Fujitsu Software Corp has come up with what it is describing as a revolutionary Cobol compiler that enables the deployment of Cobol applications onto web-based systems. Named NetCobol, the compiler generates 100% pure Java bytecode-based applications or applets from existing legacy Cobol programs. The compiler is an extension of Fujitsu’s existing Cobol Professional – a full Cobol graphical interface development environment – which the company gives away free, and runs on Windows 95 or NT 4.0-based systems. Programs generated will execute on any machine that supports the Java Virtual Machine. Fujitsu says NetCOBOL enables programmers to re-target legacy Cobol applications to central network business systems, while at the same time lowering the cost of internet application development. The new compiler includes a Java-based and network accessible Cobol file system, event driven graphical interface programming extensions, an embedded SQL preprocessor, and TCP/IP socket programming extensions. Fujitsu Software has been in the Cobol market since 1965, according to the company’s general manager of developer tools, Todd Yancey, and still has some 10,000 legacy mainframe sites, along with 300,000 midrange sites using Cobol. Yancey said: We have a very close relationship with Sun and have made a significant investment in Java, so this is just a natural progression. Yancey believes NetCobol is the only language other than Java, to generate the bytecode. NetCobol is shipping now, priced at $750.
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