12 months of COBOL

As search giant Google releases its annual Zeitgeist report revealing the news stories and questions that got the world thinking in 2013, I thought I’d compile a Micro Focus view of the year for COBOL (which by the way, still gets 200 times more transactions per day than combined Google and YouTube searches[1]).

Here’s my 2013 retrospective …


Micro Focus’ Product Marketing Director, Derek Britton, started 2013 off by reminding us of the enduring value of trusted technology such as COBOL, in his legendary tale – ‘The Legacy Myth: Legendary IT’.


There were lots of COBOL news candidates to choose from in February, but my winner was Micro Focus Product Manager Scot Nielsen’s ‘Top 10 reasons to learn COBOL’.


March saw a collection of COBOL skills related discussions appearing in a number of publications, as Micro Focus re-launched its Academic Program.  As ever, the IT skills debate causes quite a stir in the press:


Spring is traditionally conference season for Micro Focus, and this year the Developer Conference went on tour to two US locations. The agenda saw a multitude of guest presenters including analysts, customers and partners.  Sam Malek, from Transvive kicked the conference off with his guest blog, ‘Lean start-up meets COBOL’.

If you missed this year’s Developer Conference, there’s a chance to catch up here: www.microfocus.com/devcon2013


In May, ITProPortal published an article by Micro Focus Product Marketing Director Ed Airey, ‘How COBOL is helping to move business applications to mobile’. Read it here.


In June, again there was a lot of choice, but I’ve managed to narrow down the selection to two of the best.

  1. eWeek reports on ‘10 reasons the old language is still kicking’ – my personal highlight is the slide deck which accompanies the article.
  2. I simply couldn’t ignore this ‘trekky’ reference from ITWorld – ‘COBOL, like Star Trek, needs a New Generation


In July, I wrote a blog that explains the challenges faced by many Development Managers. You’ll have heard it before, do more with less. Sound familiar?

The Development Manager’s Conundrum: Do even more, with less. Faster.


August can be a quiet month, but not at Micro Focus. We gathered some of the top IT Journalists in the UK together to host a COBOL Space Invaders event. Lots of fun, lots of great prizes, with a dash of serious COBOL messaging to sprinkle on top! Follow the event activity as it happened on Twitter: #COBOLSpaceinvaders

Play the game yourself here with Visual COBOL and the COBOL Blitz demo.


We celebrated International Programmer Day on September 13th with cupcakes and COBOL. How did you celebrate it? Read the blog for a round-up from us.


A big month for our Academic Program as we launched the COBOL Code Contest. Build a game (minimum 50% COBOL) and you could win $1000. Adrian Bridgewater  announced the competition on Computer Weekly ‘Keeping COBOL sexy with a game coding challenge’.


With the release of Visual COBOL 2.2, we had some fun in the marketing department and produced this video of ‘High Diving’ Giraffes – ‘Is COBOL still the same old animal?’, plus our 5 top tips for a smooth transition.


As the year draws to a close, the COBOL news doesn’t, and December proved to be one of the year’s most fascinating months for COBOL. Firstly, we launched the ‘12 days of COBOL’ – a series of must have hints and tips for COBOL developers.

Finally, as was the inspiration for this ‘COBOL Zeitgeist’, Google got the world talking about COBOL and ‘Our Amazing Grace’ with their fantastic doodle to celebrate the 107th birthday of the COBOL pioneer herself, Rear Admiral Grace Hopper.

Want to learn more? Here is our COBOL

What will 2014 have in store?

More COBOL that’s for sure!  Tell us what you’d like to see in 2014, and what would you like to read about in terms of COBOL and the IT industry. Add your comments below and we’ll make sure your suggestions are considered.

Why do enterprises still use COBOL?

Happy New Year!

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