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A Division of The Cobol Group, L.L.C.

Feature Article Grace Hopper, Visionary !

January 2009

A look at isCOBOL From Veryant


www.CobolMagazine.com

January 2009


Index

Features in the January 2009 Issue

Cover Story

8

Grace Hopper, Visionary

A look at a new Compiler company

Clearly Superior isCOBOL will bring us into the 21st century

3

COBOL World How to Encourage New Development in

New COBOL portal

COBOL

10

From The Cobol Group

13

Boomer Trike

11

Telecommute and Save Energy

12

COBOL Certification

14

www.CobolMagazine.com

Microfocus Dialog GUI migration

January 2009

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15


◊ We lcome

from

the

PUBLISHER ◊

Where do I start?

I was introduced to COBOL a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. At least, it feels like that sometimes. August, 1968, I was discharged from the Army. That winter I went into the family business, roofing and siding homes in my home town of Lawrence, Massachusetts. If you’re from the northern part of the country you understand the harsh winters, cold, and ice. My wife showed up on the job site one day with lunch as my cousin and I were atop a four-story building repairing a very icy slate roof. We descended from the roof on an antique wooden ladder, which had a tendency to bow in the middle. My wife handed me lunch and proclaimed “You get a new job or a new wife!” I could sense the resolve in her voice. The next day I started looking for a safer job. In the newspaper I found an ad for someone to change tapes on a computer and decollate carbon paper from computer printouts. This seemed like the perfect job for me, computers! If only I knew what they were. At the interview I met Dr. Roland Holt, bow tie and all, sitting in the computer room at Little Brown and Co. Dr. Holt rented computer time to process orders for his book wholesale business. I was hired. We negotiated a deal that he would teach me to program computers, mostly in assembler and some COBOL. Of course I found COBOL to be much easier. It’s been 40 years and I have been writing applications in COBOL ever since. What was true then is true today. COBOL is much easier to comprehend and work with than most other languages. For years COBOL has been scorned, maligned, and ridiculed. It’s labeled archaic and not relevant to today’s needs, especially with the internet and graphical windows based applications. This is far from true. Today’s COBOL compilers offer an incredible array of capabilities for web interaction, .NET, and data base connectivity. How did this lead me to publish a magazine? For years I have gathered information about COBOL. Book stores offer magazines about Java, Pearl, C and dozens more, but nothing for COBOL. The section for programming languages rarely offers COBOL sources. While there is information on the world wide web, there has not been a focal point for our community of professionals. You may find information about COBOL and related topics but nothing that really binds the community. COBOL remains as clean, adaptable, and flexible as when Dr. Holt introduced me to it in 1968. Most of the world’s large mainframes are humming along with COBOL. Because it’s written in English it’s easy to learn. The companies and programmers who work with COBOL will benefit from COBOL Magazine and related web sites that create a focal point for the community.

Welcome to COBOL Magazine! Frank Gauthier Publisher

www.CobolMagazine.com

January 2009

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isCOBOL FOR Java Platforms

isCOBOL The Cobol for Java Platforms By Kaeth Gauthier Staff Writer

Veryant brings choice back to the COBOL market. We believe isCOBOL provides a friendly, interesting and effective choice for COBOL developers,” says Alfredo Iglesias, Vice President of Business Development at Veryant, a COBOL and Java technology innovator. The company recently introduced isCOBOL Application Platform Suite (APS) 2008 to enable comprehensive, cost-effective development, deployment, maintenance and modernization of COBOL applications. Iglesias adds, “We make our compiler very compatible so a transition to isCOBOL is smooth and quick.” This is demonstrated by the fact that Veryant has blended the proven business-oriented nature of COBOL with the openness, portability and power of the Java platform in isCOBOL APS. Veryant started six years ago in Italy by a group of developers who wanted to pick up where other COBOL venders dropped off. Veryant has offerings that go beyond others in terms of richness of user interface, options for database access, and deployment methods. The company is focused on the needs of the community and has a user-friendly licensing model that bundles products into one core license. The team of developers recognized the growing monopoly in the COBOL market. Iglesias states, “When that [monopoly] happens, the customer suffers. We wanted to bring choice back to customers. Veryant’s developers bring a breadth and depth of COBOL and Java experience to the company. An intrinsic value of this product is that development, coding and debugging are all done in COBOL. The isCOBOL Application Platform Suite (isCOBOL APS) provides a complete environment to develop, deploy, and modernize COBOL applications.

