COBOL stands for Common Business Oriented Language. The US Department of Defense, in a conference, formed CODASYL (Conference on Data Systems Language) to develop a language for business data processing needs which is now known as COBOL.
COBOL is used for writing application programs and we cannot use it to write system software. The applications like those in defense domain, insurance domain, etc. which require huge data processing make extensive use of COBOL.
Example of COBOL Program
IDENTIFICATION DIVISION. PROGRAM-ID. HELLOWRD. PROCEDURE DIVISION. DISPLAY “SIMPLE HELLO WORLD”. STOP RUN.
SIMPLE HELLO WORLD
Evolution of COBOL
During 1950s, when the businesses were growing in the western part of the world, there was a need to automate various processes for ease of operation and this gave birth to a high-level programming language meant for business data processing.
- In 1959, COBOL was developed by CODASYL (Conference on Data Systems Language).
- The next version, COBOL-61, was released in 1961 with some revisions.
- In 1968, COBOL was approved by ANSI as a standard language for commercial use (COBOL-68).
- It was again revised in 1974 and 1985 to develop subsequent versions named COBOL-74 and COBOL-85 respectively.
- In 2002, Object-Oriented COBOL was released, which could use encapsulated objects as a normal part of COBOL programming.
Importance of COBOL
- COBOL was the first widely used high-level programming language. It is an English-like language which is user friendly. All the instructions can be coded in simple English words.
- COBOL is also used as a self-documenting language.
- COBOL can handle huge data processing.
- COBOL is compatible with its previous versions.
- COBOL has effective error messages and so, resolution of bugs is easier.
Features of COBOL
COBOL is a standard language that can be compiled and executed on machines such as IBM AS/400, personal computers, etc.
COBOL was designed for business-oriented applications related to financial domain, defense domain, etc. It can handle huge volumes of data because of its advanced file handling capabilities.
COBOL is a robust language as its numerous debugging and testing tools are available for almost all computer platforms.
Logical control structures are available in COBOL which makes it easier to read and modify. COBOL has different divisions, so it is easy to debug.
Prerequisite and Requirements
- If you have a mainframe id, it is an advantage to learn COBOL but it is not mandatory.
- You can practice COBOL using OPEN COBOL IDE as well.
- We don’t need any previous coding language to learn COBOL.
- If you know basic TSO/ISPF and JCL, it will always help you to master COBOL programming fastly. Don’t worry, we have added TSO and JCL tutorial as well in our website, you can go through them.