Much of the world’s critical infrastructure, such as state agencies, financial services, healthcare, transportation, and other major industries, depend on mainframes and business applications written in COBOL (COmmon Business Oriented Language).
For many of these organizations, modernizing their IT systems and moving workloads to the Cloud has become imperative for agility, cost-efficiency, and competitiveness reasons. In this context, there are many good reasons to make the move from COBOL to a modern object-oriented (OO) programming language, and the following are some of the biggest concerns for businesses today:
COBOL talent-shortage is another major factor that comes into play when organizations decide to migrate to more popular programming languages, such as Java or C#. That’s when every IT leader must make a decision about the development team, and what will happen to the COBOL programmers in this scenario.
The short answer after having implemented tens of migrations to OO is that the COBOL development team can transition together with the application by learning Java while retaining their core value: profound knowledge and insight into your company’s applications and business processes.
In general, in takes a lot more time and effort to get accustomed to the ins and outs of a mature, decades-old codebase than it takes to learn a new programming language and the associated toolset.
Next to this general learning principle, our COBOL to Java solution exhibits very specific characteristics that make it easy for a COBOL developer to still recognize their code after the transformation.
Here are the most important ones:
For the COBOL developer, this means he will not only feel immediately familiar with the structure of the Java codebase, he can also understand most of its meaning even before he will have learned Java.
What does it take for a COBOL developer to not only recognize the transformed code but actually be capable of further maintaining and extending it? A basic java language course and a one-day training session in which the core principles of the transformation and the support library are explained.
Past experience shows that this is enough to enable almost all COBOL developers to become productive maintainers of the new Java codebase. Depending on the individual ambition and talent, some will go beyond and become general-purpose Java developers. Others will stay productive application developers, just as they were before.
To conclude, a COBOL to Java migration project really empowers COBOL developers to extend their careers. At the same time, a forward-looking company has the opportunity to build a mixed team that combines the very specific and deep application knowledge of the existing COBOL programmers with the Java-technology specific skills and know-how of new Java programmers.
Planning to migrate from COBOL? Get in touch with our experts to learn how your team can prepare for this transition.
Everybody agrees that automation is key to mainframe modernization regardless of the selected transformation approach, particularly in replatforming or refactoring projects. Not everybody, however, has the vision to automate the journey all the way.
As agile practices have gained in popularity, more organizations than ever before are choosing to integrate development, testing, and release processes into a single cohesive whole.
Get in touch with our experts and find out how Astadia's range of tools and experience can support your team.contact us now