Cobol preps for a much-needed celebrity makeover with tools from Acucorp and Micro Focus
Solutions help move cumbersome yet mission-critical Cobol from the mainframe to modern platforms
Additional features help round out both offerings, such as a source control versioning system in Net Express and dialog-building tools for creating native Windows interfaces in both. Acucorp includes a character-to-GUI conversion wizard that monitors an application’s screen output and imports it into AcuBench’s screen designer for modernization — a helpful touch.
There’s more to blueprinting a legacy migration effort than cranking out new interfaces for Cobol code. With years of interdependencies and incongruous data structures rooted in your applications, you’d do well to try these solutions using known, self-contained applications to minimize risk.
Although neither of these packages includes a tool for dependency mapping, the Professional version of .Net Express does add Revolve, a tool for mapping associations that will help assess impact analysis. I would recommend the upgrade for anything but the most trivial of undertakings.
I would also like to see the inclusion of migration tools for porting items like CICS, BMS (Basic Mapping Support), and JCL (Job Control Language). There is a strong similarity between Internet-based transactions and CICS that actually makes them a good fit. Additional tools that support Cobol CICS translation and character-set conversions would help insulate these code sets from human disruption during the move.
Whether these tools will help usher in a renaissance in Cobol development remains to be seen. Micro Focus and AcuCOBOL show that Cobol can still be an attractive ally for enterprise development, and that undertaking legacy migration doesn’t require time under a scalpel. Both products offer companies a means to mitigate risk and improving accuracy when moving Cobol out of the shadows and into the spotlight alongside present-day IT computing models.
If you are looking to move to the .Net framework, Net Express with .Net would best suit your needs. However, if yours is an objective of enlivening Cobol with distributed platform flexibility, I would recommend Extend 6 be placed at the top of your list.