Friday, April 11, 2008

Is COBOL killing CICS ?

How's that for a starter ? I must immediately admit, it's not my quote, it comes from Corneel's Blog at the CICS Community Forums page. I recently came across this blog of Corneel Booysen, also the driving force behind the CICS Wiki, I discussed earlier. He writes a great article on how COBOL is a threat for CICS as CICS is put in the same bad daylight as COBOL. I hope Corneel won't mind me quoting a couple of extracts. But be sure to read the entire article. And there'll be coming an 'Uncertain Future of CICS Part 2'.
The very same thing that has been the bread-and-butter of the mainframe for so long and has helped IBM build their mainframe empire – is the thing that threatens to kill it but more specifically in this case – CICS. The monstrous monolithic mass that is the 500 billion lines of COBOL code that companies still maintain has become a dingy little secret that is kept in the basement of many a fortune 500 company. That missing code, the retiring programmer community has become the “Unmovable Object”.

Companies actively develop themselves out of trouble. They have given up on converting or migrating COBOL code or COBOL people to anything else. They replace the functionality with newer systems, in modern programming languages developed by enthusiastic people that enjoy working with computers. In fact I dare to say that the users of modern programming languages and technologies has a much firmer grasp on information management and computer science theory than the typical COBOL programmer.

A couple of posts earlier Corneel is also discussing 'The Aging Mainframe Workforce' : "I believe that IBM is dedicated to the future of the mainframe. The question is - are we? I suppose (or hope) the initial response to the question would be “Yes”. But the unavoidable follow-up to that is - what are we doing about it? Are we creating an environment that promotes and nurtures new talent?" For the answer, you'll have to read his post.

Corneel also points to another CICS blog that has just started : 'The Master Terminal'. Its intentions : "This unofficial blog is written by a hopefully expanding group of people in IBM Hursley and beyond who work on CICS. Expect to see posts on conferences, code samples, helpful hints and anything else that we can think of". It does look interesting but I'll hold my 'judgement' as they only started out March 31, 2008.

But I think I found two interesting blogs on CICS worth checking out regularly.