COBOL, a 63-year-old programming language, still plays an important role in managing the global economy, but until recently it was not known how popular it was.
According to research by the COBOL (Common Business-Oriented Language) working group, there are currently up to 850 billion lines of code, up from an earlier estimate of 200-300 billion.
Looking ahead, about half of the respondents agreed that they expect COBOL applications in their organizations to remain in use for at least 10 years, and that they expect COBOL use to increase over the next year, but COBOL wants to know more.
Is COBOL popular?
A new project has been announced in partnership with The Linux Foundation Research and Linux Foundation Training and Certification to understand the realities surrounding the current use of COBOL and the sentiment surrounding future investments.
The news follows from previous research from Microfocus (opens in a new tab) indicating that over nine in ten (92%) of respondents consider COBOL to be a strategic technology.
“This significant amount of COBOL application code in the market represents tremendous value to organizations and requires continued investment as part of a larger modernization strategy,” noted Ed Airey, director of COBOL product marketing at Micro Focus.
New research summarized in TIOBE index however, it questions the validity of some of these claims, placing COBOL in 27th place with a score of 0.41% determined “based on the number of qualified engineers worldwide, courses and third-party suppliers” rather than market share. By contrast, Python ranks first with 16.66%, followed by C by just a few decimal places.
Looking ahead, Open Mainframe Director of Program Management, John Mertic, addressed: blog post (opens in a new tab) ask for support and investment, claiming that “sponsor support [the] this research will be an important step in understanding and shaping the future of COBOL and the applications that drive the global economy.”