COBOL: Don't Call It a Comeback
While COBOL is solidly into middle age ?ö?ç?? and many COBOL developers are well beyond that -- companies such as Micro Focus, Microsoft and Veryant are moving to help enterprises take legacy COBOL applications to more modern architectures."Don't call it a comeback! I been here for years ..." Although LL Cool J belts that line out at the opening of one of his past hits, it could be the tag line for the COBOL language today.
Every so often I find myself in a group discussing programming languages and somebody brings up COBOL.
"All isCOBOL development and debugging tasks are performed in a familiar COBOL environment. The isCOBOL Compiler translates COBOL source code into Java classes that are then executed with the Java Virtual Machine (JVM). The isCOBOL Runtime Environment is written entirely in Java, so isCOBOL applications can run on any device that supports a JVM and will take full advantage of today's multi-threaded, multi-core servers. Thin client and distributed processing capabilities are included in the isCOBOL Runtime Environment, enabling developers to maintain one graphical user interface (GUI), regardless of platform choice or deployment model."Moreover, because the isCOBOL compiler and runtime environment are written in Java, COBOL developers can design a single user interface and deploy it across many platforms, including AIX, HP-UX, Solaris, Linux, Windows and mainframe systems. In addition, the new version also helps deliver the power of the Web to COBOL applications. Alfredo Iglesias, vice president of business development at Veryant, said that "enhancements have been made to isCOBOL Web Direct as well, bringing flexible design capabilities for Web 2.0 applications to be developed entirely in COBOL." isCOBOL APS includes support for ANSI-2002 standard COBOL features such as object-orientation and Unicode. However, with the addition of layout support in isCOBOL APS 2008, the same graphical resizing of windows that is part of most Web applications today is now easily implemented for COBOL program end users. Other new or enhanced features in isCOBOL APS 2008 include optimized TCP/IP communications to improve performance and response time when running in isCOBOL Server thin client configurations; enhanced rich GUI controls, including support for sorting columns in the Grid control; additional Web 2.0 development features such as calendar date-entry, gain/lost focus event, keystroke functions, and accordion panel in isCOBOL Web Direct; and improved printing capabilities, such as the ability to print both from the server and client side of a deployment. Meanwhile, on July 2, Microsoft and Micro Focus announced a strategic relationship to help enterprises modernize COBOL applications by moving them to the Windows platform and the Microsoft tool set. Micro Focus officials said the company will further extend its Windows-based technology portfolio, including its Net Express, SOA Express and Enterprise Server products, to provide customers with managed-code, 64-bit solutions that will take advantage of the Microsoft .Net Framework, SQL Server, Team Foundation Server, BizTalk Server and System Center Operations Manager. Moreover, officials at the respective companies said that by working together, Microsoft and Micro Focus can deliver a state-of-the-art development, testing and deployment solution for their customers' COBOL applications. Micro Focus said company representatives will share more on the Micro Focus partnership with Microsoft at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2008, which runs July 7-10 in Houston.