Modern tools: the language of development skills efficiency

COBOL developers are increasingly in demand for mainframe application maintenance, development and test activities. That makes these skills an increasingly rare – and valuable – commodity. But as colleagues retire or move on, workload pressures can increase on those who remain.

It is unsustainable for the developers and strategically flawed, committing an increasing proportion of developer time to application maintenance rather than future innovation. Simply working harder isn’t an answer. You need a solution. Working smarter in an upgraded environment with contemporary tools will put the power in the hands of those who remain.

Want to know COBOL?

If you currently don’t know COBOL, then here’s the top line – in the new IDEs, COBOL is just the same as other languages. And COBOL underpins the business systems of 91 of the Fortune 100 companies. Learning COBOL improves your work today and your career prospects tomorrow.

Unfortunately, ours is a change-hungry industry where time-proven equates as old and therefore bad, COBOL is perceived as being incompatible with modern processes. The reality is different. Aside from modern IDEs, COBOL aligns with other agile methodologies and developers discovering that they can use the same development processes and concepts quickly realise that this stuff really works.

COBOL is easy to learn: if you can work with Eclipse, Java, Visual Studio and C# you can master COBOL in a matter of hours and the contemporary environments enable the newly-skilled COBOL developer to do more than ever before.

.NET COBOL sits alongside C# in the Visual Studio IDE and JVM COBOL sits alongside Java in the Eclipse IDE. As well as having the opportunity to embrace the new features of .NET and JVM COBOL, you can still take your existing procedural COBOL apps and run and debug within the new IDEs. And we’re actively working on features within these IDEs to make the COBOL developer’s experience even better.

COBOL is a time-proven language that underpins the business systems of 91 of the Fortune 100 companies. If you already know COBOL, or are looking at learning it, then here’s the top line – in the new IDEs, COBOL is just the same as other languages. Using COBOL in contemporary environments will improve your work today and your career prospects tomorrow.

What can it do?

  • Connect and explore the mainframe from the Enterprise Developer Eclipse IDE
  • Use Enterprise Developer to develop remotely on the mainframe
  • Move mainframe projects to a local workstation using Enterprise Developer
  • Edit, compile and test mainframe applications under Enterprise Developer on Windows

The more inclusive and contemporary mainframe development environment enables any developer to support core COBOL systems.

Flying silo?

The silo mentality, prevalent in many organizations, demonstrates a very sizable gap in skills between COBOL and Java or C# programmers. This lack of collaboration does nothing for businesses except reduce efficiency, increase cost and heighten risk.

How we can help

To do the right job, successful organizations need the right people with the right skills. Beyond that, they need tools that bridge the gap between the skills they have and the experience they need.

And that is where we come in. Micro Focus can enable application developers with the skills and modern tooling they need to bridge the old applications with the new development environments.

Our enterprise tooling offers a development path that enables a new generation of enterprise developers to meet the future needs of the business and resolve any resource challenge.

How does that work?

Enterprise Analyzer accelerates development and modernization projects by up to 40% and beyond.

Our enabling technologies include a more cost-effective and efficient environment so developers can support key mainframe application maintenance, development and test activities.

A more inclusive, contemporary mainframe testing environment is how developers skill up to support core COBOL systems. It is the missing link between old applications and modern efficiency – what could you do with a 40% productivity boost?

Developers appreciate how a more cost-effective and efficient testing environment support application maintenance and development activities.

In summary

Aligning your skills with Micro Focus technology is the key to improving your value to the organisation and supporting the wider business strategy. Usability is the secret behind the efficiency. Check out the videos below.

Learn more

Enterprise Analyzer – application portfolio management and analysis

Enterprise Developer – a powerful, integrated environment for application development

Enterprise Test Server – performing pre-production testing on Windows avoids unnecessary cost and delay.







Paula Willis

Visual Studio IDE Development Team Leader,



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