Features and Benefits The isCOBOL APS merges the strength of the Java Platform with the proven success of COBOL. With numerous data access options and a portable graphical user interface (GUI), isCOBOL applications are able to run on any device supporting the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) – from mainframes to mobile phones.

Key Benefits ��

Simplified development and deployment -- 100% portable

By leveraging Java as its deployment platform, isCOBOL APS takes 'Compile Once, Run Anywhere' to a new level. This simplifies deployment and eliminates the need to recompile code for each hardware platform. •

Fast, efficient performance -- true multi-threaded processing

www.CobolMagazine.com

January 2009

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isCOBOL FOR Java Platforms

isCOBOL programs can start multiple threads and multitask workloads -- saving valuable CPU cycles, memory and startup time. When distributing an application using isCOBOL Server software's thin client technology, each program runs in a thread instead of launching a separate process. ��

High throughput computing at a good value

isCOBOL APS includes many features in its base runtime library that other vendors may charge separately for. This includes a debugger, a distributed Indexed (ISAM) file system, 100% portable Java-based ISAM file system, as well as thin client and distributed processing capabilities. ��

Flexible, convenient data access

isCOBOL APS lets developers focus on application coding without worrying about what particular data storage solution will be chosen in deployment. By leveraging a plug-in style approach to data access, the isCOBOL APS environment offers numerous options for indexed and relational database management systems (RDBMS) files. Both of these data sources can coexist in the same isCOBOL program, enabling truly dynamic application deployments. ��

Safe, 'future-proof' path forward for valuable business assets

isCOBOL APS allows businesses to retain current COBOL investments while moving forward at a Java pace. By combining the best of COBOL and Java technology, 'Compile Once, Run Anywhere' is taken to a new level.

NEW APPLICATION DEVELOPMENT Veryant has a commitment to fostering new application development as well. According to Iglesias, “We want people to leverage COBOL. Our modernization efforts include isCOBOL Web Direct that allows COBOL developers to take advantage of Web 2.0 type of interfaces completely in COBOL. When a corporation or developer wants to build dynamic web pages, the market has traditionally demanded that they bring in two or more pieces of technology. With isCOBOL, they only need one tool. New applications written in COBOL and deployed in JAVA can be fully interactive.”

HOW TO GET STARTED Webinar sessions and an assessment tool offer the ability for customers to quickly understand the benefits of isCOBOL technology. Veryant has a Webinar designed to present a quick overview of the isCOBOL APS offering for customers who are concerned about lack of choice in the COBOL market and want to control costs, and get better customer service from their COBOL vendor. The session demonstrates how to implement isCOBOL technology to protect COBOL application and business logic investments and how easy it is to move from RM-COBOL and ACUCOBOL-GT to isCOBOL APS. Veryant also offers a second Webinar which details the various Web Enablement offerings available with isCOBOL APS. Another feature of the website is an isCOBOL quick fit assessment. Customers respond to questions about important about compiler features, functionality, support, and cost.

www.CobolMagazine.com

January 2009

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isCOBOL FOR Java Platforms

Iglesias tells us, “People are using this tool because they see results. The idea is to engage the customer and assess their needs. The customer gets feedback and a scorecard. When customers come to our website and use the assessment they get an excellent idea about their match with isCOBOL.”

COBOL FUTURE Iglesias states, “I think COBOL has managed to preserve the reason it was created – to address the challenges of development of business applications. I strongly believe nothing else matches the strength of programming in English. As long as English is the lingua franca of business, COBOL is the language of business applications. The best demonstration of the current value of COBOL is how busy we are. Customers, who want to have choices, save money and modernize in a meaningful way use isCOBOL. Much of the business world still relies on COBOL. One of the biggest challenges it faces is that fewer schools teach it today. We’re already working with universities interested in teaching COBOL.”

