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You don't have to know COBOL to work in big iron. APIs open up mainframing to anyone with coding skills.

A few weeks ago I found myself in a meeting with the technical team at a major investment company that uses mainframes to support the massive amounts of data they work with every day. I spend just about all of my time talking with mainframers, but this conversation took a bit of an odd twist: they wanted to talk about application programming interfaces (APIs)…

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Remember when you got your driver’s license? That was a pretty big day. Now imagine that as the person at the DMV handed you your card, he or she also slipped you permits to operate a boat, drive a motorcycle and fly the Space Shuttle. Sounds crazy, right? Yet it’s happening in the world of mainframes every day thanks to new tools that make it possible to program and manage big iron in just about any language and on any platform…

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It’s no secret—the disparaging things we hear behind closed doors and in darkened IT lunch rooms, the rumors that the mainframe is dead or, at the very least, going the way of the Dodo. However, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, as it turns out, the mainframe may be the only resource we have to maintain the upward drive of mobile use and the associated data that accompanies it…

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Mainframe data, historically accessed via built-from-scratch COBOL applications, is now more likely to be accessed by newer Web and mobile applications. Developers therefore must constantly modify mainframe code to accommodate these non-mainframe end-user applications. This has resulted in faster, more frequent mainframe development cycles, but admittedly, the mainframe’s culture, tools and processes have not always been the most intuitive and agile, creating obstacles for modern DevOps teams…

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