From: HansJ on
On 13 Aug., 05:08, "Pete Dashwood"
<dashw...(a)> wrote:

> > <snip>

> I am no longer surprised by what people can do on mainframes and I realise
> there is a vast difference between what we did in the last century with them
> and what people are doing today.
> Nevertheless, I still believe the arguments I outlined above.
> Pete.
> --
> "I used to write I can do anything."

Pete, we should not mix up COBOL and mainframes to be the same issue,
though when talking about mainframes in 99% it is a z/Series system
and I'm not an expert in that area - my background is Unisys.

These z/Series based Linux systems seem to provide a good combination
between the traditional mainframe and the up to date open systems

I prefer Unix / Linux rather than windows as a server platform.

From: Howard Brazee on
On Fri, 13 Aug 2010 14:25:59 +1200, "Pete Dashwood"
<dashwood(a)> wrote:

>It is interesting (to me, at least) that the main strongholds of COBOL
>remain corporates and Government where HUGE transaction volumes and data
>warehouses are required. I think this is due to a number of factors:

I see the separation transaction database and the data warehouse
allowing the users to get their own reports using tools such as
Cognos. With a smaller need for applications programmers to produce
their reports, CoBOL as a reporting tool is less important even there.

In the transaction system, the trend is for entry via web based
applications, replacing CICS or ADSO.

Databases are more isolated from the language of the program that uses
the SQL.

>1. Cost effectiveness is not such a high priority. (they are either spending
>other people's money or they have cornered a given market :-))
>2. The cost of change in such a huge organization could be more than the
>benefits realized, certainly in the short term.

It isn't just governments that are looking for short-term economic
advantage at the cost of much greater long-term economic advantage.
Look at the U.S. mortgage crisis for an example.


>I'm not sure if there is NO majority development language. Proper statistics
>are impossible to obtain as far as I can see. I heard there were over 10
>million downloads of C# from the MS site, but how can you check, and who
>knows what to believe?

Downloads mean people *look* at the language. They don't indicate
how much is actually used.

>Certainly, Java has become far more important than
>many people foresaw. I was reading some stuff a few days ago about mainframe
>programmers learning Object Oriented concepts and experiementing with Java
>and even OO COBOL. (However, it was from a Micro Focus site, so there would
>be a bias there, just as there would be a MS bias from one of their sites.)

You gave two candidates. Combine those with other widely used
languages, and it is doubtful if any single one is greater than 1/3 of
application development.

>I have been toying with the idea of developing for Win Phone 7.
>(MS are VERY keen to get people writing applications. The SDK is free and
>there are numerous MS seminars being run to encourage people. Visual Studio
>2010 supports development for it and VS 2008 (which I use for C# and some VB
>development) can have plugins added to support development for Win Phone 7.
>However, I have some other problems pressing at the moment (see "persiting
>Object References in COBOL" elsewhere in this forum) and I can't spare the
>time to do the homework I would need to. Besides, from the previews I've
>seen there doesn't seem to be much this phone will be lacking when it
>becomes available :-))

Sounds like fun. I can see a bigger market if the tools allow the
application to quickly be ported to other phones.

>> At one time the hammer was a major building development tool. Today,
>> many structures are built without a traditional hammer being used.
>Is that really true, Howard? I can't imagine it... :-)

Yes. There are several power tools available to connect parts of a
structure. Rivet guns, glue guns, staple guns, screw guns - and
power hammers come to mind.

"In no part of the constitution is more wisdom to be found,
than in the clause which confides the question of war or peace
to the legislature, and not to the executive department."

- James Madison
From: Howard Brazee on
On Fri, 13 Aug 2010 15:08:58 +1200, "Pete Dashwood"
<dashwood(a)> wrote:

>The mainframe has traditionally had 2 main strengths:
>1. It has been a good database repository, with programs running on it and
>accessing local data resources.
>2. It has been a good transaction processor with programs like CICS and
>IMS/DC providing windows into its data repository.

It also provides a single point for security issues.

>Now we are seeing hardware/software combinations other than mainframe/COBOL
>which can do the DB stuff much faster and VERY much cheaper. These systems
>use parallell processing as a given. Even with multicores, the mainframe is
>pressed to compete. And COBOL is not great for multitasking, never mind
>multiprocessing. (Before everyone jumps on me with "But COBOL CAN do that",
>yes it can but its overheads in doing so (multiple thread copies) are much
>greater than some other properly re-entrant alternatives.) C# 4 has new
>facilities specifically to support parallell processing. I understand
>similar facilities will be available in Java. COBOL has no such plans.

I agree with you about COBOL, but it is not at all difficult to see
mainframe computer databases competing with server farms in cost. Of
course the definition of "mainframe" seems to be variable when we walk
into a computer room and the obvious difference between the Sun and
the IBM is one is pink, the other is blue.

"In no part of the constitution is more wisdom to be found,
than in the clause which confides the question of war or peace
to the legislature, and not to the executive department."

- James Madison