CUSTOMERS With an extensive COBOL and Java heritage, Veryant delivers software that optimizes IT resources, improves business performance and revitalizes programming resources. Whether a business is extending applications with new user interfaces, evolving existing applications through SOA, or improving quality and distribution processes, Veryant's expertise and innovative products are designed to increase the productivity of applications. Iglesias shares, “Our ideal customer is one who understands the value of COBOL. There is no other language as portable and understandable as COBOL for development and maintenance of business applications. The ideal customer wants to save money in development and maintenance of COBOL.” You can reach Veryant at http://www.veryant.com. Editor’s Note: In future issues we will take an in-depth look at isCOBOL. The first publication in the COBOL Learning Series© will feature isCOBOL.

CommunityofVeterans.org

www.CobolMagazine.com

January 2009

5


Life Simplified

By Frank Gauthier

My homes have included a large residence on a golf course in Texas, a home I built from scratch in Massachusetts, and a 36 foot motor coach. When Kaeth and I were married in January 2007 I relocated to her 1918 home in a historic district in Akron, Ohio. While the home had great character, I no longer consider it fun to clean gutters and remove old paint. Kaeth was somewhat attached to her 2100 sq foot home and large yard with gardens. Believe it or not, I married a woman who likes to cut grass and pull weeds. She is also attached to family antiques and collections of art glass and holiday decorations. I travel much lighter and could easily fit all my clothes and computers in the trunk of our car. Because my COBOL work is very portable, I can telecommute and work from anywhere. I took Kaeth to RV shows and tried to persuade her to travel full time in a motor home. She, however, could not picture giving up all her things or leaving her family in Akron. We found a marvelous compromise last summer. On our way to errands at Best Buy (my favorite store) and Home Depot (her favorite store) we saw an open house sign at a large three story building that had opened in November. Copley Place is one of more than 300 independent living communities operated by Holiday Retirement. On our first visit we interrupted Manager Jerry Carris at lunch and he offered to feed us and give us a tour. The entry and dining area are quietly elegant. There’s a fireplace in the dining room with adjacent sofas for casual conversation and relaxing. The electronic piano played a soft accompaniment to lunch. With three floors of apartments there are many options of size and shape, from studios to two bedrooms. I would have packed my bag and moved in that day but Kaeth required more convincing. You might ask why this article has relevance to COBOL. Much of my COBOL work involves short-term (less than six month) contracts. Because I now have 300 homes I am a “local hire” in those 300 locations. One co nt r a ct I ’m r ev iew ing in Columbus, Ohio puts me 15 m in u t es fr o m a Ho lid a y Copley Place, Copley Ohio building. Another contract in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, requires one week each month on site and, once again, is located very close to a Holiday building. When the company provides travel and living expenses, I bring a terrific cost savings to the equation. This type of living can be a great asset to you as a consultant. Have I mentioned that my wife hates to cook? Three meals a day are served in the lovely dining room. Coffee, fruit and muffins are available throughout the day. Family and friends may join you for meals at a reasonable cost. After our first visit, we went to a local restaurant and filled in the price comparison sheet provided by Holiday. Rent, food, cleaning, and utilities, including cable, are included in the monthly payment. The cost is based on square footage of the apartment you choose. While the out of pocket expense is a bit higher for us at Copley Place, the increase in available time made this an ideal decision. We no longer need to plan, shop, or prepare meals. www.CobolMagazine.com

January 2009

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Life Simplified (cont)

