Micro Focus COBOL v5.0 Products “end of service”

The Micro Focus COBOL v5.0 products (including Net Express, Server Express and Server) entered “End of Service” on July 31st. Find out what this means for the product.

Micro Focus COBOL v5.0 Products “End of Service”

Under the standard Micro Focus support lifecycle, when new products are released, older version that have become more mature and stable have reduced service levels until they reach what is known as “End of Service.”  This doesn’t mean that the product stops working or that  customers have to stop using the products. It does mean that there won’t be any further Web Syncs and support is limited to telephone and web support. Additional licenses can still be purchased and customers under maintenance can still get updates to the latest versions free of charge.

It is recommended that all v5.0 users update to v5.1 as soon as possible as it delivers addresses a number of performance and stability issues and is an enabler for several significant new options, including:

  • Support for development using Eclipse on Windows, UNIX and Linux
  • Server Express Remote Development Option which enables the use of the power of Windows development tools with applications that stay on UNIX or Linux
  • Net Express with .NET supports Visual Studio 2008 and .NET 3.5
  • Database connectors to store COBOL data in standard relational databases without changing COBOL source code
  • XDBC to provide access to COBOL data from standard business intelligence tools such as Crystal Reports or Excel

More information on why to update to v5.1 is available <insert link to the attached white paper that I couldn’t find on microfocus.com but should be there

This affects Net Express v5.0, Net Express with .NET v5.0, Server Express v5.0, Server for COBOL v5.0, Server for .NET v5.0 and Server for SOA v5.0.

A Day in the Life of a Software Developer

Micro Focus is announcing the next generation of developer tools focused on enhancing developer productivity.

The Software Developer’s Diary

Micro Focus is providing four new product releases integrated with Visual Studio 2010. Click here to read the Software Developer’s Diary to understand how Micro Focus developer tools can improve the day-to-day activities of a software developer.

Next Generation Developer Tools

Click here to download the Micro Focus Next Generation Developer Tools brochure.

See the Products in Action

Click on the following links to see how the four products integrate with Visual Studio 2010 to significantly enhance developer productivity and ensure the delivery of the highest quality code.

Analyzer Express™

Visual COBOL ®

DevPartner ®

Silk4Net™

Further Information

Download the product datasheets and access more information about Micro Focus next generation developer tools at http://vs2010.microfocus.com/

Complete our VS2010 survey to be in with a chance to win a ‘Flip’.

Slash COBOL development time on UNIX or Linux

Server Express Remote Development Option slashes development time for anyone developing or maintaining, Micro Focus COBOL applications for deployment on UNIX or Linux servers.

Micro Focus Server Express Eclipse Remote development Option (“RDO”) slashes development time for anyone developing or maintaining Micro Focus COBOL applications for deployment on UNIX or Linux servers. By keeping the COBOL programs on the target server, RDO removes the need to transfer programs between the computer that you are developing on and the UNIX or Linux Server that it needs to be tested and run on. Developers become more productive immediately.

It’s always best to develop, debug and test applications in an environment that is as close to production as possible. This has meant going without powerful tools when that platform was UNIX or Linux. Micro Focus Server Express Remote Development Option (“RDO”) solves this and developers are instantly more productive as programs stay on the target server, using local databases and services, while the Eclipse based development environment provides state of the art tools.

Micro Focus Server Express™ is the platform of choice for creating scalable high-performance business applications on UNIX and Linux. Server Express helps to dramatically reduce development and deployment costs, and provides increased service levels through state-of-the-art components like FaultFinder and Server for COBOL and Server for SOA.

Micro Focus’ Server Express for Eclipse has greatly improved the productivity of developers of these systems by providing a functionally-rich, integrated development environment using the popular Eclipse IDE. However productivity is still somewhat limited by the need for remote desktop access to the Linux or UNIX system hosting Server Express or the need to develop locally on a workstation and then deploy to the server for testing purposes.

Micro Focus Server Express Remote Development Option combines a high-performance workstation based development environment with integrated support for the entire edit-compile-debug cycle on the Linux or UNIX server.

Key Benefits

  • Fully integrated, COBOL sensitive development environment quickly ramps the productivity and skill sets of COBOL and non-COBOL developers.
  • Standard Eclipse functionality allows the re-use of existing Eclipse skills and enables non-COBOL developers to quickly develop and modernize existing COBOL assets.
  • Source code stays on the target environment removing time-consuming source control activities.
  • Debugging occurs on the target environment making full use of the server-based systems such as databases or middleware while the development environment runs at full speed on the local workstation.
  • Lightweight deployment combined with the centralized “update site” reduces the overall cost of ownership.

Read more

If talk is cheap, surely that’s great news for software quality

Read our views on what 2010 will bring to the IT industry, and download your copy of the Gartner research note: ‘Predicts 2010: Agile and Cloud Impact Application Development Directions.’

