The “Hidden” Treasure

You probably don’t know this about me.  Outside of COBOL migrations, COBOL programming and COBOL repository analysis work, I have another passion;  I’m a picker.  Now you may or may not know what that is and so I will come out and tell you.  A picker, goes to garage sales and finds treasures.  I love it and so sometimes, I take my vacation time and spend it with my son searching for treasure.

We have a great time.  It’s fun for both of us to spend time together, to bond over shared values, and to score by spotting a valuable treasure.

I consider myself the person to usher the “second stage” in the life of a treasure.  The first stage is when someone buys something  brand new.  Then, they may have it and keep it for 40 or 50 years.  I know what to look for.  I know how to find the treasure in the box.

Writing this, it got me thinking about the similarities with my finding treasure in the old COBOL applications that I work on for my day job.

Much of the work I do today , in the COBOL world, revolves around helping businesses to understand the value that they have in their COBOL repositories.   As the COBOL programs age (some programs 50 + years old now) many of the solid business rules “The Treasures”, residing deep in the millions of lines of COBOL code, are lost and yet they still function as though they were written yesterday bringing incredible value to business in which they are tied to.   I have enjoyed being part of the development of tools that aid in finding and documenting these treasures.

Many people have dismissed COBOL and are trying to replace it.  I love giving COBOL apps a second stage of life.  To me, COBOL is a treasure.