Visual COBOL is the industry leading solution for COBOL application development and deployment on Windows, Unix and Linux systems. It combines best in class development tooling within Eclipse and Visual Studio, with the flexibility of deployment across the widest range of enterprise platforms including .NET and the Java Virtual Machine. Visual COBOL is the most advanced COBOL toolset available for distributed application development.
The 2.2 release includes many enhancements based on actual customer requests, which are highlighted in this document.
More details of the powerful features available can be found in the product specific data sheets.


.NET and Java have become key deployment platforms across the enterprise with many business systems now exclusively .NET or Java based. Taking COBOL into these environments enables our customers to build .NET or Java systems faster, based on functionality within their existing COBOL systems.
This release includes many enhancements to increase runtime performance. While performance gains vary between applications, many common COBOL operations have seen significant boosts in performance. Examples include:

  •  CALL statements are 30% faster on average
  •  New code generator optimizations for large programs enablefaster execution
  •  Packed decimal operations are 200-300% faster
  •  File and directory searches in .Net are up to 600% faster
  •  File handling operations are up to 15% faster.


Visual COBOL enables COBOL applications to be compiled to Java Byte Code and deployed directly within the Java Virtual Machine. Coupled with the power of Java Application Servers, COBOL applications can now provide backend functionality for web services and web applications.

Java Application Servers

Wider coverage of the industry’s leading Java Application Server platforms, including IBM WebSphere, Oracle WebLogic, JBOSS and Tomcat.

Web Tools Platform

Visual COBOL now includes the Eclipse Web Tools Platform (WTP) as standard. The WTP extends Eclipse with tools for developing Web and Java EE applications. It includes graphical editors and wizards to assist in the creation, deployment and testing of web applications.

Web Services and JSP Tutorials

Tutorials and ‘getting started’ guides for deploying COBOL applications within a Java Application Server are included.
The tutorials guide you through the whole process - from downloading, installation and configuration of the application server, through to creating a web service or JSP application and invoking a COBOL program for backend service functionality.

JDBC Connection Sharing

COBOL applications using embedded SQL can now access existing database connections to ensure efficient use of database resources and consistency of transaction operations.


Enterprise Server is a scalable transaction processor for COBOL systems and is now available within Visual COBOL. It offers a high-performance platform for hosting COBOL systems that integrate with Java Application Servers, or for exposing COBOL systems as web services. A graphical editor, called the Interface
Mapping Toolkit, enables COBOL developers to quickly create entry points into existing COBOL programs. These are then accessible to a wide range of other programming languages and third party toolsets.

Creating a web service using the Interface Mapping Toolkit within Eclipse


Visual COBOL continues to set the benchmark for COBOL application development with many new features designed to

increase efficiency of development teams and on-board new COBOL developers faster than ever. New features include:

Smart editing

COBOL source code can be edited in a variety of styles including traditional fixed format and free format. The Visual COBOL editor in Eclipse and Visual Studio adjusts keyboard handling and preserves formatting, including comments based on the current source format.

Copybook dependency view

A tool window shows copybooks used within a program, making it easy to find dependent source files. Developers can quickly identify which programs in the project share copybooks.

Advanced COBOL searches

COBOL Source Information enables developers to quickly find items of interest such as fields, paragraphs and COBOL verbs.

Faster project loads and builds

Visual Studio and Eclipse integration is optimized to provide better support for larger code bases. Projects load faster, background parsing and developer tools are more responsive, and improved project dependency analysis means only out-of-date source files are recompiled.

Filter views

Organize source files and copybooks into separate virtual folders. Create customizable filters to organize source files based on file extensions.

COBOL Source Information output from Visual Studio showing all instances of file IO usage within a program

‘Expanded source’ preview

Enables a developer to see the entire program including all dependent copy files within a single editor view. Source files and copybooks can be edited inline and show the effect of copy replacing. 

Error markers

Enable rapid identification of errors. Icons highlight source files within the Visual Studio Solution Explorer and Eclipse Package Explorer, so problems can be seen at-aglance.

Multi-output .NET projects

COBOL projects targeting .NET can generate multiple executables per project, enabling large codebases to be easily moved into .NET.

Eclipse enhanced error markers and copybook dependency view


Quickfix hints

Missing copybooks are fixed quickly within Eclipse using an automatic quick fix tool.

Copybook projects

Eclipse supports copybook projects enabling copybooks to be easily shared and accessed across multiple projects within the workspace without the need to setup external folders.

OpenESQL assistant

Available within Eclipse and Visual Studio. Fast generation and testing of COBOL snippets that connect to and query relational databases.

Azure support

Now included as standard, it enables .NET COBOL applications to be deployed into the Microsoft Azure Cloud.

Eclipse 3.8

Visual COBOL is accompanied by the latest Eclipse release from the 3.x Eclipse project.

RESTful web services

Visual Studio users have access to a new project template for creating RESTful web services using ASP. NET. Use RESTful web services to access COBOL programs on the backend.

Visual Studio outlining on paragraphs and sections

Gain extra screen estate by hiding sections of code.


Collapsible regions in Visual Studio

Visual Studio watch window

Supports mixed hex/text data formats. View the same field in hex/text without switching between modes.