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Subject:
From:
"David J.A. Koogler" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
David J.A. Koogler
Date:
Wed, 14 Jun 2000 15:47:56 -0400
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"Carlisle, Martin, Dr, DFCS" wrote:

> I still can't imagine what universities would actually still use
> COBOL in their CS curricula.

Perhaps because COBOL gets the job done. How many other languages
support decimal arithmetic, have extensive database (record-level)
accessing, provide PICTURE formatting, or give a report writing
mechanism? COBOL has its place in the world just as Ada has its
place. I would consider someone who claims to be a compiler
expert should have some passing familiarity with Algol, COBOL,
FORTRAN, Forth, Spitbol, and at least one machine's Assembler
language.

Truly COBOL has an arcane syntax that does not match today's
parsing techniques. But so do many other specialized languages
such as Clipper and Progress. Even C++ is not easily parsed
with the standard tools. Forget the syntax and look at the
underlying concepts; that is what students really need to
master. In my university education to get a engineering degree
required passing a comparitive study of at least five
languages. Though I have never used three of the languages I
studied professionally, I still find myself using concepts
from those languages. Perhaps if Universities would not so
narrowly concentrate on one or two languages, the lack of
Ada practitioners argument would be seen as a sham.

Dave Koogler
Boolean Solutions, Ltd.

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