, I am doing this strictly for me. If my friends who have loved Mapper as much as I see something of value in this exercise then I will be pleased - otherwise I really don't care if anyone sees it. As I say, I'm doing this for me.

My request to anyone listening is for an old copy of Mapper NT that I can load and review.
It will *not* be used for any commercial use.
The product has evolved in the 17 yrs. since I've seen it in use. And frankly I can't remember the syntax anyway. So I'm looking forward to catching up.

If you can help, I thank you in advance!

>>  Dick Bottoff said on 01/09/08 21:01:51

Dick Bottoff MAPPER is amazing!!! I worked for Unisys from 1976 thru 1986 and learned MAPPER while attending a couple of Unisys schools. We sold the product to a medical complany that had only ledgers and began writing applications to handle their many business applications including physician's schedules, patient appointments, billing and client tracking. After the initial design I said so long and good luck to the medical complany at which time they offered me a handsome package to which I couldn't refuse. I am still here after 18 years and over 500-600 MAPPER runs as they are called. New ideas and business changes happen all the time, it is so easy to adapt the MAPPER source syntex that I can fly thru my CEO's requests and really react to the situation within hours rather than days/weeks. MAPPER is still the best!

>>  Joseph said on 01/12/08 21:55:06

Joseph Sorry people ... I must amend my request for help.

I need a copy of Unix Mapper to review, not NT.
I found a copy of NT Mapper but the system requirements are out of reach - servers, workstations, etc., etc.
I have Mac OS X - so hopefully the Unix version will slip onto that and work.
If not, then I can load Unix into the VMWare Fusion virtual machine software that I have, and run it through that.

If anyone can help it would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks in advance.

>>  Richard Fiekowsky said on 02/14/08 00:46:20

Richard Fiekowsky Wow, MAPPER still exists. I saw a job req for it today (2/12/2008) and it brought me back to 1980, when I learned it as a Univac employee. I was on assignment in Temecula, which was then just changing from a sleepy high-desert hamlet, to a town along the newly-completed I-15.

>>  Jim Taylor said on 04/02/08 22:25:59

Jim Taylor Here's another way that uses a few of Mapper's report handling functions:

.bottles of beer
@brk .
bottles of beer on the wall, bottles of beer,
Take 1 down, pass it around, bottles of beer on the wall.
@brk lnx,-0,4,99,2 .
@cal,-0 t 2-3,35-3 ,a,a a=101-line .
@cal,-0 t 30-3 t,a a=100-line .
@lch,-0 afmt$ 2-79 ' 1 bottles'/' 1 bottle' .
@lch,-0 afmt$ 2-79 ' 0 bottles'/'no more bottles' dsx,-0 .

>>  Jim Taylor said on 04/05/08 00:13:05

Jim Taylor I see that extra spaces were stripped from my last message. There should be five spaces in front of every "bottles of beer".

>>  Hubert Degrande said on 05/01/08 09:39:27

Hubert Degrande I used mapper 15 years ago at work as a user on a 2200 mainframe. I am retired since 2000 and I bought "mapper system for windows". I use to program the old fashion way like V001 V001 etc. But I cannot give it "The windows look" If someone kan advise me were i can find some exemples,books websides etc please E-mail me. Regards HD

>>  Larry said on 08/20/08 20:38:43

Larry To Joseph, I have an unused Demo copy for Suse 9.1 Linux, Mapper 9R1.
It is about 180mb ISO file, but where to send, ah, that's the problem...
Or, you could talk nice to a local Unisys sales droid and see if they could mail you
a Demo cd for Linux... AFAIK there is no MacX version, just Suse and RedHat.


>>  Joseph said on 09/28/08 20:18:06

Joseph Hi Larry ,

I had given up on this project due to a lack of ideas on where to turn for resources.
Not sure why, but I poked my head back in this forum and was very pleasantly surprised to find your posting.
I will send you an email address that we can switch to arrange a shipping.

Thank You!

>>  Joseph said on 09/28/08 21:16:40

Joseph Hi Larry;

Please contact me at this email address:
and we can make arrangements.
Thanks once again!


