#COBOL60: Your COBOL questions, answered – Part One

At a recent Micro Focus-sponsored virtual event, more than 300 COBOL community members celebrated its 60th anniversary by posing over 90 questions to our expert panel. In the next three blogs, COBOL expert Ed Airey answers 12 of the most popular.

Q1:  Why are we celebrating 60 years of COBOL on Sept.10th ?

Micro Focus: Research proves COBOL was being planned throughout 1959, with the term first introduced later that year. So 10 September is not the official anniversary of COBOL, just when Micro Focus began a year-long celebration of this legendary programming language. Missed the #COBOL60 celebration webinar? Catch it here 

Q2:  Does Micro Focus have a basic, standalone COBOL compiler that runs under Windows 7/10 without internet-enabled features, similar to how Micro Focus COBOL ran under DOS and earlier versions of Windows? We do not want to expose our COBOL application to the internet.

Micro Focus:  Vendors offer many COBOL development and deployment tools, and there is likely a good fit for your specific applications. Micro Focus COBOL technology brands include Visual COBOL, Net Express/Server Express, ACUCOBOL-GT, RM/COBOL and COBOL-IT; each meet different customer needs with a variety of features and capabilities. Why not discuss your technical requirements in a complementary Value Profile Meeting? Sign up here.


Q3:  More associated to the platform on which COBOL runs, than the language in itself. Integrating COBOL applications into evolving environments extends what it can do – so what are the latest technology integration options for COBOL?

Micro Focus:  Great question! Well-established COBOL applications must now integrate with other business systems, so we continue to invest in COBOL’s capabilities. Some of the newest capabilities include integration with .NET, Java Byte Code, REST, Docker Containers, Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services. Using a mainframe based system? Check out the Micro Focus Enterprise Suite 5.0: The New Economics of Enterprise Computing webinar. Working with distributed systems, then DevOps and API Development in the Cloud: Visual COBOL 5.0 Product Launch will give you a valuable steer.

Q4:  What is the latest version of COBOL, and for how many more years will it be supported?

Micro Focus: COBOL follows ANSI and ISO industry standards, and many organizations utilize COBOL 68, 74, 85 and 2002 standards within their applications. Micro Focus COBOL technology and the mainframe-friendly IBM Enterprise COBOL support these standards. As regards the latest version, both IBM and Micro Focus support a variety of product solutions. Example? Micro Focus Server Express supports multiple platforms including AIX, Solaris and HP-UX. Visit our Supportline Portal and Product Matrix for a full product and platform information. Lastly, we will continue to support COBOL on modern platforms, and on future technologies, to honor the Micro Focus commitment.

What is COBOL?

In our second blog of three, we look at another five questions from the COBOL expert panel. Topics include COBOL platforms, the newest innovations – and how object oriented COBOL fits into the bigger picture.


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