Micro Focus COBOL and TFS

Doug Neumann, one of our program managers for TFS, had a chance to do a keynote at Micro Focus World in Orlando earlier this month. For those of you not familiar with Micro Focus, they sell a set of tools for COBOL development. While preparing for the keynote, we had an opportunity to use Team System and Team Foundation Server for managing COBOL assets.

The experience works pretty well. One of Micro Focus’ tools plugs into Visual Studio for building .NET applications in COBOL. We were able to use static analysis, unit testing, code coverage, and version control in the IDE with very little work. Once we had COBOL in TFS, Team Build compiled it without any customization. Doug showed that during the demo and apparently it went over pretty well.

Micro Focus also ships their own IDE for building native COBOL applications on Windows called Net Express. That IDE supports the Microsoft Source Code Control Interface so we were able to install the TFS MSSCCI Provider to get integrated version control working. There was one catch, though. The MSSCCI spec is kind of up for interpretation by the person implementing it, so our provider has to behave differently in different IDEs. We ship a set of registry keys that are used to customize the behavior for various IDEs, but we don’t set the keys for the Micro Focus’ Net Express IDE. So, if you’re developing in COBOL and you’d like to try this out, set the following reg key to get to work properly:

Team Foundation Server MSSCCI Provider\Settings\Net Express]