Growth will return to the IT industry in 2010. Most industry commentators are in agreement on this, and so, while this is very welcome news, it is not actually tremendously newsworthy. Perhaps of more interest is the fact that such recovery is expected to take place alongside zero growth in IT budgets or employee numbers, placing yet greater pressure on IT to deliver what the business needs. So, if 2009 was about cutting costs and stripping out non-essential projects, 2010 has its emphasis placed firmly on the ‘more’ part of ‘doing more with less’.

To make matters worse, IT’s ability to deliver successful projects currently has its “highest failure rate in over a decade”, according to the Standish Group. And while Gartner figures suggest something less bleak, there continue to be enough high profile examples of failure and waste in IT to suggest that many will struggle to meet the needs of companies focussed on growth and profitability through the course of the next twelve months. In January 2010, one UK national newspaper reported that a “series of botched [Government] IT projects has left taxpayers with a bill of more than £26bn for computer systems that have suffered severe delays, run millions of pounds over budget or have been cancelled altogether.”

What We Have Here Is Failure To Communicate

In many cases, such as the UK’s £12.7bn National Project for IT, users were simply never consulted on “what they wanted the new system to achieve” or kept informed as projects rolled on and challenges arose. This is surely completely unacceptable and, what’s more, totally inexplicable. Especially when 70% of production defects are considered to have been created during requirements and design – not to mention that the costs associated with fixing these issues rise exponentially the longer they remain undiscovered. In a March 2009 paper on software quality, Gartner analyst Thomas Murphy quite understandably (and with some degree of under-statement) observes that this is a cause of “IT versus business friction.”

It is little wonder, therefore, that the tight linkages established in 2009 between IT spending and business performance metrics are considered to be here to stay.

With scrutiny and concern the order of the day, many of the industry analyst predictions that have appeared at the start of this new decade are focused on what IT should be doing to improve its success in the process of delivering quality software on time, on budget, and, perhaps more importantly, in line with the needs of the user.

The Beginning Of A Beautiful Friendship

Despite being cash-strapped and under-resourced , there are several factors that would suggest IT has reasons to be optimistic in 2010. Necessity has shown itself to be the mother, if not of invention, but of adoption. Organizations of all sizes are embracing new ways of doing things as they seek to break through yet another glass ceiling of productivity and cost-efficiency. One view, from Forrester Research, is that they need to start thinking like the “underfunded start-up that is always in the throes of a one-company recession.” It is not about working even harder than they do already. It is about working smarter. It is about working efficiently on the projects that matter, that drive revenue and growth. And staying close enough to the business along the way to know when priorities change and new goals arise.

It’s also about knowing when enough is enough, so that software no longer arrives bloated with redundant features that seemed like a good idea on the drawing board. Many companies find, as requirements are delivered incrementally and in line with business priority, that projects not only complete sooner, but the final 20% is often perceived as non-critical for deployment – and often never asked for again.

Such collaboration between all members of the software delivery team yields benefits for everyone. It creates what Thomas Murphy refers to as a “hive” mind set instead of being “adversarial”, where the different disciplines (such as business analysts, testers and developers) bring their respective strengths and viewpoints to bear on the problems being solved, helping to deliver software earlier in the project lifecycle and reducing rework.

You Had Me At Hello

In Gartner’s December 2009 research note, ‘Predicts 2010: Agile and Cloud Impact Application Development Directions’, the analyst firm draws attention to a number of ways in which IT can raise its game and deliver yet greater value to the business, with closer collaboration and the need for a broader definition of software quality very much at the heart of this.

Perhaps one of the most fundamental statements the research note makes is that “software quality can’t be tested at the end”. The IT horror stories mentioned earlier are living proof of this. Companies must look to drive quality throughout the development lifecycle and make use of facilities and processes that support this.

Agile development methods are already helping. They are driving (if not demanding) greater levels of collaboration. And the fact that these methods are now starting to take root in mainstream development shops is great news for lovers of quality software. Gartner believes that by 2012, “agile development methods will be utilized in 80% of all software development projects”, and, furthermore, that companies who embrace it, and introduce the cultural and behavioural changes to support it, are already seeing “four times the improvement in overall productivity”.

For IT to succeed in 2010, Vendors have a responsibility to provide not only the tooling, but also the process support to help companies drive quality from start to finish on a project, including helping them shore up weak requirement practices. By moving ‘quality’ upstream within the development process and linking it more closely with the beginning rather than the end of the lifecycle (for example, testing against user stories rather than function points), business and IT will understand each other more fully and improve their chances to share a common goal.

Only then will the growth that everyone is predicting, the growth that everyone needs, come to the industry on the back of fundamental, grass roots improvement, rather than through increasing the stress levels of an already stretched group of people. As an industry, it is time to grow up. Once and for all. It is time to talk.

Author: Julian Dobbins, Head of Analyst Relations, Micro Focus