>>  Rob said on 10/20/08 21:00:23

I actually have an interest in creating an application to help "port" Mapper applications to J2EE. By help to port, I mean an application that would do things like deconstruct Mapper code in order to determine it's complexity in a target language, look for functions that may not be ported at all on the target system (I am thinking the differences in paradigms, like Client/Server vs Web applications), and if possible actually generate some sort of code or model.

We do something similar with Oracle Forms. I haven't had the opportunity to work with Mapper and so I don't even have an idea of what it looks like. Any demos that I could run on a VM would be a huge help. Even just a pointer to a website that talks about Mapper syntax would be nice.

I'd like to get an idea of what is possible and what isn't.

Any suggestions?


>>  Joseph said on 11/15/08 02:44:41

Joseph Hi Rob,

I'm a Senior Java engineer, and used to be a crack hot Mapper coder.
Granted the Mapper skills are - let's say - outdated? But I was very good in my day.
Your idea intrigues me. Something I never thought of.
I wouldn't mind talking over some ideas that you have.
Please use this email address:
I don't check this page very much.

Best regards,

>>  Frank said on 12/11/08 15:13:06

Frank To Hubert Degrande, have look at MQS+, freeware and listed at

>>  Barry said on 03/09/09 16:40:02


>>  Doug said on 05/14/09 14:40:48

Doug I am about to stop writing mapper (bis) - after a very long time doing improbable stuff with it - OU, TSB, BP - Ford - the last dozen years for Unisys.

The definitive "Dancing Bear" language - "Your lucky it works as well as it does"....

>>  Marcus Dantas said on 07/07/09 17:02:27

Marcus Dantas Hi... i'm sorry my english. How can I use .NET to develop with MAPPER/BIS? Thanks

>>  joemapper said on 10/17/09 14:02:14

joemapper After several years in retirement I was headhunted to contract to upgrade a 20 year old Mapper System. Having worked on Mapper since 1981 (South Africa,USA,Europe) and with both Lous' this came as a bit of a surprise. Such that this contract may go for some time.

>>  Marcus Dantas said on 11/13/09 13:04:13

Marcus Dantas Hi... I am mapper programmer in Brazil since 2006. I need of the Graphical Interface for Linux. Anyone know where download it? (Sorry for my english!)

>>  Don Smith said on 11/19/09 05:33:48

Don Smith Currently there is no Graphical Interface (GI-BIS) that runs on Linux only windows. I guess you could use a windows emulator on Linux howerver - that should work. Latest vesion of GI-BIS is 5.3 - 5.4 will be available end of next year.

Good Luck! Don

>>  Rob Haeuser said on 11/20/09 00:22:15

Rob Haeuser Hi folks, it's good to see that MAPPER is still a topic of interest! I've worked with it since 1982, and have never had a dull moment. Back in the early 1990's I wrote a series of articles called Make Mine MAPPER, published by Unisys World. Recently I dug them up and uploaded them to my site, (the direct link to them is Because MAPPER is so backwardly compatible, a lot of the technical stuff I covered is still pretty relevant.

I originally set up as a way to get exposure on the net, but am kicking around the idea of transforming it into a MAPPER archive repository for all the MAPPER articles, images, and even the MAPPER song if I can find a copy (if anybody has one please email me at What do y'all think? Worth the effort? If you have any material you'd like to donate, please contact me at

Take care!
MAybe People Prefer Excellent Results!

Rob Haeuser [===]

>>  Joseph said on 11/21/09 07:25:49

Joseph Go for it Rob!

>>  Marvidac said on 12/02/09 17:08:17

Marvidac I work with mapper since 2006 and I need to connect c# to mapper. This is possible? Can I read and write into mapper? Thnaks...

>>  Scott said on 12/07/09 19:49:33

Scott I am surprised to run across all this interest in Mapper. As a Univac
salesman, I sold the first Mapper system to a govt agency by seeing to it
that Mapper functions were a requirement of the Agency RFP.

