Q & A transcript from Visual COBOL webinar 4: A developer's Perspective - Windows & .NET

Thanks to all those that attended the fourth webinar in the Visual COBOL webinar series. Here is the transcript from the question and answer session at the end of the webinar. I will share the recording of the webinar as soon as it is available.

Q. Which book would you advise to start with .NET (and I can buy it on Amazon.com)?

A. Though we haven’t read it here at Micro Focus, we have recommended ‘Sams Teach Yourself Visual Basic 2010 in 24 Hours Complete Starter Kit’. This could be good to get you up to speed with OO programming in C# - Beginning C# Object-Oriented Programming.

Q: Is there a conversion option from GS Dialog system to a WPF application to expedite the adoption of Visual Cobol? 

A: There isn't a conversion tool, today; however, there are some new product features to help. First of all, Dialog Systems applications can be compiled and debugged inside Visual Studio 2010 using Visual COBOL; Secondly, depending upon the complexity of your Dialog Systems application, you may find the code can compile under .NET. 

You can also modernize DS apps using .NET controls. This documentation link provides more information on this topic: http://documentation.microfocus.com/help/index.jsp?topic=/com.microfocus.eclipse.infocenter.visualcobol.vs/GUID-AACA2390-F527-45EB-9E8B-B342AC4D4046.html

Q: How can we get the demos presented during the webinar? Will the webinar be recorded?

A: All the webinars in the series are recorded so you can access the demonstrations and remind yourself of the key points. The webinar recordings, when ready, will be sent to all attendees, if you haven’t received a copy please send us an email or drop us a note here on the community.

Previous recordings can be found under the 'Resources' box here: http://www.microfocus.com/products/micro-focus-developer/index.aspx 

Q: As Visual Studio is a Microsoft product, when you buy Visual COBOL do you get Visual Studio as well? 

A: When you download or purchase Visual COBOL, we include the ‘shell’ version of Visual Studio 2010. The Visual Studio Shell supports COBOL application development only – no other languages are supported (such as C# or VB) and there are some other limitations. Most businesses will upgrade to Visual Studio 2010 Professional Edition which you can purchase directly from Micro Focus.

Q: Should we be updating to Visual COBOL 2012 if we are not using Visual Studio 2012?

A: There is no current Micro Focus product by the name of Visual COBOL 2012. The latest version of Visual COBOL is Visual COBOL 2.0, which was made generally available in June, 2012 Visual COBOL 2.0 provides support for Visual Studio 2010, today.

Micro Focus is participating in a joint beta program with Microsoft around their next release of Visual Studio – Visual Studio 2012. To learn more about the beta program or download a free copy of the software, please click here.

Q: What are the hardware/horsepower requirements for your workstation as a programmer/developer? How resource intensive is Visual COBOL?

A: The minimum requirements for using Visual Studio are detailed here:

Q: I noticed that you can link/use Azure (which I understand is SQL in the cloud). Can you also link/use MSFT's cloud-based Exchange product? 

A: Azure is a Cloud environment provided by Microsoft of which SQLAzure forms a part. Accessing Cloud-based Exchange systems using COBOL would certainly be possible using APIs provided by Microsoft.

Q: What about support for BMS maps? 

A: Please review the Enterprise Developer product set for IBM mainframe support using either Eclipse or Visual Studio 2010.

Q: Is there a Microsoft operating system you prefer for the development workstation? I would not use a laptop but a workstation. Which operating system?

A: Please review Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 system requirements here:

Q: Can Visual COBOL generate .ints for deployment under Server Express on Unix?

A: Yes, this is achieved through the command line tooling only at this time.

Q: How does this work with ACUCOBOL?

A: This specific Visual COBOL webinar series targets the Net Express and Server Express product lines. There is a future product webinar series planned for ACUCOBOL and RM COBOL customers desiring to upgrade to Visual COBOL. More details on this planned webinar series will be forthcoming later this year.