COBOL continues to evolve to take advantage
of emerging technology; the COBOL language
standard was updated in 1974, 1985, 2002
and 2013. As future standards emerge, the
language will evolve.

The COBOL software vendor community,
including IBM and Micro Focus, played its part
both by participating in the standards body,
and also being one of the key pioneers of the
new standard from a compliance perspective.
It also re-afrmed its commitment to its
clients, and the language, by establishing the
backwards compatibility policy: Any COBOL
program, anywhere, which conforms to the
standard(s), will compile with the latest COBOL


New application development is rarely from
scratch. More frequently, client-focused
innovation is about delivering business
applications through new channels. The
business logic in COBOL systems has been
hard-won and expensively assembled.
Business sense dictates it must also be
extensively mined.

Reusability: COBOL’s highly readily

understood nature is why it permeates the
enterprise. Why constantly re-invent the
wheel when you’re already moving forward?

Accessibility: Alternative development

languages can rapidly access COBOL value
using native semantics and data types

Compatibility: The backwards

compatibility policy helps to keep
applications current and provide a low-risk
environment for systems development, a
stark contrast to other technology options
where the code has to be rewritten after
every compiler releasechange.

Such important factors spawned a meteoric
growth in the usage of the language for
commerce. Some estimates put the amount
of COBOL code in production in the hundreds
of billions. This volume of code and level of
investment–especially given the importance
of some of the business functions it provides–
creates a lasting heritage andlongevity.

Some estimates put the
amount of COBOL code
in production
in the hundreds