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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

COBOL Didn't Blink...The Development Environment Did

Why does COBOL wear the black eye that it has been proudly wearing since the 70's? 

It is because the most common development environment people associate with COBOL is the green screen ISPF mainframe editor.  Yuck! It is still what many COBOL developers use today.

Micro Focus did make in-roads into many companies during the past 30 years, but the majority of COBOL developers are still stuck on character-based interfaces developing application code.

No one really wants to use those tools.  Go figure.  Who'd want to pet an ugly dog?  Not me. *smile*

I personally believe this is the reason that COBOL fell out of favor with the "up and coming" development world that has evolved during the last couple of decades.

The good news is there are options which allow companies to bring all of that application source forward into the same world C# and Java developers live in. 

  • COBOL that runs on the mainframe?  Duh.
  • COBOL and C# in the same application?  Sure thing. 
  • COBOL and Java living together in perfect harmony?  Yep. 
  • COBOL and VB.NET side by side?  Why not? 
  • COBOL as managed source (.NET or JVM)?  But of course.
  • COBOL in the Cloud (Azure, Amazon, etc)  Yes it runs in the Cloud!
(COBOL is the only language that does all of these things.  I bet you can't prove me wrong.)

Today you have options.  Developers can use a single IDE such as Visual Studio or Eclipse and do what needs to be done.  Today's developers are no longer tied to a specific language.  They can use what makes sense for the task at hand, mixing a bit of the old and new with no issues. 

It isn't the language that caused the blip in usage, it was the development environment.

Good news is that this has changed with Visual COBOL.  I believe COBOL will be the language of the decade for companies looking for flexibility.  Hide and watch.

This is why I don't take them to Walmart

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