COBOL in the App Store? – 2022

Featured Image is an original screenshot by the Author

From the Techopedia, “An app store refers to an online shop where customers can purchase and download various software applications. Generally speaking, the apps sold through app stores are intended for mobile devices.”

A long way from the technology that built the app store is COBOL (Common Business-Oriented Language), a 63-year-old programming language, which is normally compiled and run on a Mainframe computer system in a legacy environment.

To see if these two worlds meet in 2022, I did a quick search on “COBOL” in the App Store. It gave me only 4 results:

  1. COBOL Programming Language
  2. Learn COBOL Programming 2022
  3. LongRange
  4. Julianator

Who would have thought that COBOL would ever be applicable in an App World? The info below is a brief discussion of each App. It’s not meant to be a review or a rating, just some cursory observations. Perhaps future articles will provide more detail.

COBOL Programming Language

The first app is subtitled “Learning to code with Cobol”. It looks like a good app for the person wanting to learn the basics, while not getting into too much detail. This app lets you compile, build, and run COBOL code. I got the app myself to have a closer look, and there is a small charge for compilations within the app—100 compiles for $1.49, unlimited compiles for $3.99. There are, however, sample source files that can be built and run for free, based on provided input. It includes Source, Input, Output, and Reference options.

The best part, in my opinion, is the reference section which includes the IBM Language Reference.  It also has a resource area that points to COBOL free open-source compilers and editors. All in all, a good “one stop shop” for COBOL info to at least get someone started coding.

Screenshot of the Learning to Code with COBOL App

Learning COBOL Programming 2022

This app, by Saqib Masood, is a series of training lessons on learning COBOL programming. Screenshots show that the training includes a Basic Guide that has Installation, Glossary and Advantages sections.

Since the app has a $1.39 cost associated with it, I’m not going to get it at the moment. However, it will be a good topic to put on the back burner for later discussion in a future article.

Screenshot of the Learn COBOL Programming 2022 App

LongRange

From the brief description provided, LongRange extends and enhances a classic IBM user interface. They claim that this would extend to COBOL development. There was a recent new version, and the copyright is 2022.

I can’t quite visualize how this would work in the COBOL world to provide application mobility. Again, something to explore in more detail later.

Julianator

The app’s function is to convert a date between a Julian Day of the Year and Gregorian—in both directions. The description mentions the Mainframe system, where this conversion is often used. There was a recent version, and the copyright is 2022.

As there is a cost associated with the app, I won’t get it right now. I may follow up later to have a closer look.

As predicted, there wasn’t too much to be found when searching on COBOL in the app store. I loved the fact that there were a couple of promising apps in terms of COBOL training. It seems that even an old classic like COBOL has found its way into the Apple world.

 

 

Author: Donna Jennings

I have a BA and a BComm, as well as a Diploma in Programming. I have been a COBOL system designer and coder for over 25 years, and I am still trying to demystify the language for myself...I Love the culture of COBOL and how it has provided so many people, including myself, with a lifelong livelihood. The opinions in my posts are completely my own, based on my many years of experience working in a COBOL development environment.

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