MS, Micro Focus team to shine COBOL apps

Microsoft and UK tools maker Micro Focus are teaming up to give those old COBOL apps a more modern look and feel.

Despite the rush to languages such as C, C++ and Java, Micro Focus claims over 150 billion lines of COBOL code are still in use today, often running mission critical applications in very large organisations.

The combination of Micro Focus's NetExpress development tool for distributed and Internet-enabled applications with Microsoft's Visual Studio suite is intended as an opportunity for developers to put a more user-friendly face on what are typically character-based COBOL applications.

The pair are coming together as part of Microsoft's Enterprise Development Tool Partner Program which allows partners to better integrate tools and entitles them to earlybird views of Microsoft plans.

"Instead of rewriting the business logic used for transaction processing in a new object-oriented language - in essence, throwing away millions of pounds invested over decades - our customers can use NetExpress to 'wrapper' the logic code to integrate seamlessly into new applications they are creating in Visual Basic or Visual C++," said Marian Sichel, general manager at Micro Focus in a prepared statement.