Legacy Support

COBOL Is Still Around Because Nothing Better Has Replaced It

When COBOL was made in 1959, no one could have dreamed that it would outlive most of the hardware it wound up on. In an age that scoffs at floppy disks, corded telephones, and tube television, it would stand to reason that COBOL’s age would have made it a contender for the chopping block. However, COBOL is still alive and well in legacy systems, according to Evan Koblentz in an article for TechRepublic.

A Legacy in Legacy Systems

Back during the initial years of its release, COBOL was considered a sophisticated language. It initially lived in tractor trailers built by Sylvania for military use. It then quickly moved into civilian use as it began to outlive almost all of the hardware it was on. Yet these days, while COBOL typically requires far more lines of code than Java to reach the same result, COBOL still crunches numbers faster. That makes it an ideal option in many cases for the data-heavy initiatives popular in businesses now. Updates to the COBOL compiler are still regularly rolled out, as Koblentz explains how very current COBOL still is:

Micro Focus for its part has a compiler in version 2.3 and plans to release 3.0 in July 2017, officials said. The company’s recent emphasis has been on modernization tools such as the Eclipse integrated development environment and Microsoft Visual Basic links. The summer release will have new features for debugging and additional platform support, they said. Micro Focus is also releasing a developer’s book online on June 6, 2017.

COBOL programmer Mark Levy used the language at Sony and now works for United Parcel Service in northern New Jersey. There were already rumors of COBOL’s demise when his career started in 1984. Thirty-three years later, longer than most Java developers’ age, and a decade beyond the age of Java itself, he’s still at it.

COBOL is clearly still being used despite its age. The constant updates and use within legacy systems mean it can enjoy a continued presence within IT moving forward. Cheers to COBOL, the Rolling Stones of IT.

You can view the original article here: http://www.techrepublic.com/article/cobol-programmers-know-old-is-not-bad/

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