In an environment where the birth and death of technology is frequent and applauded as a sign of human progress, the COBOL language has withstood the test of time. During its 50-year track record, developers have consistently adapted it to meet the shifting needs of businesses, even creating a number of features that give it a competitive edge over other languages for some applications. It is the best-equipped language to build high performance, low memory-use transactions, making it ideal for accounting and business. COBOL is very stable and is known to deliver the lowest cost per transaction in the industry. As a result, COBOL continues to be the cornerstone for billions of critical business transactions in global enterprises today.
In this age of diverse IT ecosystems, it is also important to note that COBOL programs are highly portable and have been ported to virtually every hardware platform. They can connect to most operating systems, including Windows, Linux and Unix, and can be used with a wide variety of hardware and software –AS/400, VSE, OS/2, DOS, VMS, Unisys, DG, VM, and MVS. Mainframes, the most common legacy platform, are champions when it comes to reliable high volume transaction processing.
COBOL: Here to Stay
75% of the world’s business data and 90% of financial transactions are processed using COBOL. Around 200 billion lines are in use today, although some experts estimate that number closer to 250 billion lines. In addition to the existing code, it is estimated that about five billion lines of COBOL code are added each year. More impressive perhaps, is that each day the number of COBOL transactions is 200 times the number of Google searches (there were nearly six billion Google searches in 2013).
COBOL’s ranking in internet searches has steadily risen over the past few years from below 50 to 20 according to the TIOBE programming community index, which goes to show that people are talking more about COBOL now than any other time since its inception. Almost all financial institutions and stock companies use COBOL on a daily basis. Despite the ubiquitous nature of COBOL programs, there are a few challenges that face enterprises running them.
These challenges will be the focus of our next blog. Are you facing challenges with your COBOL programs? Let us know what you're up against in the comments below.
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