Although this is not Team-COBOL and not a forum for COBOL
advocacy, I feel the need to raise my voice in support of
this much maligned language.
If you remember COBOL from the 1968 or 1974 standards, your
deprecation of the language could well be justified. Starting
with the 1985 COBOL standard, some powerful features were added
to the language making it more conformant to the principles of
structured programming. These included scope terminators for
all conditional constructs and a better model for parameterized
subroutines, among others. Also, COBOL has the most robust
construct for a case statement of any programming language I
More recently, COBOL has evolved into a language with support for
object-oriented programming. Yes, the picture clauses are still
there, the DATA DIVISION and PROCEDURE DIVISION is still a part
of the language, but these are now able to be coded as small classes
that encapsulate behavior and export operations, just as one would
find in other languages.
One feature of contemporary COBOL that is now well-known, even by
COBOL programmers, is the ability to do string slicing (called
reference modification in COBOL) and sliding in a way similar to
what we can do in Ada. This feature has not been exploited very
well by most COBOL programmers. Another important feature is the
addition of intrinsic functions for computational algorithms. These
include square root and a collection of mathematical and financial
functions common to many business data processing problems.
Criticism of contemporary COBOL on the basis of out-of-date knowledge
is much like the criticism of Ada based on the 1983 standard. Worse,
criticizing the current COBOL standard on the basis of the 1968 or
1974 standards is like criticizing Ada because of its Pascal roots.
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AdaWorks Software Engineering
6 Sepulveda Circle
Salinas, CA 93906
On Thu, 15 Jun 2000, Peter Hermann wrote:
> On Wed, Jun 14, 2000 at 03:47:56PM -0400, David J.A. Koogler wrote:
> > Perhaps because COBOL gets the job done. How many other languages
> > support decimal arithmetic,
> Ada LRM 3.5.9 , 3.5.10 , F.2
> > have extensive database (record-level) accessing,
> Ada LRM A.8.4 , A.8.5
> > provide PICTURE formatting,
> Ada LRM F.3 (abundant!)
> > or give a report writing mechanism?
> please explain (us) in short words.
> > COBOL has its place in the world just as Ada has its
> COBOL had its place.
> Peter Hermann Tel+49-711-685-3611 Fax3758 [log in to unmask]
> Pfaffenwaldring 27 Raum 114, D-70569 Stuttgart Uni Computeranwendungen
> Team Ada: "C'mon people let the world begin" (Paul McCartney)