Migrating COBOL to Java

How can businesses move safely and cost effectively from COBOL to an Object-Oriented language? And why is Java one of the most popular solutions for organizations relying on COBOL for their core legacy systems?

The white paper explores the key business drivers for making the step from COBOL to Java, and how our CodeTurn tool makes this transition possible. It explains the solution's added value over other approaches, and demystify the migration process.

Why Migrate from COBOL to Java?

There are many good reasons to make the move to Java from COBOL, but the following are the largest concerns for businesses today:

  • High (and rising) maintenance and runtime fees for the existing COBOL products
  • Shrinking availability of COBOL developers and lack of interest in COBOL from young developers
  • End-of-life scenarios for certain COBOL technologies
  • Lack of application extensibility and interoperability with other, non-COBOL applications

Java offers answers to all of the above concerns:

  • Support fees are negligible when compared to COBOL, even with the updated Oracle licensing policies.
  • Java is one of the most widely-used programming languages today, and it is the language of choice for instruction in the IT programs of many schools.
  • Its interoperability and portability are unsurpassed when compared to other technologies: it operates with practically all database and middleware technologies in use today and runs on everything from smartphones to washing machines to mainframes.   

Next to that, moving to Java also means:

  • Enabling the use of a state-of-the-art IDE in the form of Visual Studio, with extensive debugging, refactoring, profiling and (unit)testing support
  • Enabling the use of thousands of third-party libraries, covering almost all imaginable computing needs:  UI‑development, database interaction, mail/ftp/http/… communication, parsing, xml processing
  • Enabling the use of modern application architectures (multi-tier, SOA or micro-service based) and deployment techniques (cloud, docker, …)

Automated Migration

There are various solutions to migrate from COBOL to Java, but automated migration is the only realistic approach for large, legacy COBOL applications. Here are some of the solution's main benefits:


Since all code is translated by software, there can be no differences in quality and all existing functionality is kept as-is.

Speed and continuous improvement possibilities

A complete code base can be converted in a couple of hours, meaning that this process can be repeated as often as needed or wanted.

A very high degree of testability

When keeping the converted application’s functionality unchanged, the original application’s behavior can effectively be used as a regression test (and running this regression test, too, can be automated).

Minimal interruption

Existing developers and IT department can keep working on their daily tasks, including the ongoing maintenance of the COBOL code.

Get the White Paper

Download the white paper to explore various migration approaches and learn the key-factors to a successful migration.

For a more detailed documentation on how COBOL can be transformed into working, maintainable Java code, please request a copy of our COBOL to Java Transformation Research Paper.

Download the White Paper

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