Jove’s main solutions captures price lists of all available advertising mediums, digitizes them, and makes them available for analysis. This solution was developed in COBOL in the 1990s and is the driving force behind the company’s continued success, with many clients depending on this unique service. The solution contains over four million lines of code and when Jove wanted to modernize its user interface it encountered some issues, as explained by Joventino Medeiros, Managing Director of Jove: “We had long relied on Micro Focus COBOL technology, having used Net Express to develop the 850 programs making up our solution. Dialog System, the GUI toolkit available with Net Express, was really considered obsolete and it was limiting our ability to modernize so that we could reach new customers and grow our business. Because we had to outsource our development effort, our maintenance costs were increasing and we wanted to find a solution to modernize while reusing all the code and business intelligence we have built into our solution.”
Micro Focus COBOL technology had performed well for Jove for over 20 years and Medeiros was very aware that continuing on the Micro Focus path would help the business evolve and modernize. When he heard about the potential of Micro Focus Visual COBOL, a proof-of-concept was soon underway. Medeiros comments: “We performed the POC on a small part of our application, and as soon as we saw the old Dialog system screens running effortlessly on Visual COBOL and calling (as well as being called by) Windows Forms Application (WFA) screens, we realized what an opportunity we had here.”
After some training, the Jove developers were ready to start constructing the Visual COBOL screens, while adding functionality and modernizing the user interface. Net Express and Visual COBOL have several built-in pre-developed .NET framework routines which were used to speed up the time to launch a new version of the Jove solution. Jove uses Micro Focus indexed files and some of data is extracted to Microsoft Access to be available in ASP.NET through its integration with Visual COBOL. User desktop access is through WFA screens and ASP.NET is used for reporting purposes.
Medeiros comments on the project: “Moving to a .NET environment meant we had a much bigger support community we could leverage to solve any development issues. We really love the Visual Studio IDE and it allowed us to develop a much higher quality solution for our clients. We also didn’t have to worry about sourcing specific COBOL development skills anymore. We hired two C+ developers who very easily and quickly learned COBOL using the Visual COBOL for Visual Studio toolset.”
Jove was able to modernize its solutions while fully reusing the existing code and business intelligence. Not only was the feedback from its existing clients overwhelmingly positive with much praise for the more dynamic, faster, and easier to use solution; Jove was also able to attract new clients with its modern and friendly user interface, securing a very fast ROI on the project.
Medeiros comments: “The Visual COBOL implementation has given us many benefits. Maintenance of our new, .NET-based solution is so much easier that we have realized a 20 percent IT cost saving, through creating reports natively using ASP.NET instead of using third party reporting tools as we used to do. Our development team is more efficient and productive, thanks to the intuitive IDE, helping us respond faster to business requirements. We deliver a higher quality solution to our clients and have been able to tap into a new target market.”
He concludes: “The future looks bright with Visual COBOL to support us. We are looking to change our delivery format and provide on-demand access to real-time data for our clients. A relational database implementation will help achieve this and Visual COBOL is well set up to integrate with this. Micro Focus has supported us these last 25 years and we have no doubt they will be with us long into the future.”