COBOL AT 60: THE LEGEND CONTINUES

2

Introduction

The perpetual drive for technological
evolution can produce less-than-
essential results, gimmickry rather
than genuine innovation. We can
all think of previously must-have
technology that has been Darwin-ed
out of our lives. In contrast, bona
de game-changers not only
endure, but continue to evolve in of
themselves. Google is 21 years old,
and it has moved on from putting
the “hasta la vista” into AltaVista,
into a multitentacled, life-organizing
digital being. Now 25, Amazon left
peddling cheap paperbacks online
behind to become the world’s largest
e-commerce and cloud computing
platform.

But despite these timelines, and the brutal,
ephemeral world of technology, their constant
reinvention means that no one thinks of
Google or Amazon as old. So what does
that make COBOL and IBM CICS, 60 and 50
respectively? For COBOL, it’s tempting to point
to NASA launch codes, again, to prove ongoing
roadworthiness. But as we’ve discovered, for
technology, the past is another country and
a sentiment-free zone. To endure, tech must
remain relevant. So, rather than reect on a
solid, largely unrivalled track record, I want to
look forward and explore what the future looks
like for COBOL.