Jerry, his wife Jean and co-managers Ken and Luci Cochrane welcomed us each time we stopped and provided a wealth of information. I took Kaeth over frequently for meals to demonstrate how delightful it was to just sit, visit and eat. She and I have different tastes in food and there are almost always options that satisfy both of us. We sat with current residents and questioned them about their experience. After research and thoughtful consideration, we sold the historic home and moved into Copley Place. We considered several apartments and chose a one bedroom with two large windows that overlook a wooded area where deer visit in the evening and rabbits wander. Kaeth measured furniture carefully and brought her favorite antiques. We opted to rent a storage unit for offseason items. Our apartment is less than 900 square feet. However, when I add the available space in the common area, our residence becomes enormous. The library is Kaeth’s favorite space and I use the game room for weekly poker games. Movies are featured in the large screen TV lounge and there is a beauty shop in the building. The activities room also has a fireplace and is available for larger parties. Our niece, Emily, age 11, visited soon after we moved in. After lunch we showed her the building and she said, “Aunt Kaeth, this is the biggest house you’ve ever owned.” Social events include dances and themed parties. Family joined us for a Christmas feast the first Sunday in December and we plan to dance at the New Year’s Eve party. Because we plan to travel to promote our businesses, the resident travel club was a compelling part of the decision. The Holiday group has more than 300 buildings in the US and Canada. We can stay in any of the buildings that have a guestroom, at no cost to us. If we’re driving through an area with a residence, we can stop for a free meal. My life is definitely simplified, which leaves more energy to work on the magazines and other ventures. If you want to join us in this relaxed lifestyle, schedule a tour at any Holiday Building and tell them I sent you! Holiday Retirement Communities 1-800-322-0999 Go to their web site www.holidaytouch.com Name: _________________________________________________ Contact Me: Address: ________________________________________________ I Would Like A Tour: City: ______________________

State: ______

Zip: _______ Please Send Me a Brochure:

Telephone Number: _______________________________________ E-mail Address: __________________________________________ Send To: Holiday Touch 3867 West Market Street # 170 Akron Ohio 44333

www.CobolMagazine.com

January 2009

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Cover story

Grass Hopper Visionary here has been much written about Grace Murray Hopper throughout the years. This is not a biography, but a testimonial to her and the work she did to provide us with a unique business oriented programming language. At the start of the computer age, she and many others were pioneers, forging through the new and exciting world of computing. She was a visionary. She knew that in order to allow the rest of us to make use of this new technology, we would need to understand it. What better choice than to create the new computing language using the English language.

Hopper’s influence continues to impact the world as the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing hosts its 9th conference in Tucson in September. Drs. Anita Borg and Telle Whitney cofounded the conference and offered the first one in 1994. More than 450 women celebrated the continuing achievements of women in computing. Borg and Telle designed the conference to bring the research and career interests of women in computing to the forefront. It is the largest technical conference for women in computing. The 2008 conference welcomed a record 1447 attendees and 301 speakers gathered from 22 countries. Call for participation opens January 17 and closes March 16. For details about the 2009 offerings go to www.gracehopper.org. This year marks the 50th birthday of COBOL. Still relevant and a vital part of the information systems landscape. She would be proud of the major advancements taking place with her “FLOWMATIC” concept. Dubbed COBOL on 18 September 1959, she and others began a half century of helping to spur business computing forward into the 20th and now 21st century. The US Navy built a ship in her honor. The USS Hopper's keel (nicknamed Amazing Grace” was laid on 23 February 1995, She was christened 6 January 1996, and in June 1997 she sailed from her construction yard at Bath Iron Works in Maine, to San Francisco, California.

Picture courtesy of US Navy

There, she was commissioned on 6 September 1997 as the 20th Arleigh Burke Class guided missile destroyer. For more information about the ship go to http://www.hopper.navy.mil. For more information about Grace check out her web site www.GraceHopper.org. In seven plus years of commissioned service to the United States HOPPER has participated in numerous fleet and allied exercises and has completed five deployments to the FIFTH and SEVENTH Fleet areas of operation. A wonderful tribute to a truly amazing women, a visionary and certainly ahead of her times.

