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Re: [open-cobol-list] Web server resources etc?

From: Patrick
Subject: Re: [open-cobol-list] Web server resources etc?
Date: Fri, 08 Mar 2013 13:23:13 -0500
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux x86_64; en-US; rv: Gecko/20121215 Icedove/3.0.11

Hi Jim

I have had several false starts with my project, the problem is very hard to solve and basically involves three choices:
Write a crappy closed source program and charge 1/3 of the price of the software it's replacing
Write an open source one, charge full price and have no revenue model a year later and not way to enforce the license
Do something completely new and unusual.

I have to pick the 3rd option and that means experimenting and failing.

I could fail again and I don't want to waste anyone's time. I think the most important thing right now is knowing what to study and coming up with a better outline of what I need to do to solve this using the web.

It looks like you already have some middleware between Cobol and Apache. Is it reusable outside of your application and/or are you allowed to share it?

Would a Mod Cobol be better for the community? Should I look at statically typed web frameworks in C++/Java etc for guidance ? Is your application running behind a firewall? I have to run out in the open. I don't know much about web security and will need to catch up fast.

Your CGI example is very helpful, if you had any other pointers of where I should invest my energy, I would really appreciate it.  I would like to generate some results before anyone invests significant time in helping me.


On 08/03/13 12:54 PM, address@hidden wrote:
It does seem that there are no posts from me about OpenCOBOL and CGI to speak of.
I did write something that is included in the FAQ at 1.16.2
More particularly, we use OpenCOBOL to write web applications both on linux and windows boxes.  We use Apache.  We ended up porting our own handler from the HP3000 to allow us to use OpenCOBOL.  The handler replaces the tedium of parsing the data flow into and out of the web server.  It requires some learning but has made writing web pages a lot faster for us.  The HTML is separated from the program code, thus making the programming easier.
We also have a version of the CGI programs that handle statefull work on linux boxes since the nature of the web is normally stateless.
If you get to the point where you understand OpenCOBOL and want to proceed with enabling web applications with it, I will be happy to show you what we have.  It will take some work, so while I don't mind walking you through it I don't want to spend the time unless you are committed.  I don't mean to sound grumpy, but I have dealt with too many people on the forum that want the solution to be totally automatic.  As you know, programming takes work.
Let me know if I can help.  I plan to be in the mountains this weekend and may not be prompt with my replies.

-----Original Message-----
From: Patrick <address@hidden>
To: open-cobol-list <address@hidden>
Sent: Fri, Mar 8, 2013 10:39 am
Subject: Re: [open-cobol-list] Web server resources etc?

Hi Brian, Hi Jim, Hello Fred and Hello Robert :) 


I have received great help on and off list with this, thanks! 


I read through the forums for a couple hours last night trying to piece  

things together. It looks like Jim has been super generous in the past  

with providing a kick ass server to support development. 


I found some code related to interfacing with mysql. 


However I am still mixed up though about what a other peoples Cobol "web  

stacks" look like. 


For instance has anyone written a Mod Cobol module for Apache? 

Or Is Cobol being used as another layer on top of a framework like Rails? 


My problem domain is very strange and would take too much time to read  

in detail about but in a nutshell: 


I have been servicing scientific instruments for 14 years. I can figure  

out what command the instruments will respond to without the help of the  

original manufacturer. I have been trying to come up with many  

strategies to provide software to labs to control their instruments and  

process data but there are many problems  in coming up with the right  

model to do this and I have been struggling on and off for years. 


I am now thinking about proving a pay-per-command code  

generating/emitting website that will emit code(probably a dynamic  

language) the labs can use to control their instruments locally. The  

price would vary depending on how much of the instruments "command set"  

was needed. They would input their scientific method into the website in  

order to come up with this information for the program and billing system. 


Everything can be open source this way but I will also me able to retain  

some of the unused commands from the "command sets" the customers didn't  

need to pay for, slowing down potential competitors who won't have  

complete sets. 


So I can do this is a variety of ways and I am open to working in ways  

that will help the community. I am pretty poor right now but I can also  

throw everything I have at this, there is a huge market and I have been  

struggling to capitalize on it. 


What sort of stack is being used and what would work best for everyone?  

It looks like Hitachi uses Cobol with Java. I don't know any Java but I  

could learn. Would "piggy-backing" on a Java framework be good  what  

about something more dynamics like Python or Ruby? 


If Mod Cobol is needed, could I write this cased on Mod C ? 


Any feedback or guidance is appreciated. 


I am in some trouble and have to focus on adverting an audit and have   

bunch of orders to ship, I might be slow responding but I am very  

excited about this-Patrick 





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