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Module 2: COBOL Overview

COBOL Overview

  • COBOL stands for COmmon Business-Oriented Language. COBOL is high level programming language suitable for business applications.
  • It was first developed in 1959 by a group known as CODASYL (Conference on DATA System Language) and was later revised many times to make it even better.
  • COBOL is mainly used for data processing in mainframe computer system. It is widely used in business, finance and human resource applications. Also banking, insurance and defence domain make extensive use of COBOL due to huge data processing capability.
  • Unlike some high level programming languages, COBOL uses English like word and phrases making it easier to understand and highly readable.

History of COBOL

  • In the 1950s, there was an increasing need for high-level programming language to support and automate business data processing. Keeping this demand in mind, the United States Department of Defense convened a conference on 28 and 29 May 1958 to discuss the need and the creation of a common business language.
  • In September 1959, COBOL was developed by a group known as CODASYL (Conference on DATA System Language).
  • In May 1961, COBOL-61 was released with some revisions and this provided basis for later versions. Mainframe users began writing COBOL programs when the first COBOL compiler became available for use in early 1962.
  • In 1965, COBOL-65 was released with some further modification and introduced facilities for handling mass storage files and tables
  • In 1968, it is first time that COBOL was approved by ANSI (American National Standard Institute). This approved version is known as ANSI-68 COBOL or COBOL-68
  • In 1974, COBOL was revised again and that version is known as ANSI-74 COBOL or COBOL-74
  • In 1985, a revised standard of COBOL was introduced which is known as COBOL-85
  • In 1990s, work began on adding object-orientation in the next full version of COBOL. The approved version of object oriented COBOL was published in late 2002.

Why COBOL is important?

  • COBOL was first high level language developed for commercial application development
  • COBOL is capable of processing millions of data
  • COBOL uses English like word and phrases making it easier to understand and highly readable.
  • COBOL program debugging is easy due to effective error messages
  • COBOL program can be used in both Batch jobs as well as CICS Online environment

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