Micro Focus has launched a free version of its Enterprise Developer programming environment for creating applications for IBM mainframes.
Enterprise Developer is an integrated development environment (IDE) that you can use to develop and move mainframe activities off the mainframe.
The IDE comes with both Eclipse and Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 as standard IDEs. It has developer-friendly facilities such as smart editing, compilation, advanced debugging capabilities, and integrated testing. The newly launched Personal Edition is a scaled down version that includes smart editing, syntax checking and a compiler for COBOL.
Kevin Brearley, Director, Product Management at Micro Focus, said:
“Enterprise Developer Personal Edition helps address the mainframe skills shortage by reducing the gap between COBOL, Java and C# developers in a collaborative IDE environment.”
If your mind is reeling at the thought of COBOL and Java co-habiting, things get even weirder.
The IDE comes with support for COBOL, PL/I1, IBM Assembler, CICS, IMS-TM, JCL, DB2, IMS-DB, z/OS file formats and common batch utilities including SORT.
So far, so mainframe-corporate, but Micro Focus is targeting this as an entry-level option for hobbyists and students.
You may be wondering just how many hobbyists will want to develop in CICS, and it’s an interesting concept in its own right. However, MicroFocus points out that mainframe developers are no longer easy to find and hire, with many retiring and universities only teaching distributed languages such as Java and C#.
In other words, there’s work out there on them there mainframes - if you’re willing to learn COBOL and probably CICS as well. And this is a free way to go about it.