re: The surprising longevity of mainframes VIEW POST


It's a interesting topic. Currently i work in a big automobile brand, mainly in a .NET website, but most of the data that i manage comes out from a old IBM AS400 mainframe. Somethimes i think, "why just dont migrate all to Oracle / SQL Server?", but the fact is that the AS400 and the plain and old DB2 database works just fine, and the cost to migrate all the batch process to PL/SQL jobs is too big.
The fact is that the people who develop with that platform are above 50 years, and there is too few documentation about how it works. Sometimes i need to modify some program on the AS400 (or even some COBOL), and its really a pain. The syntax and the IDE has nothing to do with the nice C#, Visual Studio and ReSharper.
Despite that, i take that as a challenge and use the experience to enhance my habilities as a programmer. I think that nobody has to cling to any technology, because eventually C# will become old too.
That's why I think it's better to be a generalist programmer rather than a specialist.


Thank you, Dario, for sharing your experience!

This is a point I hear a lot, indeed: dealing with COBOL (or RPG) tend to be painful. As one author puts it:

The second step to refactoring is updating the development environments. Many mainframers still use green-screen editors even though powerful IDEs have been available for at least two decades. These modern IDE are bundled with refactoring tools.

This must be a cultural thing that should be superseded.

Anyway, I agree completely: it is valuable to be generalist. Your experience corroborates that amazingly.

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