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Programming Microsoft

COBOL Comes To Visual Studio 2015 86

New submitter dmleonard618 writes: Micro Focus isn't writing off COBOL just yet. The company is trying to win developers over with COBOL with the latest release of Visual COBOL for Visual Studio. The new solution aims to bring back the ancient language and make it relevant again. "Visual COBOL for Visual Studio 2015 is the next generation of COBOL development solutions, designed for today's application developer to do just that, in a productive and cost-effective way," said Micro Focus' Ed Airey.
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COBOL Comes To Visual Studio 2015

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  • Naming things "Visual X" is so last century. Follow my advice, wait until they come out with cobol dot NET 3.1 for workstations and the cloud. All the cool kids are on the cloud these days, don't jump on the bandwagon too early.
    • I was sort of enthusiastic, back in the day, for the 'Visual' interface in Visual Basic, in the 3.0 era. Which kind of went away. Visual C? Where do I click? heh.

      What visual design elements does Visual COBOL bring? You get drag and drop Punch Keypunch Machines, Verifiers*, and a High Speed Card Reader? It would modernize and simplify COBOL coding. No risk of dropped decks! Output formatting would be in the code hidden under the Chain Printer icon.

      I suspect all the code in the Visual COBOL program res

      • (*the 'Verifier' was an odd beast. A big piece of equipment hulking on the floor in the same room that looked almost identical to the Keypunch machine [columbia.edu], that didn't actually punch cards. You would feed the previously-punched cards into it and pay a keypunch operator to type in the same lines of data again and all the verifier did was verify the cards had the same data as what was being typed in a second time)

        Wow

        • by garyisabusyguy ( 732330 ) on Saturday August 22, 2015 @03:56PM (#50371269)

          An old COBOL programmer that I worked with early in my career described how he got tired of the keypunch operators making mistakes entering his code, so he would do the keypunch himself.

          Eventually he said that he just started programming off of the top of his head at the keypunch terminal

          He ended up writing most of the programs used at the local department of transportation with little or no documentation

          The director allowed it and was stuck with it when he was forced to retire by the local government HR rules

          He was back at work a week later as a consultant making three times what he had been at the top of his pay grade

    • But is it webscale?

      • With the right paradigm it can hyperconverged to an SOA that has wearable computing gamification omnichannel crowdsoursing deep web in the globosphere. It can take a selfie with you.
        • With the right paradigm it can hyperconverged to an SOA that has wearable computing gamification omnichannel crowdsoursing deep web in the globosphere. It can take a selfie with you.

          OK, "wearable" handles "mobile" (even better than mobile!), and maybe "hyperconverged" and "SOA" covers "cloud"; does "crowdsourcing" cover "social", or did you miss a buzzword?

  • I have a bad feeling about this.

    Image and virtualize it

    • No, it's not Microsoft Cobol, it's MicroFocus Cobol...from an entirely different company. MicroFocus has been making Cobol compilers for decades.

  • To everybody who is going to be bitching about how dead COBOL is:
    http://skeptics.stackexchange.... [stackexchange.com]

    I'm glad I'm no longer involved with any COBOL code, but my 10+ years of COBOL programming has left me with the impression that it's not going away any time soon.

  • Oh come on. Really?
  • I had an employee who worked part time 20 hour here and 20 hours for another company leave within the past 2 years to train for a COBOL job. He's making six figures now. I think the idea that COBOL is dead is laughable. We're losing COBOL programmers left and right because they're all retiring or dying off, but COBOL is still here and is commanding a premium salary. While 10 years ago it seemed everybody was trying to jump ship the reality is it was largely an utter failure. Companies who tried largely fail

    • So a business decision.
      Spend a million dollars for a new system or keep 10 COBOL developers at 100k each for a year?