This was I think around 80 or 81. I left the company in 1983
before the new Unisis organization. At any rate, I'd like to know
if Unisys has a version that might run on todays XP or VISTA windows systems.
Back then it was a disk and I/O hog that helped us to sell bigger hardware
but today with memory and disk costing nothing, I bet it could really
take off.
forward all responses to
2scott at if the first link does not work

>>  Chris said on 12/11/09 16:52:36

Chris MAPPER (BIS) has been available on XP Pro & VISTA for some years...
See this link: Downloads, Utilities and Demos

Rgds, Chris

>>  Charles said on 02/13/10 22:21:11

Charles I have developed a set of Microsoft WCF modules that allow you to view all mapper tables in SQL server. You can use all the SQL select fetures including: select top xxx number of rows, select substring(field,2,5), you can use the 'like' clause, order by, etc. It requires that you have some knowledge of Microsoft SQL server and visual studio. I am using the OTBL configuration tool to setup the tables that SQL will be allowed to view. Since I am new to BIS/MAPPER, I find it handy to be able to view the RIDS in SQL server.

>>  peter said on 03/10/10 17:39:22

peter I still have my Mapper tie. I bought a copy of the old pc Mapper years ago and just used it last year for a project. It's a little cumbersome (being old like me), but it still works fine....wish mh memory for writing runs worked as well. Think I started with level 28 way back when. Best thing ever and I wish Unisys had the foresight to have given it away to college students to get them hooked on using it.

>>  Hemal said on 03/10/10 18:47:07

Hemal Hi,

I have been a programmer in MAPPER 2200 since last 9.5 years and still using it. I am looking for a job in this technology. Could anyone please suggest me name of few companies where this product is used?


>>  Big D said on 03/23/10 15:44:50

Big D I worked as a consultant for Unisys/Sperry/Sperry Univac from 1980 to 1999 and again as a consultat for awahile in 1990. I to this day haven't used a better product for on line real time applications. I still don't know why they didn't develop something that would have run on MVS and AS400 systems.

>>  Hubert Degrande said on 03/29/10 17:06:57

Hubert Degrande Hi,

Using mapper in the workstation version i cannot use my hole screensize 20 inch. Is there someone ho can help me?

>>  Damon said on 05/07/10 17:59:33

Damon takes me back, cut my IT teeth on with sperry flight systems in the UK in the 80's on the 1100 and 2200's - i still love the 4 - 1 screen generation... class.

>>  joanna said on 07/26/10 00:50:34

joanna What a nice find! Like everyone else here I love MAPPER -it can do anything!

We (Aerospace facility in Phoenix) are finally removing the UNISYS mainframe. I am involved in archiving some MAPPER tables. I have programmed in MAPPER since 1986! Because it has been "going away" for over 10 years we never went to GUI or BIS. I am using BIS to easily take tables to excel.

I have been toying with buying a pc version for personal use.

>>  MarcW said on 08/18/10 19:44:33

MarcW Hi all.

Stumbled across this site while looking for something else.

Glad to see so many enthusiasts out there- shame that more of them aren't CEOs or CIOs.

MAPPER/BIS is still going strong, though not like the glory days when you could get a contract if you could spell "MAPPER". :)

My company has been providing BIS/ICE consultancy for 19 years, and we've developed products to extend the capabilities of BIS. We're hoping it will carry on for a few more years yet. I'm currently working on a project for a (potentially) new Unisys customer, which will be a big result if it pans out.

Also doing some work with ICE back-ended by Oracle, which is interesting and keeps the skillset moving on.

It's a shame Unisys went all corporate with the rename- they should have called it "RESULT!"

>>  John A said on 08/29/10 21:41:52

John A You can tell me all the things you can do with Mapper and it will never phase me. Mapper is the trailor trash in the IT world. Anyone with any common sense(obviously not governments) and especially the ones that have to write the checks would never fall for this over rated "Basic" like technology. Those that did have long regretted it and those that still hang on are dealing with IT talent that is 20 yrs old and a product that 99% of the real world never heard of. It is not just the product that is over rated but the people that support this nonsense technology are overpaid and under educated in the principles of software engineering.

>>  barrym said on 08/30/10 02:47:43

barrym Dang, John! I was enjoying reading all the fond recollections of these nice people,
and you suddenly jumped up out of nowhere and tossed a flaming bag of crap through
the window! Do you have a painful history with BIS or a BIS user that you need to
share with the group? Maybe your old lady dumped you for a BIS programmer? We're
here for you, big guy!

>>  EnFranceAussi said on 09/02/10 12:01:07


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