KEITH BANHAM
R&D Manager

Company—
Macro 4

Years in IT—
35 years

My first mainframe job—
Trainee IBM Assembler Programmer at National Westminster Bank, U.K.

My favorite mainframe memories —
  1. The power of IBM Assembler. I decreased the run time for a new suite of programs (mainly COBOL) from 14 hours to an acceptable 6 hours by adding two IBM Assembler instructions: a CLC (compare) and a BNE (branch if not equal). The COBOL team thought I was a genius but really it was just a case of bypassing a lot of over-engineered and redundant code. The lesson learned: just because "it works" it does not make a program acceptable from a performance and cost aspect. Even though the mainframe’s performance, scalability and reliability has improved year after year it is just as important today as it has ever been to have and to utilize mainframe development and performance tuning tools.
  2. In the early days, making a cup of tea and then queuing alongside my fellow developers so that I could use one of the 12 3270 terminals that were available for the 50-plus developers to share. You really did make sure your code assembled and worked the first time so that you didn’t have to queue again to fix a silly mistake.
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