      We are getting to a point where things are crossing over and it is getting cheaper to migrate.
      Open Source Database engines, Cheap cloud computing solutions, programmings languages that allow for more rapid design... BPM, CRM, and a whole set of Alphabet soup solutions available canned to replace those custom jobs... It is a different world out there, and they are tradeoffs with some major pro

      • The problem isn't the systems. It's 50 years of business logic embedded in the code that runs those systems. Half of it was never documented, because management needed it Right Now and once it was working they needed the developers on another project they also needed Right Now. Of the half that is documented, most of it has undocumented special cases in it and nobody has a clue whether they're needed anymore or not. And this is where the sticking point is, because you can't configure a canned solution to do

    • I made a shitton of extra money in 1998/99 during college, via y2k/cobol contracts. People would just come to the school and if you knew how to even declare variables, you could make $50 USD/hour.

      Thing was, these were run on old unix mainframes that were still justifying their cost. I'm not sure the target audience with this thing though
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Seriously, Slashdot? How is this news? There have been *multiple* COBOL implementations for Visual Studio since at least 2002. Fujitsu and MicroFocus both have implementations that are not only native but also can compile down to .NET bytecode and integrate completely with the CLR. They even have designer support for visually creating UIs and web pages.

    Could you be any less relevant, Slashdot? Olds for Nerds, shit that mattered over a decade ago?

  • I'd rather write java code with hot needles sticking out of my eyes.
  • Y2.038K is coming, and as we saw with Y2K, companies will wait until the last minute and then scramble to make sure their code handles the clock overflow properly.

    COBOL programmers (if there are any left by mid-2037) will probably make a lot of money for those six months.
    • Y2.038 is a UNIX thing. While there are certainly COBOL programs running on UNIX, I suspect most have been ported there. How many are actually using time_t?

      • If they're using time_t, the solution is to recompile. The problem is if they cast the time_t to a 32 bit integer, then they're in trouble.
  • It's just a very very old one.

    Fortran - which is still in wide use - and Plankalkül [wikipedia.org] (not so much) are older.

  • I remember trying out something like this many years ago with Fujitsu COBOL. It was just like Visual Basic, except when you opened the code editor for the buttonClicked() method for example, you coded a COBOL procedure rather than VB. Weirdest thing I had come across in a long time. Never did end up using it on anything productional.
  • by sanf780 ( 4055211 ) on Saturday August 22, 2015 @03:54PM (#50371259)
    Now in plain English and just to the point:
    What: Micro Focus offers a plugin for Microsoft Visual Studio 2015 that lets you "to maintain and modernize COBOL systems alongside Microsoft .NET languages"
    When: Press Release on 2015-08-20
    Who: Micro Focus has recently merged with Attachmate Group, owners of brands like Borland, NetIQ, Attachmate, Novell and SUSE
    Why: COBOL is still used in a lot of legacy applications.
  • Perhaps MS will include Visual MUMPS in the next release of Visual Studio.
  • Maybe Visual Lisp will be next... oh, wait: http://autode.sk/1PsAwTO [autode.sk]

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The company I'm currently consulting for handles 10s of millions of credit card transactions using a COBOL-based system. Their "new" system is legacy "C".

    Part of my job was to figure out the bit-twidling they were doing to handle the EMV (Europay-Mastercard-Visa) data from chip-based credit cards. It was ugly.

  • by X10 ( 186866 )

    Isn't Cobol the only language where MOVE really means "copy"?

  • Visual Cobol... AKA Microsoft Word.

  • As I think most of us know, there's a huge amount of legacy COBOL code out there, still grinding away in banks and insurance companies and such. As a percentage of total production code it may be declining dramatically, but as an absolute number the decline is much smaller. It's a lot easier to say you're going to rewrite an undocumented COBOL monstrosity in Java than to actually do it.

    If COBOL on Visual Studio has the tedious bits defaulted and hidden, or shrunk to something just as informative but not

  • The original NoSQL database language!
  • by clovis ( 4684 )

    I, I still, I ...
    I love you Grace.

  • There should be an OO COBOL. I propose we call it ADD COBOL TO COBOL GIVING COBOL.
  • Micro Focus Cobol has been available in Visual Studio since pretty much the beginning of .NET. This is just the 2015 version announcement.

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