The undead

COBOL turns 50 this year, but still has the energy and enthusiasm of a someone much younger. Perhaps 50 is the new 30, or even the new 14!

But are companies really relying on a half-century-old invention to handle large chunks of their dealings? Mike Madden, development service manager with the catalogue-shopping firm JD Williams, believes so.
Better known for its online stores, such as Simply Be and Fifty Plus, Madden says JD Williams remains highly dependent on Cobol applications. “We have a huge commitment to Cobol,” he says. “About 50% of our mainframe systems use it.”
Why? “Simple – we haven’t found anything faster than Cobol for batch-processing,” Madden says. “We use other languages, such as Java, for customer-facing websites, but Cobol is for order processing. The code matches business logic, unlike other languages.”

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