www.CobolMagazine.com

January 2009

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www.CobolMagazine.com

January 2009

9


Encourage New COBOL Development

H

ow can we encourage new development in COBOL? The first step in encouraging new development is to dispel the myth that COBOL is a dead language. This could not be further from the truth. COBOL is still a viable computing language, especially considering the new compilers being offered today. Being a fledgling reporter I will take on that task and report back in a future article. The other is word of mouth. If you’re a COBOL programmer tell everyone you meet about the language. This would also be a good time for you to get familiar with new developments in COBOL, and subscribe to COBOL today (www.CobolToday.com) to keep up to date with new products and services. Another way is to get involved. Is to join a COBOL networking group or form your own. To find a group near you, go to www.CobolGroups.com and check out the list of groups there. We have researched the internet to find groups and create a consolidated directory. If you know about groups not listed there let us know and we’ll add them to the directory. Get creative, write that application you’ve thought about. You can now take your COBOL skills and create web based applications for fun and profit. All of the web sites I have created over the past several years use COBOL for the back end. Most also use COBOL ODBC to link to Access 2003 databases. By using ODBC it allows me to take advantage of forms for maintenance. Take a look at www.ParkModelLiving.com. It’s one of our other magazines. The directory links for Manufacturer, Dealer and Parks use COBOL to populate the lists from an Access data base on the server. The programs are very simple to write and perform well. Today anything you can do with Java or VB on the web you can now do with COBOL. Interface to Web 2.0, utilize thin client technology, .NET, Cloud Computing and much more. In future articles we will explore a software sharing service and show you how you can have all the advantages of your own company without the hassles of maintaining a corporate structure, with accounting and corporate filings taken care of this allows you to concentrate on what you do best. If you are currently creating new applications, e-mail us and you could be profiled in upcoming issues.

www.CobolMagazine.com

January 2009

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By Kaeth Gauthier

Recently I had a bike-riding epiphany when I rode a BoomerTrike for the first time. Tracy Bradford, designer and company owner of BoomerTrike , brought us a three-wheeled recumbent bike for a trial spin. I had so much fun zipping around the parking lot, I plan a much longer test drive (as soon as the snow stops). TM

TM

My first bike had fat tires, no gears, a foot break and lots of dings and dents because it was a hand-me-down from cousins. That bike was my second favorite form of entertainment, with reading in top place. Racing down the street with other children in our small town, riding to the library or getting milk and bread from the grocery store, my bike got lots of wear and tear. After years of no bike riding I gave myself a bike as a 50th birthday present. I live very close to the Cuyahoga National Valley Park, with many miles of bike paths, and was determined to take advantage of this fabulous, free resource. My research on bikes led me to a local bike shop and my first choice was a recumbent bike. I thought the recumbent would be more kind to my knees, hips and backside. The only recumbent available at the store was a two-wheeler that sat very close to the ground. After some instruction I tried the bike in the parking lot. It was difficult to balance and the pedals sat above my hips, which seemed an unstable arrangement. The padded, sling style seat was great. I was discouraged by the low profile and the sales person commented that the low profile allowed you to “eat dust” on the trail and made it difficult to see and be seen. After my ride and discussion I bought a more traditional bike. My major complaint about the Trek I purchased is the tiny, uncomfortable seat. I have tried three different seats and they all cause my seat to feel miserable and/or numb. There are many fun advantages to the BoomerTrike TM. With two smaller wheels in the front and an elevated seat, balance and comfort are absolutely assured. The pedals sit slightly below my hips for a safer cycling feel. The wide, padded seat is amazingly comfortable. This trike has a dual tiller steering function which provides a lot of stability and moves more efficiently than a traditional handlebar arrangement. Both tillers move together, so steering is nearly effortless. As you start to move, you can push the tiller to the right to turn right and pull toward the left side to turn left. A high center of gravity makes this vehicle easy to enjoy. You sit high enough to see traffic and be seen by other riders. The height keeps you above the grit. Getting on and off the bike is easy. When you stop to rest, you have a comfortable place to sit, rather than standing astride a traditional bike. This trike is also fast! Bradford tells us, “While the BoomerTrike is built more for recreational comfort riding, it can move right along. Some experienced riders report maintaining speeds in the 20-25 mph range.” He reports the speed is uses the rider’s energy more efficiently than a traditional bicycle. Whether it’s attainable because the BoomerTrike comfort (no wedgies, easy on the knees), fun, or speed this is a very appealing way to travel. Proof of age is not required and the BoomerTrike is ready to be enjoyed by everyone. TM

