New to 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 of lines of code written already and billions more being written annually.

Micro Focus has been the provider and market leader of distributed COBOL development tooling for over 40 years. Micro Focus's COBOL has evolved and today it differs significantly from 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, .NET Core, and the Java Virtual Machine (JVM).

Where to start?

Micro Focus provides the following resources to help you get started with COBOL programming:

  • A video-based training course in COBOL. The course teaches the fundamentals of the COBOL language, introduces the Micro Focus COBOL syntax, and usage of Micro Focus COBOL tools. The course is ideal for developers familiar with C, Java, or .NET who want to learn COBOL. It doesn't matter what language you know, as long as you have experience of standard programming concepts, this course is for you.

    The course uses the Micro Focus Learn COBOL extension for Microsoft Visual Studio Code. The extension includes the training materials and excercise programs for the course. For information about the COBOL course, and the Micro Focus Learn COBOL Extension, visit

  • Once you have completed the course, continue by creating your first First Hello COBOL World Application.

What next?

Once you've used the above resources to see how to get started with COBOL programming you're ready to dig a little deeper and learn more about how you can use COBOL to develop your applications. Micro Focus provides a variety of resources to enable you to do this: