Inside COBOL #64 (COBOL resources)
Shawn Gordon
The Kompany

I thought I would spend a little time this month talking about COBOL and some of the web sites that are interesting and some of the news I’ve heard about. First off here is an interesting list of web sites.

Top of the list is which touts itself as the COBOL centerand based on the links it has, this is a great place to start. Any COBOL books you are looking for, or COBOL news or compilers, just a whole ton of good stuff from here. these guys seem to have a bunch of COBOL add on stuff, especially for doing windows type development. they seem more tied with RM/COBOL than anything, but it might be worth looking in to.

Want to know more about Object Oriented COBOL? Then take a look at this seems to be the hot spot for finding books and information on the latest stuff.

I am forever disappointed with the Windows versions of COBOL compilers, they still don’t seem to get it. At HP World in 98 I spoke with Acucobol and was getting very excited about what they were talking
about, but the reality didn’t live up to the hype. No one ever seems to be able to come up with a straight forward method of building GUI COBOL apps that are web deployable, at least in a reasonable fashion. Despite that complaint, here are some of the vendors you should probably check out if you are thinking you may want to do client/server COBOL work with ODBC or JDBC.

Acucobol these folks use to support their COBOL on the HP 3000, but they seem to have dropped it. The biggest issue was the only file system they seemed to work with was their Vision file format which if I recall correctly is similar to KSAM. They never supported Image, so it was hard to get anyone excited about it. They run on a bazillion different platforms though, so it’s usually worth looking at.

Fujitsu PowerCobol if you also check out you can read the about the COBOL 2000 standard that is coming soon as well as the Object Oriented extensions.

Now MicroFocus and Intersolv have merged and are now known as Merant, there web site is They don’t seem to be pushing the COBOL as hard any more, but I could be wrong, it’s just the focus of their web site and marketing materials are not as focused as they use to
Be. MicroFocus is another company that use to run on the 3000, but it seemed to be greated with indiference. The problem with both MicroFocus and Acucobol is that they require a run time license fee because they have a run time environment file that describes the display attributes of the system they are running on.

Synkronix at are the folks that offer PERCobol which is the COBOL to Java translator. They are very MPE-centric, and I will be doing a review real soon now. I’ve been looking at their product for over a year now and have been getting more and more interested, but was waiting for a few new features to come out. Now that version 2.2 is out, I think it will be time to review it soon, so look for it before the end of the year.

Liant RM Cobol they’ve built something called Van GUI which originally was supposed to be a nice visual interface to their COBOL environment, but now it seems to have evolved into some sort of plug in for Delphi and Visual Basic. I’ve never been real clear on how it’s supposed to work, and the web site doesn’t explain a lot.

There is a fun little freeware COBOL interpreter at it doesn’t support all of the ANSI85 standard, and I don’t know what their plans are for the future,
but it’s something to play with or learn with.

The biggest problem with all the COBOL vendor sites is that they are short on meat and devoid of downloads that are easily found or screen snapshots.

There is an interesting rumor of a product that will eventually be at, but there isn’t anything there yet. I will keep you posted as real information becomes available.