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Widespread COBOL still gaining technology

IsCOBOL This just in: You're still working with COBOL. It's especially true for 3000 shops, migrated or not, who use their own applications. Even the apps that once belonged to third party vendors; some of that source code has been bought by companies years ago, modified and re-tuned to special business needs.

If you're working toward a migration of COBOL code, then the makers of isCOBOL have news for you. COBOL is still in vogue. Veryant reported to me today in a press notice

COBOL is still very widespread, found in thousands of corporate data centers and government agencies. It is estimated that there are still some 200 billion lines of COBOL code running. While new, user-friendly front ends have been added to COBOL, since 1959 it has been the corporate workhorse of behind-the-scenes data processing.

So there's performance gains to be had by using isCOBOL. Speedware's Nick Fortin has been tracking this compiler for awhile, although so far it's not a tool being adopted by migrating 3000 shops.

The newest version of isCOBOL Evolve is "delivering up to a 40 percent gain in thin client performance, the company spokeperson Sue Meyers said. "This provides a powerful option for developers to continue programming in their familiar COBOL environment." A developer gets to respect and use COBOL logic with this solution, all while they "deploy updated GUI-based applications across multiple platforms in an open Java framework without rewriting code."

Then there's that powerful option of skipping any rewrite of COBOL into another language, or trying to make a replacement app do the same things your existing 3000 apps have done for years. Migrating shops look at COBOLs if they're maintaining or creating their own code. Micro Focus gets a lot of automatic consideration, AcuCOBOL somewhat less notice.

And there's even an open source COBOL, COBOL-IT, on hand as a replacement compiler. Speedware's got a line on that software, too. All of it is designed to keep a technology choice that was made in the '70s or '80s viable here in 2011.