Suggestions for getting back into COBOL

I’m not sure where this might fit in. I’m looking for suggestions on a way to get back into COBOL programming. I have solid experience, but I haven’t worked in it since 2012. I enjoyed it and would like to get back into programming. What are your suggestions for training to update my experience?

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Hi Melissa, welcome to the Community Forums.
I’d suggest installing Microsoft Visual Studio Code IDE (there’s a version for Linux too. I’m using it in Mint 19.3) there’s COBOL support extensions you can install easily. I’ve only just started with it, so may be looking for help myself soon! Like you I’ve not used COBOL since the early 2000’s.

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I’d strongly suggest you to enroll in the Master the Mainframe challenges from IBM.
There, at least while the 2020 challenge last, you have the chance to use the Visual Studio as per the previous reply, as also have access to a zOS mainframe. I guess the link is, but I did not check/confirm.

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Hi Melissa,
As suggest above Master the Mainframe would definitely help you.

Worth taking a look at these as well:

All the best !

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Hi Melissa,

The good thing is that COBOL has not changed albeit there are certain enhancements depending on what platform your working with. AcuCOBOL, is ANSI standard but IBM and OpenVMS has slightly different extensions but are easily discernable.

So it’s all based on which OS your targeting but the core COBOL has not changed.

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Thank you all for your insights and helpful links. I appreciate it!!

Is there anywhere I could play with COBOL under OpenVMS, get a bit of practice with it? Once upon a time I was very, very good with it (could do truly interesting and useful things with it, some of which were published). Part of what I documented was how to call the VMS sort routines from COBOL so you didn’t have to buy expensive commercial SORT products, plus also how to do nibble reversal so you could prepare data to download to PC’s from IBM mainframes. Doing COBOL under VMS with DCL was a lot of fun!

‘External’ sorts were my prefered method of massaging data as there were often times when different departments required a different sort and I didn’t have to modify the program.

DCL is a very powerful tool, if you know the syntax and can be very benificial. IBM is very restrictive in my opinion so I never chose to go down that path.

Greetings to all the expert programmers and developers of this prestigious group.
I am very proud to belong to this great family of COBOL developers, I love COBOL.
It is one of the best programming languages hands down.
I would like to ask for help in the following.
I am about to undertake a very daring project is to make a POS, or point of sale terminal, totally in COBOL.
WHAT YOU SUGGEST ME, which version of COBOL I can use.
Thank you for your valuable contributions, and if anyone wants to help with this project, welcome.
The idea is that it works in the cloud, too.
A big hug for everyone

Ing. Eisenhower
Greetings from Colombia

Hi I hope you’re doing well and I support you :wink: COBOL is alive :slight_smile:
this link might help you Mainframe Forum: COBOL interview questions | MF COBOL Interview Questions 2021 | [Best COBOL interview questions]. and I can lent you a Z/OS mainframe connexion for a couple of days if you want to test your COBOL program :wink: but you will have to create your own PDS, files and DB2 tables, JCL, etc. with TSO/ISPF
IBM provides free remote training on its product RDz / IDz if you want to know this environnement IDz/RDz Remote Training - Mainframe DEV
Best wishes
I’m French so forgive me for my English :slight_smile: