back to article Working in the COBOL mine

The most common applications sector where the integration of long-standing legacy applications is a still vital requirement is, of course, the broad reaches of the financial services community. When such an application has established itself and proved not just its capabilities but its reliability and overall efficiency to the …


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  1. Brent Jones

    Sign me up to code in COBOL

    I am 56 years old and know programming from 1969. Always ready to learn.

  2. Tim O'C

    I was writing this kind of software back in the 1990's

    I worked for a company in Ireland called Piercom, where a research project from the University of Limerick was commercialized. Its now called Inspect.

    I was focused on the DEC (as was) compiler suite, though others were supported. After analysis you could track the flow of information through an application that could be a pure or mixed COBOL, PASCAL, FORTRAN (bane of my life), C, etc legacy application and use it to help re-design or upgrade it.

    There were a suite of tools to help you track variables and structures through the whole application. No mean feat i can tell you.

    In the 1990's its main market was Y2k analysis, and it was the best in the world at the time, all the competition had was crude code scanners. IIRC the COBOL analyzer was awarded a Smithsonian innovation medal.

    I moved on before 2000, but they still have the product.

  3. David Norfolk


    Inspect does indeed look like an interesting product, but when I approached Piercom in order to learn more about it, Piercom's CEO said: "Thanks for your interest but we have no interest in this unless there was a tangible commercial opportunity. If you have money we can talk"...


    I wonder how it now compares with the modern tools from Micro Focus etc?

  4. Tim O'C

    Oh well.

    Oh well,

    Not knowing any of the microfocus tools i cannot compare. IIRC The Inspect toolset was originaly designed to aid in legacy application re-engineering, and business process re-engineering. I think they consult for that kind of work now, but not sure as i have not been in contact with them in a while.

    Commercial opportunities for that kind of tool is limited these days i think. What with the prevailing attitude to legacy applications being either "if it ain't broke don't fix it" or "prop it up until we can get a cheap replacement built offshore"

    Over Xmas I found a book with some of my notes on the grammar for the VMS Pascal parser, took me back i can tell you ;)

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