Micro Focus brings Cobol to the Web

Micro Focus brings Cobol to the Web

Micro Focus will bring its large installed base of Cobol programmers into the age of the Internet next week with the release of Net Express 3.0, an update to its application development environment that facilitates linking Cobol applications to the Web.

Though Java gets most of the attention in Web development, the majority of business process applications are written in Cobol. And most customers would rather extend those applications to the Web than rewrite them in Java, said John Guertin, group director of product management at Micro Focus.

With that goal in mind, the next release of Net Express includes an Internet application wizard that helps Web-enable Cobol applications, a forms designer, Web server performance tuning options, enhanced Unix support, remote debugging tools, and better integration with both Component Object Model and CORBA environments.

"This is very important to the Cobol-installed base right now - to preserve the business logic and keep their trained staff productive. [Micro Focus] is not getting into the next-generation stuff right now, but they have tested this, and it's going to work," said Sally Cusack, an analyst at IDC in Framingham.

For many businesses, Guertin asserts that the need to gain an Internet-commerce presence that is tightly integrated with their existing operations is now the pre-eminent goal. Because of this, many sites will find it more convenient to extend existing business applications to the Web, rather than trying to cope with integrating Java and Cobol environments.

In the future, however, Micro Focus plans to add more links between its Cobol tools and other Java

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