TM

TM

www.BoomerTrike.com www.CobolMagazine.com

January 2009

11


Telecommute and safe energy

M

any companies allow their workers to work at home during the business day rather than travel into a regular office. Telecommuting or Teleworking can help reduce transportation energy costs dramatically because workers do not travel to and from home to their offices. As computer technologies and "broadband" connections to the Internet get faster, telecommuting has become more common. A worker can be at home or in a close-by satellite office and be able to connect into their company's e-mail system, share information with coworkers, and even transfer their telephone calls to a distant location. Workers can also communicate in person to their coworkers right from their computers via instant messaging, or use small digital cameras and microphones. As the bandwidth issues of the Internet are increased and technology improves, more and more people will be able to actually hear and see the other person via computer connections. If you are interested in telecommuting, ask your company's personnel or human resources office to see if they offer such a program. According to the US Department of Transportation the Gas Independence Formula to accomplish self sufficiency = domestic gas production divided by domestic gas usage equals gas independence, Obviously the result will be a negative number. OK so how do we bring this number into a positive state? It’s simple to fix. We have at hand what it takes to fix the problem and to become energy independent. The issue is people driving their cars mostly to work. So what do we do? Do we tell people they can't go to work? That, as Bill O'Reilly would say, would be ridiculous. We use technology. There are more than enough workers in this country who are able to telecommute to work, rather than drive. Corporate America and the media need to do their part as well.

I have telecommuted to work for the last five years, and have done my part to reduce energy consumption. What have you done? Even if five percent of people worked at home via the Internet only a few days a week the results would be astounding. First, traffic jams would be a thing of the past, new highway construction would decrease, traffic accidents and highway deaths would decrease. Young families would save on child care, we could eliminate our need for foreign oil, and the list goes on and on. Nearly everyone we see on television regarding this crisis tells us to conserve. This is the easiest and fastest way to conserve. The days of spending as many as three hours a day in traffic jams driving to and from work would be over. How many of us have stayed home sick and still worked? If we can work from home while we are sick we surely can do it to save energy. Besides telecommuting also allows the handicapped to work from home. I think telecommuting needs to be distinguished from “work at home, get rich schemes� and be thought of as a viable alternative to the long traffic jams. I calculated that I spent the equivalence of three full working months sitting in my car driving to work each day. Think about it two hours a day, five days a week, 50 weeks a year works out to 500 hours a year or slightly over 12 work weeks sitting in your car. I wonder what you could do with that time? Even if you just relaxed and did nothing, your life would be much nicer and more stress free. Find the latest COBOL jobs that allow telecommuting. Employers this is a great resource to locate qualified COBOL professionals to fill your needs. The service is FREE! to both job seekers and employers. Signup today!

www.CobolMagazine.com

January 2009

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COBOL PLANET - New Cobol Portal from The Cobol Group COBOL deserves it’s own planet where the constellation of services and resources are combined in one well-organized place. The planet has now been born with a navigable habitat. The population will grow exponentionally as COBOL Magazine launches and other pioneers add their skills, talents and opinions to the planet. Transport yourself to www.CobolPlanet.com to explore the world. The general organization divides into media, jobs, education, business, and a directory. The site also links to COBOL Chat and COBOL Blog. COBOL Media group includes a monthly magazine, available on-line for free. It’s presented in a page-turning format and allows you to print selected articles or the entire magazine. COBOL Today posts headline news. You may post news about your products or services, or request news alerts. COBOL Radio will podcast and have interviews available on demand. COBOL Trade Show will be hosted in Akron, Ohio with the first show planned for 2009. How Can You Populate COBOL Media? Write an article, suggest a topic, send a pod-cast, start a lively discussion on the chat or blog space. COBOL Jobs group offers searchable recruiter and job data bases, a telecommute site and live expert COBOL assistance. How Can You Populate COBOL Jobs? Post job listings for on-site or telecommute positions. Add to our list of people and companies who specialize in recruiting COBOL talent. Tell us if you want to be in the live expert pool. COBOL Education Group offers classes, focused training and certification. Because COBOL classes are not easily available at colleges and universities, we will create and sponsor classes. How Can You Populate COBOL Education? Offer to mentor a student and teach a class. Let us know about books you have found helpful (or not). COBOL Business group includes advertising, web hosting and design, migration tools and compiler information, the opportunity to barter, and…best of all…a store where you shop for COBOL gear! How Can You Populate COBOL Business? Buy a cap or shirt to advertise your alliance with the COBOL Planet. Purchase migration services. Purchase goods and services from our advertisers. COBOL Directory points you toward COBOL user groups throughout the world and shares product demos, videos and evaluation copy downloads. How Can You Populate COBOL Directory? Add your group to our listing, or start a new group. Test products and provide feedback. Welcome to your world! Comment and contribute and help the world grow.

