2.3: Taste the future Micro Focus Visual COBOL and Enterprise Developer 2.3 Launch!


As we’ve mentioned before, the Micro Focus DevDay event provides customers with an ideal opportunity to not only ask real questions of the Micro Focus experts, but also see the technology in action in our live demo sessions. Customers attending our New York and Toronto DevDays were treated to an early preview of the latest 2.3 releases of Visual COBOL and Enterprise Developer. I managed to scribble some notes.

First Principles

2.3 will represent another milestone in Micro Focus’ relentless pursuit of product excellence, capability and usability, as shaped by some fundamental principles. In terms of setting themes for each release, Micro Focus continues to follow its core mantra of –

  • COBOL language longevity
  • Best in class development technology
  • Unrivalled platform portability
  • Support for accelerated IT delivery

At the heart of our investment choices for our products, Micro Focus considers customer input, framed in the context of our core principles, to ensure we continue to provide the capabilities our customers and the wider market needs. Here were a just a few of the highlights.

Visual COBOL

Visual COBOL includes a range of new tech innovations, including:

App Performance

We’ve spent plenty of time and effort optimizing the COBOL deployment environment (often called the runtime), to incrementally improve application performance. Our goal was to achieve improved application performance across all deployment platforms. Although individual customer performance mileage will vary, our internal benchmarks with 2.3 have delivered some impressive results:

  • Up to 30% faster app performance using Windows 64bit
  • Up to 40% faster app performance using  HP platforms
  • Major industry performance benchmarks (USSTEEL and CSAMPLE) are performing between 5-12% faster across all platforms

Developer Tools & Platforms

Micro Focus prides itself on providing class-leading development technology. Part of this is to ensure we are integrating with the latest IDE technology. 2.3 supports the latest development tools from Microsoft – Visual Studio 2015 and the latest open computing development environment – Eclipse 4, further enhancing the developer experience (Figure 1).  Micro Focus delivered the FIRST market support for COBOL within Visual Studio 2015 in August this year.  Interestingly, the new VS2015 IDE was also the platform used by a technology intern at Microsoft as they taught themselves COBOL coding in just a couple of hours! Read their fascinating story here.

Of course, platform support is an evolving investment too. 2.3 certifies against new environments including Windows 10, Windows Server 2012 RC2, and recent releases of IBM TX Series 8.2 and the open source Postgres database. For some clients, an important consideration is that XP is still supported.


New Mobile & SOA technology

An exciting addition to our technology integration story is that we have refreshed our web services toolkit to support emerging standards and mobile technology; specifically the Interface Mapping Toolkit (IMTK) facility now includes support for RESTful web services using JSON, making the provision of COBOL-based web services easier than ever.

On the Mainframe Side

In addition to all the updates in Visual COBOL above, which are also available in Enterprise Developer, our flagship mainframe development product has been updated in a variety of ways.

Smarter Mainframe Development

Building mainframe applications faster, either using established approaches or by looking towards DevOps or agile, remains a primary objective for many organizations. Supporting this objective, we’ve implemented some new usability and efficiency improvements in this release:

  • We’ve added a Web portal for easy access to application knowledge for all users , as well as adding a simple Wizard to assist in building the application repository, to accelerate understanding across all developers.
  • The release includes faster and smarter code editing across mainframe COBOL, PL/I and JCL sources, integrating and simplifying the task of maintaining a range of application source types
  • Based on customer feedback, we have implemented a new facility for fast test data record editing. This includes a structure view and search and filter capabilities. Getting up and running on unit testing has never been easier.

Quality Counts

This release also includes significant improvements to assist in building high quality applications. First, Micro Focus has introduced the concept of ‘knowledge at the point of change’ by making code analysis functions (available via Enterprise Analyzer) but now within the developer’s own IDE. This provides key analysis features directly within Enterprise Developer, enabling activities such as standards checking, performance analysis and application knowledge to be immediately available to the developer. (See figure 2).


Future Proofing

The mainframe environment continues to evolve, and the 2.3 Enterprise product set release reflects our mission to support emerging standards in the host environment. A few additions this time include:

  • Improved mainframe DB2 compatibility
  • Direct access to IMS DB data for batch processes
  • PL/I support extended to include GRAPHIC datatype, more built in functions, etc.
  • Support for FTP commands in Enterprise Server JCL

See for Yourself

Of course, it would be impossible for me to attempt to cover everything that’s been added into a single blog. We’ve barely scratched the surface in fact. However, the products are released alongside datasheets as well as the “what’s new” documentation – download your copy for Visual COBOL and Enterprise today to read more. Additionally, the products are available for evaluation for customers interested in seeing it for themselves.

But as our investment in DevDay testifies, we are more interested in your application development technology needs, and would be happy to discuss your business requirements and how our solutions can assist. This is our Value Profile service. If you would like to discuss further, get in touch.


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