Micro Focus extends Cobol to Java and the cloud

Cobol applications now can be deployed to the Java Virtual Machine as well as to Windows Azure for the first time

Micro Focus on Thursday announced it is extending its Cobol platform to Java and the Microsoft Windows Azure cloud platform, with the launch of Micro Focus Visual Cobol R3.

With the R3 version, Cobol applications can be deployed to the Java Virtual Machine as well as to Azure for the first time, Micro Focus said. Developers can work in either the Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 or Eclipse IDEs and deploy Cobol applications to multiple platforms from a single source without having to perform platform-specific work.

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"Visual Cobol R3 combines the productivity and innovation of the industry's leading development environments with Cobol's business-tested performance. New recruits to Cobol can learn it in hours, not days, helping them extend the life of business-critical applications and develop new, high-powered applications using Cobol -- which many may not even [have] considered possible before," said Stuart McGill, CTO of Micro Focus, in a statement released by the company.

The Cobol release features C# and Java-like constructs to make the language easier to learn for new and existing customers, Micro Focus said.

Also featured in Visual Cobol R3 is Visual Cobol Development Hub, a development tool for remote Linux and Unix servers. Developers can use Cobol on the desktop to remotely compile and debug code. Having the tool within Visual Cobol R3 reduces user on-boarding time, increases developer productivity, and ensures that users can quickly deploy Cobol applications to multiple platforms, Micro Focus said.

Approximately 5 billion new lines of Cobol code are added to live systems every year, Micro Focus said. An estimate 200 billion lines of Cobol code are being used in business and finance applications today, the company said.

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