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A Recollection

by buzzcutbuddha (Chaplain)
on May 04, 2000 at 16:39 UTC ( [id://10214] : perlmeditation . print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

In school, when I studied COBOL, my teacher would often say as we
grumbled our way through PIC fields, and Working Storage Sections,
"More Code Has Been Written In COBOL Than In Any Other Language!"
to which I would ask "Is that because it is so wordy?"

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RE: A Recollection
by cciulla (Friar) on May 09, 2000 at 01:04 UTC
    CODASYL (Conference on Data Systems Languages) created COBOL (COmmon Business Oriented Language) so that non-technical managers could read code. In that respect, COBOL was a big win.

    Yeah, it's wordy ("Copy Of BASIC Only Longer"), but there's still a use for it. Same with RPG, Assembler, FORTRAN, etc.

    Of course, as a scripting language, COBOL probably wouldn't cut it.


    Of course, in 20 or 30 years, people will probably be laughing at VB, C, Delphi, perl, Tk, linux, etc.

    Just my $0.02

RE: A Recollection
by Anonymous Monk on May 05, 2000 at 21:48 UTC
    Nice one. Have you read this one... its a bit long, but stick with it. It made me smile :) Cobol joke
RE: A Recollection
by toadi (Chaplain) on May 07, 2000 at 19:56 UTC
    That's not so hard. How many languages were there in the start of programming.
    COBOL whas one of the easiest languages, best suited for the machines of those days. The language had some advantages in that time.
    But now the time has come an let it rest the language is dead.

    No OOP with COBOL. No real features you can use... It was nice but COBOL isn't that hard. The challenge in that time was to fit the program in the limited hardware.

    My opinions may have changed,
    but not the fact that I am right

      The language is NOT dead. Our core product is a havy-duty cobol crunching engine. It runs under Micro-Focus on a variety of unix boxes, including Linux. We have added some Java front-ends to it, and some additional reporting and data mining capabilities. But the core is still COBOL, and will be for many many years. What COBOL does, it does well. TMTOWTDI applies across languages and platforms.
        You are absolutely right, COBOL is not dead, and I don't see it
        going away for a few years at least. And certainly, the job that
        it does, it does well, but that does not mitigate the pain and
        anguish that comes from having to code large COBOL systems.8^)
        Whoever wants to work on COBOL is more than welcome to, I will not
        question their choice, but I know that it is not for me, and I am
        happier working with things like Perl. just my $0.02.
      Actually, I hate to be the one to bring this up, but there does exist Object-Oriented Cobol. Scary but true. Mik who is adding nothing really useful to this conversation
RE: A Recollection
by johncoswell (Acolyte) on May 06, 2000 at 17:43 UTC

    HAHAHAHAHAHA! I love it! That's great! I've struggled with my COBOL courses for two years now, and, on the verge of finally finishing them off, this just made my day. Would you mind if I used this revelation on my COBOL/CICS Killer pages (with a link back to wherever you like)? Thanks!

    John Coswell -
      John, that's cool. Use it to your heart's content! Take care!
      I've "struggled" with it for two years as well. Never cared to do my assignments, so I failed. It's not that hard in the end. Although VSAM, OS/390, MVS, JCL and all that crap sure confuses you. I hate COBOL. I'll never respect it. It's so fucking weak.
        Tell that to ALL the major banks, aerospace manufacturers, hell, manufacturers of almost anything, hosptials, insurance companies,....

        You get the picture. If you need to pound big numbers through databases, over and over again, and produce checks and statements for millions of people, or handle millions of part numbers in warehouses around the planet, you use COBOL, on big old mainframes.

        When you want nice management reports from these processes, you use a little unix, perl, java, etc.

RE: A Recollection
by Novician (Novice) on May 08, 2000 at 13:46 UTC
    Its rather easy, if you do read your textbook.
    I use a AS/400 server in school where i am taught.
    not that difficult, but outdated it sure is now.
RE: A Recollection
by buzzcutbuddha (Chaplain) on May 08, 2000 at 16:35 UTC
    It is true, that at the time, COBOL served it's purpose on the big
    iron, but at the same time, many schools still teach it, and coming
    to that from working with Javascript, it was really really painful.
    Not to mention that we had just studiedt VB before that, so we were
    used to creating GUIs and having all those toys to play with, and
    then to go to COBOL....ugh...luckily, my teacher had a sense of humor.
      I'm strugling with COBOL assignments today and actually checked some results with Perl. Perl was 1. easier to do.. 2. about 10 - 15 % faster... But I can actually see the point in using COBOL. It would be far to expensive to rebuild all legacy systems in perl!