www.CobolMagazine.com

January 2009

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COBOL Certification by Frank Gauthier

Why

become COBOL certified? Obtaining a COBOL certification means that you posses the level of knowledge required to provide potential customers and employers with the necessary skills to perform in a COBOL environment. Organizations like ICCP (Institute for Certification of Computing Professionals) provide testing for a wide range of computing professions. Their testing in certification for COBOL deals mainly with basic COBOL concepts and not knowledge of individual dialects and compilers. It is a language subset of their main focus to certify individuals in general computer knowledge. In 2007 the ICCP has administered 12 exams and in 2008 a mere 15. A very disappointing number considering the million plus COBOL programmers around the world. Other testing options include BrainBench.com but again they are minimal at best. Given the emergence of new and advanced compilers that allow complete web interaction including Java interfaces, Cloud Computing, thin client and many more advanced capabilities COBOL’s resurgence will almost certainly create a need for certification in general COBOL knowledge but even more a

www.CobolMagazine.com

A great ma ny COBO L programmers are in their late 40’s or older and like myself eager to continue their careers exploring new uses for their existing skills and vast knowledge of business computing. Given the ability to telecommute opens up a great deal of opportunities. In addition to proving your ability to use COBOL, your skills will be recognized by potential employers and customers as having been tested. An internationally valued certificate can be an invaluable asset. We will search the internet and report back in future articles the resu lt s. Cobo lP lanet .com is working with several universities to provide college courses in COBOL. You can help. Contact your local community colleges to see if they offer any courses and let us know we will publish a directory on our new web site CobolUniversity.com.

CobolPlanet.com

If your interested in a little travel the University of Limerick in Ireland has what looks like a great offering. You can view the course structure at the following link. http://www.csis. ul.ie/cobol/Course/ Default.htm

January 2009

14


Migration from Microfocus Dialog GUI to isCOBOL

Microfocus Dialog GUI to isCOBOL

I

t’s always a challenging undertaking to migrate legacy applications to newer platforms. Especially when the legacy platform combines assembler routines specific to the source platform or worse proprietary modules. This was the case with moving an application written in Microfocus COBOL that utilizes its own graphical user interface. In this case Dialog is a very powerful GUI, It embodies a rich set of instructions for dealing with user interaction. When it comes to moving the application to a new platform this is more of a curse than a blessing. They are a combination of COBOL and basic like statements. The tight integration between the Dialog procedures and the calling program rules out a simple call to a new GUI manager. The Dialog subprogram maintains detailed information as to the current state of things between the GUI and the COBOL program. Sample Dialog Code

Dialog is intuitive, which it maintains information relative to call return locations. When a programmer codes a RETC action Dialog remembers the re-entry point when the COBOL program executes a call back to the GUI, Similar to a COBOL perform statement it returns control to the next statement after the RETC.

The challenge with any migration is to end up with the least amount of proprietary code as possible. Converting all of the Dialog procedures to standard COBOL code was the result of our migration. The story however does not end there. Once the Dialog procedure were converted to COBOL and the screens converted to a COBOL screen section and compiled clean we were ready to begin testing. We began testing the migrated application. A large part of any migration was exacerbated due to the many default behaviors of Dialog. It presumed behavior for missing code in many instances and since the migration tool converted the code it processed, the programs compiled clean but when it came time to execute the programs some did not run correctly. The Dialog code would accept information on screens that were not explicitly displayed before hand. These were easily corrected, however the time involved tracking each one was daunting. As the migration went forward it became easier to test due to the fact that the same or similar issues were problems throughout the code. The resulting code is clean and easily maintained. Once testing is completed the application will be ready to be modified to add enhanced features and to take advantage of features including XML, thin client ODBC and many more.

www.CobolMagazine.com

January 2009

15


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COBOL Magazine (330)-858-0734

January 2009

16


www.CobolMagazine.com

January 2009


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Cobol Magazine January 2009