Getting Started with COBOL

COBOL (Common Business-Oriented Language) was developed in 1959 and, since then, has been used as the basis for many business and government applications. Reports show that over 80% of the world's business applications run on COBOL with billions more lines of code existing and billions being written annually.

Micro Focus has been the market leader and provider of distributed COBOL development tooling for nearly 40 years. Micro Focus's COBOL has evolved and today it differs significantly to the COBOL language of 1959, embracing object-orientation and enabling you to write code that takes full advantage of new operating systems and platforms such as Microsoft's .NET framework and the Java Virtual Machine (JVM).


To help you learn COBOL, Micro Focus provides a wide range of resources to help you get started with the basics of the language:

  • A Micro Focus course introducing you to COBOL programming, Visual COBOL: Modern COBOL for the Next Generation.

    This course is the ideal first step on your journey to learning about the COBOL language and how to take advantage of what Visual COBOL can do for you. After taking the course you will have a good knowledge of the basics of COBOL and Visual COBOL, and will be ready to build on that general knowledge by learning more about taking full advantage of Visual COBOL to meet the specific requirements of your applications.

    The course is available from a link in your Micro Focus Electronic Product Delivery email which you were sent about your license. Follow the link and click the Documentation tab.

  • Other training courses - available from Support & Services on the Micro Focus Web site.
  • Developing Applications in this product help - provides details about how to use Visual COBOL to create COBOL applications.
  • Training videos on the Micro Focus You Tube channel.


Check the available tutorials ranging from a basic tutorial showing you how to create your First Hello COBOL World Application to more advanced tutorials showing how to use various programming techniques.


Find more information on various aspects of COBOL programming in the rest of this section.

Also, explore our detailed COBOL Language Reference for in-depth information about the syntax and the usage of the COBOL language.

Explore the power of COBOL to prepare your applications for interaction with modern day technologies. Managed COBOL is COBOL with extensions to support the JVM and the .NET frameworks, respectively. It offers support for object orientation and access to the available Java class libraries or the .NET CLR. See:

For more, see the resources available in the Related Information.