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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Guess I better introduce myself...

Now that I've posted a couple of items here I realized I haven't introduced myself. My apologies for the oversight. My name is Rick Malek and I'm a Solutions Engineer with Micro Focus and a COBOL bigot! I firmly believe COBOL has a very well deserved place in our world. It's been doing a lot of heavy lifting for years, long before Java, C# or VB were even dreamed of. Now don't get me wrong, COBOL isn't the answer for everything but it is the answer for a lot of things. I love to discuss or debate people who say a customer should throw out all their COBOL code and rewrite the application in a new "modern" language. My first question is always "Why?" What is the big technical advantage to rewriting an application to another language just to end up...wait for it... at the same spot you're in right now! Providing the same results but having now spent a lot of time and money you didn't really have to get to the same results only in a new language. It defies belief.

A little bit about me; I've spent the majority of my career migrating Mainframe Development Environments to the Windows Server platform. I specialized in the assessment of the mainframe development environments and designing and implementing unique client solutions to resolve specific issues related to client requirements. Starting from a core infrastructure and then adapting it to meet the specific client requirements has proven to provide a great deal of flexibility to the client while providing an industry standard development environment.

Along with designing and implementing the new environment I also spend a great deal of time designing, creating and delivering training sessions targeted at easing the transition for developers from the mainframe to the Windows Server system. The core essentials of development, source code management, database development and usage are demonstrated in the new environment. One of the key values developers obtain is the realization of the ability to not only maintain the core set of business values but the ability to quickly and easily expand these capabilities in a new, more efficient development environment.

I reside in Minot, North Dakota with my wife of 30+ years, Pennie and 3 children (Jason, Mathew and Ashley). All of my kids are in college and not one of them programs! I can't believe it. We have a nice ranch with 53 acres and horses that can be a bit of work, but also relaxing.

I encourage you to write about your experiences with COBOL. It's a great language with a solid future. I also encourage open and respectful debate. If you have an opinion or comment that disagrees with anything posted please feel free to post it. As long as it's respectful we'll be happy to discuss it!

Take care and Happy Coding!

Now that's what I'm talking about...

I post articles on another website dealing with COBOL and .NET interaction. One of the articles posted recently was how to call COBOL from C#, both procedural and object oriented. Someone asked me how would you call C# from COBOL? Well before I could respond to the question the person replied they figured it out! And they said it was quite simple and sent me the code to look at. The person did a great job, kept it simple and (here's one my pet-peeves) DOCUMENTED what was done!

So you see, there are others out there doing COBOL and making it work with Microsoft's languages. It's not difficult, just takes some figuring out the data translations. Bottom line, don't throw away your years of investment in COBOL just because it's COBOL! It can and does work fine (and most times better) in a distributed environment. Not convinced? Try it. I promise you won't be disappointed and will be pleasantly surprised.

Happy Coding!

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Future of COBOL

You know I've seen lots of posts over the years talking about the death of COBOL and the future of this language or that language.

I've been thinking, maybe it would make sense to have an open discussion about the future of COBOL and how it has and will evolve in the near future. With that, I've invited a couple of folks who are directly involved in determing this future state to be authors on this blog. One is on the COBOL Standards committee, while the other is one of the key developers within Micro Focus helping to create these future versions.

If you have any specific questions around this area, feel free to post a comment or two. I think a lively discussion would have benefit on both sides of the fence.


P.S.: Can anyone identify where the bit of sculpture I've posted is located? Yes, I know it has nothing to do with COBOL, but I thought it added a nice touch, don't you think? :)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Blogging about COBOL!?!?! Now how cool is that? Welcome to "It's a COBOL World" Blog. We invite you to post your thoughts, comments, articles, pictures, whatever you have about COBOL here. We hope you'll find this blog interesting, informative and most importantly...useful! Don't be shy...sign-up and start sending in your thoughts. For other informative articles take a look at C#Corner ( Check out the COBOL.NET link in the left hand navigation pane. We'll post other links soon for other sites with COBOL information.