Micro Focus Visual COBOL R3

COBOL has evolved and is breaking free from its constraints.

Visual COBOL R3 gives you the freedom to use COBOL in whichever deployment platform or framework makes most sense for your organization.

Now you can extend COBOL using the Integrated Development Environment (IDE) best suited to your application deployment environment – whether that’s using Microsoft’s Visual Studio 2010 for Windows and .NET applications or Eclipse for Windows, UNIX or Linux or the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) platform.

Now Visual COBOL R3 gives you the freedom to take advantage of new technology to build applications with true portability from Windows and .NET to UNIX, Linux, JVM and the cloud.

Whatever you want to achieve and whatever your platform, Visual COBOL R3 can get you there.

A day without COBOL

COBOL powers our lives to a surprising extent. This article invites you to imagine a day without COBOL and highlights the value this enduring language adds to both our personal and business lives.

Try to imagine what you would do if ATMs stopped working, credit card transactions couldn’t be processed, online purchases weren’t recognized, retail registers refused to work causing shops to shut down. What would you do? Many of the applications crucial to our daily lives would not work without COBOL. Just the thought of non-working ATMs or credit card services could virtually shut down an entire city.

Though this seems unlikely, it could become a reality if COBOL-based systems stopped working on any given day. Those who have labelled COBOL ‘a dying language’ should reconsider their stance; I expect they haven’t been keeping up to date with all the changes that have been happening to the language over many years.

Contrary to widespread perception, applications written in COBOL are not outdated or incapable of innovation. It’s estimated that globally, there are over 200 billion lines of COBOL in operation and the language supports over 30 billion transactions per day. According to Gartner, 60-80% of the world’s enterprises still depend on COBOL to run their business. Whatever the numbers, there’s certainly a lot of it, it keeps doing a great job and it’s continually being updated to address changing business needs. With COBOL supporting the majority of the world’s businesses, it is impossible to dispute its viability and flexibility within the enterprise. COBOL has been and remains a cornerstone of business-critical applications and has successfully navigated through each computing generation.

Understanding the criticality of COBOL to our customers has been a focus of Micro Focus’ products, services and support for over 30 years – yes, we’ve always been innovating (and Visual COBOL is the latest example of that) but we’ve always put protection of existing systems and reliability of the production environment as the primary goal of every release.

An IT team fluent in COBOL will be able to efficiently deliver agile business systems that can be moved to more modern platforms, extending the lives of core business applications, or extended to address increasing customer expectations. When it comes to IT modernization in our current economic state, the costly rip & replace strategy is simply not an option. Tearing out existing core applications destroys valuable investments and brings a cost and level of risk that cannot be justified. Instead, applications should be migrated to more modern architectures such as such as cloud computing platforms.

From its inception, COBOL-based applications have certainly been capable of flexibility as one of COBOL’s strengths is its ability to integrate. In the past, that might have been integrating COBOL with Assembler on mainframes, then it was COBOL with C or C++ for Open Systems and today it’s integrating COBOL with components created for the .NET or JVM platforms or deploying them to the Cloud. Business services written in COBOL are extremely re-usable across an enterprise despite a difference in infrastructure in different departments. This level of integration speaks volumes to COBOL’s longevity, as it has been adapted to changing platforms for decades.

COBOL is an undeniable asset and will undoubtedly continue to play a crucial role in application processes for many years ahead. The importance of any application lies in its ability to deliver business value and as COBOL has been responsible for fifty years of business growth and innovation, we need to ensure that these assets are understood, protected and maximized.

Introducing Visual COBOL R3.


20 January 2011 promises to be an exciting day for developers, development teams and their managers. That’s the day the new face of COBOL development and deployment will be revealed.

Visual COBOL R3 is the next generation of COBOL development and deployment tools, delivering FREEDOM, CHOICE and MORE.  The FREEDOM to build applications with true portability. The FREEDOM to deploy wherever you want: JVM, .NET, AZURE today and in the future. The CHOICE of VS2010 or Eclipse. Visual COBOL is the platform for building applications that meet even the most demanding requirements.  And MORE COBOL language enhancements delivering MORE productivity, faster

Visual COBOL R3 will be launched at a series of live events being held worldwide via the web on 20 January 2011. We’d love you to be part of this defining moment in the future of COBOL development and deployment.


Research paper: The current state of terminal emulation

The Micro Focus terminal emulation report evaluates the current state of this mature market.

The Micro Focus terminal emulation report evaluates the current state of this mature market. Over the past 6 months, Micro Focus conducted hundreds of interviews of customers, partners, and industry leaders to get the status of the trends and realities of the terminal emulation market. Major analyst firms no longer cover terminal emulation as a market segment. Customer have been left on their own to make terminal emulation decisions regarding operating system, security, and usability upgrades. Because of this, Micro Focus wanted to provide a snapshot of the industry to help customers make better decisions in their IT environments.

