Cape Clear, Micro Focus Bring Web Services to COBOL Apps

Two great tastes that taste great together

Cape Clear Software and Micro Focus International Ltd. announced a development deal Monday at the JavaOne conference in San Francisco. The agreement comes as enterprises continue to look for ways to rejuvenate their legacy investments with new support for Web services.

Under terms of the deal, Cape Clear gives Micro Focus access to its CapeStudio 3.0 Web services development tool, while Micro Focus provides Cape Clear a link to its NetExpress COBOL-based solution. CapeStudio 3.0 was released earlier this month with built-in support for NetExpress. And Micro Focus expects to make a download for CapeStudio available to NetExpress users by the second quarter of this year.

According to Michael Waters, director of strategic alliances for Micro Focus, the two companies have been working together since this summer to build the integration between Cape Studio and NetExpress. He says the aim of the partnership is to take the complexity out of deploying COBOL applications as Web services.

One area where enterprises have shown a strong interest in Web services is in using them to create links between various forms of legacy offerings. As such, the relationship between Cape Clear and Micro Focus is advantageous because it allows COBOL applications to participate in a Web services environment.

“Corporations are looking at Web services,” says Waters. “And we’re seeing this as a technology whose uptake is significantly higher than some of the other technologies that have been released recently.”

So far, Java and C++ have been getting most of the attention from Web services middleware vendors like Cape Clear. But, Waters expects COBOL will be a logical next step, as the language has a significant presence in many enterprise shops. “I think customer interest in Web services for COBOL is no different than for any other corporate need,” says Waters.

In addition to COBOL, CapeStudio also supports CORBA, J2EE and Microsoft .NET technologies.

Through its partnership with Cape Clear, Micro Focus believes it will be able to provide its existing COBOL developer base additional return on investment by giving their applications an easy path to a Web services environment.

"COBOL applications running on mainframe systems continue to be widely used by organizations for critical business processes and it's important that Web services embrace these applications,” says David Clarke, senior vice president of strategy and business development for Cape Clear. “Coming together with Micro Focus, we can offer the flexibility of Web services with the enterprise functionality provided by COBOL."

About the Author

Matt Migliore is regular contributor to He focuses particularly on Microsoft .NET and other Web services technologies. Matt was the editor of several technology-related Web publications and electronic newsletters, including Web Services Report, ASP insights and MIDRANGE Systems.