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Joel on Software

Cobol.net

Anyone seeing this become popular?  There are several billion lines of cobol locked away in mainframes.  Is this more important for existing cobol - perhaps a way to make a web service with some existing program, or is cobol.net just so companies can leverage their cobol coders going forward on new projects with .net

ryan ware
Saturday, September 21, 2002

Good question. It's a long time since I've looked at Cobol, and I have a hard time imagining what OOP Cobol would look like!

I think most companies are quite happy to keep their mainframe apps on the mainframe. Why change it? It works, and has done fot thirty years, it has 99.99% uptime compared to 98% or worse for most Windows systems.

What most companies want is a way of using their reliable, dependable system, but give a new Windows/Web App interface. Usually this means adding some sort of middle tier/screen-scraping system to pull data into a relational databases and a Windows based app to display it.

I'm not sure if .NET adds much to this on the mainframe side. MSMQ could be useful of providing inter-op services, and while I haven't looked for them, there are probably a few classes which help with the screenscraping side.

However, if you have a large Cobol system that you have decided to migrate to Windows, I guess Cobol.NET should be helpful.

Regarding giving Cobol programmers an easier route to Windows development, that sounds good in theory, if anyone wants to develop in Cobol, the CLR means that their code will interoperate with other .NET languages.

However, I think the biggest part of the .NET learning curve is not learning the language, it is learning the huge .NET framework.

James

James Shields
Monday, September 23, 2002

After a bunch of websurfing over the weekend I tend to agree with you.  I think the cobol will stay on the mainframe for the same reasons you gave.  Plus there are numerous 3rd party things to connect your cobol programs to the web if you need to.

ryanware
Monday, September 23, 2002

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