Micro Focus Updates COBOL for Visual Studio 2015

Micro Focus announced it has updated its COBOL solution for Visual Studio 2015 while another developer has built a bridge from COBOL to Node.js.

Micro Focus Visual COBOL solution update

Micro Focus, which provides enterprise application modernization and maintenance solutions, announced that its Micro Focus Visual COBOL solution now supports Microsoft Visual Studio 2015.

Introduced in 1959 as a programming language for building business systems, COBOL remains viable today. Organizations around the globe remain committed to COBOL applications despite continuously changing business requirements and market conditions, and Visual COBOL for Microsoft Visual Studio 2015 enables enterprises to more quickly adapt to changes.

Micro Focus Visual COBOL enables software developers to maintain and modernize COBOL systems alongside Microsoft .NET languages, including C# and VB.NET, while taking advantage of Microsoft Visual Studio 2015 to connect COBOL applications to new technologies, including Windows 10, .NET and the Microsoft Azure cloud.

The Micro Focus Visual COBOL platform provides a consistent development experience that enables developers to build new business services while reusing application logic.

Mitra Azizirad, general manager of developer platform marketing and sales at Microsoft, said Microsoft is pleased to be working closely with partners like Micro Focus to build and enhance the overall development experience of Visual Studio 2015. "COBOL-based systems are prevalent in many enterprises and Micro Focus Visual COBOL helps enterprises develop, maintain and modernize these critical applications," she added in a statement.

One of the most established programming languages around, COBOL has withstood the test of time. IBM estimates that more than 200 billion lines of COBOL code are still being used across industries such as banking, insurance and retail, as well as across the federal government. Indeed, COBOL remains alive and well.

"COBOL is still being used in many organizations," said Al Hilwa, an analyst at IDC. "We estimate there are still a few hundred thousand developers skilled in COBOL in the world, a lot of them in India where a lot of COBOL maintenance is being done. It is great to see Micro Focus update the COBOL tooling to bring some of the cool features in VS2015 to this community."

Micro Focus officials said the company has a longstanding relationship with Microsoft as well as a shared commitment to application development and modernization solutions. Micro Focus Visual COBOL for Microsoft Visual Studio 2015 reflects this commitment by helping to improve the overall development experience for individual developers and teams, increasing personal developer productivity, accelerating time to market and future-proofing existing COBOL applications.

"Application developers want to leverage the tools they know and trust to quickly deliver added value to the business, not reinvent core business applications that continue to provide foundational, irreplaceable business services," said Ed Airey, director of product marketing at Micro Focus, in a statement. "Visual COBOL for Visual Studio 2015 is the next-generation of COBOL development solutions, designed for today's application developer to do just that, in a productive and cost-effective way."

Micro Focus Visual COBOL helps to increase developer productivity with smart editing and debugging aids for COBOL developers including code analysis, navigation tools, IntelliSense, auto-complete and more. It also features support for .NET COBOL applications and enables easy integration with C# and VB for modern composite application development.

Launched on July 20, Microsoft Visual Studio 2015 delivers improved developer productivity through faster IDE performance as well as enhanced development team collaboration, while providing integration with modern platforms such as Windows 10 and .NET 4.6.

Meanwhile, in another attempt to prolong the life of COBOL and introduce it to new environments, a Romanian Web developer named Ionica Bizau has created a COBOL bridge for Node.js, which allows developers to run COBOL code from Node.js.

The bridge enables developers to run COBOL code from the popular Node.js server-side JavaScript platform. Though not yet used in production, the Node-COBOL solution, as Bizau refers to it, would enable a developer to take a snippet of old legacy COBOL code and run it in a Web application running Node.js.