To me programming is more than an important practical act. It is also a gigantic undertaking in the foundations of knowledge.—Grace Murray Hopper (Open Sources , O'Reilly and Associates, 1999, p. 7)
• learning how to manage large software projects,
• greater discipline in our profession,
• cleaner portfolios,
• a reduction in the legacy-code fear factor,
• revamped testbeds,
• better testing and software development methods, and
• the introduction of many third-party software tools and vendors.
• On the desktop: Cobol IDEs can input Cobol source code and output Java byte code, run as Cobol virtual machines inside browsers, invoke and communicate with JavaBeans and with COM and Corba objects, use ActiveX controls, and generate Cobol graphical interfaces.
• On the server: Cobol can interoperate with Corba, DCOM, and Enterprise JavaBeans; work with and control HTML and dynamic HTML; and be the CGI language working with form data and named environment variables. Cobol's Accept and Display verbs can receive and present name-value pairs. "Cobol as the gatekeeper brings the power of Cobol's preeminent data-manipulation features into play and allows the gateway to talk to other programs, databases, and transaction monitors." 3
• On the mainframe: Cobol's strict adherence to backward compatibility allows Cobol programs from the 1960s to intermix object-oriented and procedural statements to invoke other objects or be invoked. Cobol code can be wrapped and participate as large-grained components, or cleaved at the business-rule level to participate as smaller-grained objects.
Edmund C. Arranga is the editor-in-chief of CobolReport.com and coauthor of Object-Oriented Cobol (SIGS Books/Cambridge Univ. Press, 1996). His interests include patterns, Cobol, the data-driven Web, and e-commerce. Arranga is currently working on a book about the Cobol 2002 standard. He graduated from Texas A&M University and is completing his MS in software engineering at Southern Methodist University. He is a member of the IEEE. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wilson Price has taught computer information systems at the university level for over 30 years, chairing the computer information systems department at Merritt College, in Oakland, California, for 24 years. He is the author of 38 textbooks on computers and information processing, including six on Cobol. The latest is entitled Elements of Cobol Web Programming (Object-Z Publishing, 1999). His consulting services have ranged from writing system software in assembly language to the design and implementation of an organization-wide database management system. As a principal of Object-Z Systems, his current activities focus on Cobol—in particular teaching OO Cobol and Web programming using Cobol. He received an MS in engineering from the University of Pittsburgh and an MS in mathematics from California State University, San Jose. Contact him at 220 La Espiral, Orinda, CA 94563; email@example.com.