COBOL in the App Store?–2019

An IBM Mainframe. A long way from an IPhone.
Photo courtesy of Pexels

Doing a quick search on ‘COBOL’ in the App Store gave me 5 results:

  1. Cobol Programming Language
  2. Learning Cobol
  3. LongRange
  4. Julianator
  5. IBM Doc Buddy

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 later blog postings will follow with 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 charge for compilations within the app. 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, that points at the IBM Language Reference and Programming Guide, along with a COBOL Tutorial and COBOL Resources section.

A screen shot of the “Learning to Code with COBOL” app

Learning Cobol

This app, by Jason Stafford, is a video training on learning COBOL programming. According to the description, it starts with a tutorial on the basics of COBOL programming. Screenshots show that the training includes a Learning View, a Practice Exam, a Virtual Exam and Exam History.

Since this app has a cost associated with it, I’m not going to get it at the moment. However, it will be a good follow-up discussion to put on the back burner for a later time.


From the brief description provided, LongRange allows IBM applications to use an enhanced interface. It seems that this would extend to COBOL development. 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.


I don’t see any direct mention of COBOL in the description, but the app’s function is to convert a date between a Julian Day of the Year and a Gregorian Day of the Year. I’m not sure how this app would help in COBOL programming, aside from finding a correct date to input into a program.

As there is a cost associated with the app, it’s probably not something to get for its COBOL use. Not sure I would bother with a follow-up.

IBM Doc Buddy

This app is subtitled the ‘One-stop mainframe portal’ and looks like a promising source of IBM information, including message information for COBOL and its related functions (ie/ CICS, DB2, etc). It also claims to provide IBM product updates and to connect with IBM mainframe experts.

This is one app I would be excited to get and try out. I see this as a future research subject, as well as an app to be used in a practical way. Definitely adding this app to my list of future post topics.

A screen shot of the “IBM Doc Buddy” app

As predicted, there wasn’t too much to be found when searching on COBOL in the app store. Loved the fact that there were a couple of very promising apps in terms of COBOL training and one that was hyped as a ‘one-stop mainframe portal’. It seems that even an old classic like COBOL has found its way into the world of apps.


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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