Bankdata is one of the largest specialist IT services providers of Denmark that provides core services (both front-end and back-end) to banks. Bankdata leverages many open mainframe technologies to power these services.
In this episode of Mainframe Matters, Rune Christensen, Lead Software Developer at Bankdata, discusses what open mainframe technologies the organization uses and how they contribute to these technologies.
When asked about the importance of the mainframe in the modern world, he says, “The mainframe is definitely powering the modern economy. At the moment, by far, most of our software runs on a mainframe with the CICS transaction-based services, both REST and SOAP services.”
Christensen specifically talks about COBOL Check, a unit testing project for COBOL. Check the video above to learn more about how open mainframe technologies like COBOL Check can help all those who are using COBOL in their infrastructure.
Key highlights from this video interview are:
- Christensen introduces Bankdata and explains how the company provides back-end and front-end services to banks. He discusses how most of our software runs on the mainframe with the CICS transaction-based services, both REST and SOAP services.
- Bankdata provides a tool case for banks which include mobile applications for UI and applications that the banks’ employees use daily for things like account transfers or buying and selling stocks.
- Christensen discusses how Bankdata uses COBOL for the back-end services that their front-end calls. He tells us that for a bank transfer between two bank accounts this includes a call to a back-end service, which is in COBOL running on a CICS.
- One of the key challenges of COBOL is hiring new developers and getting them used to it. One of the reasons for this is that the interfaces have not evolved very quickly and they still rely on an IDE in ISPF. Another challenge is that people just are not aware of the mainframe or transaction-based processing.
- To bring in new talent, they are using the COBOL course by the Open Mainframe Project. Christensen explains that they are trying to move towards Visual Studio code. He discusses the COBOL Check application they are developing on the Open Mainframe Project, and how it is going to help developers learn COBOL faster.
- COBOL Check has now been released and is a fully functional unit testing tool. Exercism.org has just added COBOL to their website providing exercises to try out COBOL and run unit tests using COBOL Check. Christensen explains how they are enabling developers to shift left and test earlier and more often.
- Christensen discusses the pipeline they have made from their Git repositories and how this ensures that there are unit tests ensuring the code passes. He tells us the roles Zowe and IBM play in the pipeline and the unit tests.
- Christensen hopes to see less dependence on IBM products. He discusses a project, Polycephaly, that is creating a pipeline for compiling and deploying COBOL Code to the mainframe which is based on the dependence-based built engine from IBM. He would like to move away from that dependence to manage the source code.
- COBOL Check is still in beta and still needs to be polished for release. Christensen discusses the things they are working on such as being able to run tests on a mainframe before accepting pull requests and improving integration with VS Code.
- COBOL Check is the only unit testing tool for COBOL that enables you to shift lift quickly to test often and early. Christensen explains that other testing tools test the whole program whereas COBOL Check is testing the paragraph or section or even just one or two lines of code. He explains the benefits of this capability.
- Bankdata will be presenting COBOL Check at IBM zDay on September 15th.
The summary of the show is written by Emily Nicholls.