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My Open Mainframe Project Mentorship Journey: COBOL Programming Course – COBOL Check Integration

By | October 9, 2023

Written by Ashis Kumar Naik, Odisha University of Technology and Research, Bhubaneswar and Open Mainframe 2023 Summer Mentee

Ashis Kumar Naik

Hi I am Ashis Kumar Naik , currently a pre-final year computer science student from
India. I am an open source enthusiast actively involved in open source communities
related to cloud-native technologies, VLC Media Player (for mac), Lance db etc. This
summer (June – August 2023) I contributed to the Open Mainframe Project’s
COBOL Programming Course where I have integrated the usage of COBOL Check (an
open source unit testing framework for COBOL) as a course for Testing of COBOL
programs. A resource that I hope will empower new learners and developers in their
journey towards leveraging the features of COBOL Check on unit testing.

Over the course of this mentorship, I learned COBOL programming language
which is crucial for mainframe applications and JCL scripts (Job Controller Language) .
IBM’s Z Xplore amplified my learning experience through which I have learned about
the mainframe concepts and earned a lot of badges. I have honed my abilities in
ensuring code quality and functionality through unit testing of COBOL programs using
tools like COBOL Check. This comprehensive skill set equips me to excel in the dynamic
realm of mainframe application development.

I have worked on adding a course on unit testing specifically showing the use of
COBOL Check. My work is a lot more inspired from the IBM Z Xplore as I have taken this
course and loved it , where they have introduced the crucial mainframe concepts along
with screenshots of the steps which is very helpful for beginners. The same approach I
also followed. I have developed two chapters , the first is focused on concepts of
Testing as a whole, then the need of testing along with introduction to COBOL Check
and at the end there is a LAB where the user learns to set up the Testing environment of
COBOL Check on the z/os and tests a program.

The first chapter is very important. After completing it the user learns to run COBOL Check on Z/OS. The second chapter focuses on unit testing and TDD (Test driven development) along with two labs showing manual testing and automated testing. Watch the demo below that I gave in the COBOL Programming Course Q3 webinar:

I would like to thank both of my mentors Sudharsana Srinivasan and Lezlie Browder
for guiding me throughout this journey and giving valuable feedback. A lot of thanks to
Michael Bauer for helping me whenever I got stuck on specific tasks, Hartanto Ario
Widjaya for reviewing and committing my pull requests, and Rune Christensen for
sharing his knowledge about running COBOL Check on z/os.

Looking forward to more contributions to open mainframe! 🙂