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Banks will stick with COBOL because Java has performance issues, claims quality guru Bill Curtis

Derek du Preez | June 17, 2013
CMM pioneer Bill Curtis believes COBOL is more secure and outperforms newer languages

He added: "Some of the newer languages are not performance tuned in this way. Some of the Java stuff, our data is telling us, has a lot of performance issues. Some if this may be down to the language structure, but some of it is that the guys that are writing Java aren't your top computer science graduates."

However, to overcome the glitches and defects, banks should be analysing their code to figure out exactly how it works, according to Curtis. The problem the financial industry has is that the systems were created years ago and many operate with little understanding of why it has been engineered that way, he claimed.

"If you think about these old COBOL programmes — they are old, out of date and the guy that built them is probably dead. You're guessing as to what's going on, there's no documentation. They are monstrously complex, very hard to maintain and very hard to understand," said Curtis.

"What you need to do is analyse the code — CAST do this, but so do other vendors — go in and analyse the entire application. They need to really need to know the structure of all that stuff, it's lots of different things tied together and called an application."

He added: "I'd be very surprised if RBS aren't doing this. Depending on what the analysis is, you'd target certain things and go and rewrite some stuff."


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