Does Anyone Know COBOL Programming?
September 25, 2008 8:40pm CST
I have never thought I would study the COBOL programming language again. I learned it way back in 1988 when I was still in college. All the while I thought it was a dead programming language that no one uses any more. Recently I found out that there are still work opportunities for it so I am trying to recall it. For those who are curious, here is an excerpt from Wikipedia:COBOL (pronounced/'ko?b?l/) is one of the oldest programming languages still in active use. Its name is an acronym for COmmon Business-Oriented Language, defining its primary domain in business, finance, and administrative systems for companies and governments. The COBOL 2002 standard includes support for object-oriented programming and other modern language features. A specification of COBOL was initially created during the second half of 1959. The scene was set on April 8 at a meeting of computer manufacturers, users and university people at the University of Pennsylvania Computing Center and subsequently the United States Department of Defense agreed to sponsor and oversee the next activities. A meeting was held at the Pentagon on May 28 and 29 (exactly one year after the Zürich ALGOL 58 meeting), chaired by Charles A. Phillips. There it was decided to set up three committees, short, intermediate and long range (the last one was actually never formed). It was the Short Range Committee, chaired by Joseph Wegstein of the US National Bureau of Standards, that during the next months would create a description of the first version of Cobol. The committee was formed to recommend a short range approach to a common business language. The committee was made up of members representing six computer manufacturers and three government agencies. The six computer manufacturers were Burroughs Corporation, IBM, Minneapolis-Honeywell (Honeywell Labs), RCA, Sperry Rand, and Sylvania Electric Products. The three government agencies were the US Air Force, the David Taylor Model Basin, and the National Bureau of Standards (now National Institute of Standards and Technology). The intermediate-range committee was formed but never became operational. In the end a sub-committee of the Short Range Committee developed the specifications of the COBOL language. This sub-committee was made up of six individuals: * William Selden and Gertrude Tierney of IBM * Howard Bromberg and Howard Discount of RCA * Vernon Reeves and Jean E. Sammet of Sylvania Electric ProductsThis subcommittee completed the specifications for COBOL in December 1959. The specifications were to a great extent inspired by the FLOW-MATIC language invented by Grace Hopper, commonly referred to as "the mother of the COBOL language", and the IBM COMTRAN language invented by Bob Bemer. The name COBOL was decided upon at a meeting of the committee held on 18 Sept. 1959. The first compilers for COBOL were subsequently implemented during the year 1960 and on 6 and 7 Dec. essentially the same COBOL program was run on two different makes of computers, an RCA computer and a Remington-Rand Univac computer, demonstrating that compatibility could be achieved. Since 1959 COBOL has undergone several modifications and improvements. In an attempt to overcome the problem of incompatibility between different versions of COBOL, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) developed a standard form of the language in 1968. This version was known as American National Standard (ANS) COBOL. In 1974, ANSI published a revised version of (ANS) COBOL, containing a number of features that were not in the 1968 version. In 1985, ANSI published still another revised version that had new features not in the 1974 standard. The language continues to evolve today. Object-oriented COBOL is a subset of COBOL 97, which is the fourth edition in the continuing evolution of ANSI/ISO standard COBOL. COBOL 97 includes conventional improvements as well as object-oriented features. Like the C++ programming language, object-oriented COBOL compilers are available even as the language moves toward standardization.
26 Sep 08
I also have never thought that COBOL is still alive until I read this post. For all I know only business firms which have not upgraded their system are using this language. Most if not all curriculum in IT degrees I have browsed don't include a subject in COBOL. In most cases, programming languages such as C++ and Java are the common subjects being taught. For database systems, MS SQL, Oracle are thepopular choices. Even in our school, IT programs don't include the COBOL language.