Download the report

Continuous Quality Assurance 2011

New releases of SilkTest, SilkCentral and SilkPerformer. Helping you to deliver great software the business needs.

The next generation of Continuous Quality Assurance (CQA) technology just got even better with the latest releases of SilkTest, SilkCentral Test Manager and SilkPerformer from Micro Focus. 

Designed to enhance quality throughout the entire software development lifecycle, CQA drives out defects and embeds quality at every stage of development from defining requirements through system development right up to release.

New versions of SilkTest 2010, SilkCentral Test Manager 2010 and SilkPerformer 2010 are now available. Highlights include:

  • Live video test results to enable better collaboration, understanding and control of the test process
  • Powerful new configuration testing capabilities that make it easy to execute across all required environment configurations
  • Robust facilities for easily controlling and managing large cloud load tests

To find out ‘What’s New’ in these releases, click on the links below.

For any additional information, please contact Micro Focus SupportLine or your account executive.

extend 9 is here

Find out more and register for the product evaluation.

Further to our recent blog post announcing the launch of extend 9 – which you can read here – we are delighted to announce that extend 9 is now available.

The latest version has been improved to meet the requirements of users of earlier versions of extend as well as those RM/COBOL users looking to move to extend. Improvements include enhanced .NET support, improvements to Windows native look and feel, simplified naming for DLLs and shared libraries, plus a new module, Xcentrisity BIS, which simplifies the creation of Web Application Services and is already widely used by RM/COBOL users.

To evaluate extend 9, why not register for your free copy and take it for a test drive?

You can discover more about the latest features and improvements within extend 9 here, including a document on the value of upgrading to extend 9 and beyond.

If you would like to learn more about extend take a look at our launch webinar recording, or contact us directly.

Application Overhaul – Top Ten Best Practices for Cutting Your IT Debt

Part two. Senior sponsorship is essential: this is NOT an IT issue

In the first of our ten part ‘best practice’ series, we explored how top-down application portfolio management helps deliver quick wins in the battle against IT Debt –  the decade’s worth of pent up IT backlog that is undermining business potential.  In part two we consider how the next ten years won’t be any better unless we acknowledge that business, and not IT, is in the driving seat and is ultimately responsible for pushing through the changes we need.  Senior sponsorship is going to play a major role, working in harmony with IT to impose the tough love needed for the years ahead.

Gartner analyst, Andy Kyte, defines a first law of Application Overhaul as having ’exactly the right number of applications today… to run the business the way you run it today.’ There are two ways to consider this: any change made to the company’s applications will impact the business, and business change of any significance impacts IT. After all, that’s why we care so much about IT Debt in the first place. While the observations arising from Andy Kyte’s statement may not appear particularly ground-breaking, the implications are actually far-reaching.

Previously, we highlighted the quick wins that application portfolio management discipline can deliver.  And it’s true they are there to be had, but only if an appropriate level of executive sponsorship is available to make the hard decisions.  The balancing act between innovation, cost-cutting and dealing with IT debt  can only be resolved through what Kyte describes as ‘demand-side leadership’. 

Significant changes to the application portfolio will free companies of many of their inefficiencies and promote business growth. This ‘Holy Grail’ fuels the constant quest for innovation, but it can also promote dangerous behaviour, such as sacrificing the differentiation within custom-built applications to third-party packaged solutions.

There is often a belief that only a traumatic change in IT will make business process owners take notice and drive through the efficiencies required for growth and cost improvement.  For others, changes to the application portfolio open the door to innovation in a more piecemeal manner. While they satisfy legitimate needs for change, these changes often lack clear thought for the existing assets that still need attention and will continue to soak up resources until the day they are retired from duty. 

So, instead of seizing the chance for portfolio evaluation and raise questions about the need for change elsewhere in the business, IT tends to focus on satisfying the immediate need. The demand-side stakeholders remain ignorant of the growing burden they represent.

Only through properly engaged senior sponsorship are reviews possible, business processes streamlined, and applications turned off – or put to use beyond the silos in which they have previously been confined.  Executive support is essential to proving an effective map to guide IT towards an understanding of where business alignment has been achieved and where value is being delivered.

Interestingly, Gartner asserts that by 2015 new revenue generated each year by IT will determine the annual compensation of most new Global 2000 CIOs. This particular innovation may be the catalyst that drives organisations to achieve true business alignment, and engages senior sponsorship in bringing effective portfolio management to bear in companies whose greatest source of innovation lies within their existing assets. We will be exploring this theme further in the next part of this discussion.