IT Horror Story: A World Without COBOL
With Halloween just around the corner, a real-life horror story is all around us, just waiting to be unleashed. We’re referring to our widespread dependence on COBOL, one of our oldest programming languages. Because it was designed to ensure longevity for enterprise applications, COBOL still runs some of the world's most basic and critical applications, but it has been increasingly dismissed as an over-the-hill programming language that today's developers don't want to work with. That presents the possibility that a severe shortage of COBOL programmers could contribute to a doomsday scenario in which many of the critical services we depend on are unavailable. It's the specter of such a disaster that motivated software-maker Micro Focus to develop a visual COBOL tool that lets companies run their COBOL applications on .Net, Java Virtual Machine and the cloud. "COBOL is the most prominent and reliable programming language, designed for today's mission-critical business applications," said Ed Airey, Micro Focus' product manager for COBOL. Here's a look at 12 applications that depend on COBOL—and what might happen in a widespread COBOL crash.