Mainframe COBOL to Java, C# & Cloud

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Migrating COBOL DB2 to Java / C# using SoftwareMining Conversion Tools

Many COBOL applications have moved away from use of VSAM files to relational databases SQL. The move would have significantly improved the data-maintenance of the application as well as easing integration with other non-COBOL applications.

COBOL applications which use EXEC SQL for data access are hence the prime candidates for migration to Java or C#. This path can bring the general application maintenance in line with the already improved data maintenance.

It is worth noting that COBOL SQL applications are also prime candidates for incremental approach to migration..

SoftwareMining's COBOL Translation tool caters for the following requirements of such projects:

Changing the SQL dialect from COBOL to Java & C#

In order for the embedded SQL code to work in new system, the dialect has to change from COBOL to Java or C#. This entails converting COBOL host variable (e.g. :FIELD ) to Java and C# standards for passing parameters using '?' or '@' characters.
SoftwareMining tools achieve this automatically.

Changing Database Vendor

After the migration of COBOL applications to Java, it may also be desirable to change the underlying database, for example moving from DB2 to Oracle, or MySQL ...
The main issue to overcome is the SQL return codes hard-coded in the application which differ between database servers. SoftwareMining migration process allows runtime configuration / substitution of SQL codes - minimizing efforts involved in such database changes.

Migration of COBOL Stored Procedures to Java or C#

SoftwareMining tools can be used to migrate COBOL Stored Procedures to Java or C#. The new Java or C# stored-procedures can then be imported into a variety of databases such as Oracle or Microsoft SQL Server. Due to use of Object-Orientation, Exception handling, and framework based architecture, Java / C# stored procedures have better maintainability than standard Transact SQL or PL SQL scripts The new stored procedures are run within the target database environment, leading a better performance.


Many SQL COBOL applications are Batch-programs which need to be completed within a set time frame every day.
As such the migration of such system would hugely benefit from translation into a design which has performance as one of its main considerations.
One approach used by SoftwareMining Translation Tool is to optimizations the generated code by removing the unnecessary statements. For example, DB2 provides a date/time function which provides more precision than COBOL's date/time functions. As such, some COBOL programs contain SQL statements to retrieve date-time from DB2. To continue with this architecture in the translated Java/C# - would introduces additional performance overheads due to network costs associated with Database access.
Thus the SoftwareMining Translator replaces such statements with calls to Java/C# library functions returning similar values.

SQL COBOL to Java/C# Migration Project Phases

The Migration of COBOL applications to Java or C# involves:
  • Asset Management: Identify all the artefacts required for translation .
  • Translate to target language
  • Database and Data Migration
  • Migrate JCL
  • Create and Populate of Test Database
  • System acceptance testing
  • User Acceptance Testing
  • (Optional): Other Improvements: Screen Redesign, SOA Integration, Cloud Deployments, Coding Improvements and clean up

Comparing COBOL to translated code

Comparison of Converted code: COBOL to Java
Comparison of Converted code: COBOL to C#

Refactoring Example: Amazon AWS CardDemo

Related White Papers

COBOL to Java Overview- PDF version

IBM COBOL Migration, Modernization and Re-hosting References

Pseudo Conversational Transactions (Wiki)
Pseudo Conversational Transactions (IBM)

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