Is Cobol Dead Essay, Research Paper
Is COBOL dead?
To be completely honest, I originally had no idea. I knew that I took it as programming class last semester, but I didn’t know how it applied to the business world. Nor, had it ever crossed my mind in the 3+ months that I used it. The fact that you asked the question made me wonder myself, so I had to do some reading. During my research, the first thing that I noticed was that this question seems to have been asked a lot in the past. But judging by the past, every time people thought it was going to die, it was reborn. And, every time it came back it was more efficient and more powerful.
Since its conception in 1959 it has been reborn 3 times (COBOL-68, COBOL-74, and COBOL-85). Each time it has managed to stay the most state of the art language ever invented. It has come a long way from the days of punch card programming, but at the same time it still operates by the same original principles. COBOL has and always will be a problem oriented language, focusing on the applications problems that need to be solved not the technicalities of the computers architecture. Also, its English-like language commands make it easy for programmers to understand. I found that when writing a COBOL program that my actual code wasn’t very far off from my psuedocode. This was one of the most attractive features to me. Its self-documentation was also helpful. I found the level numbers and pictures very useful for describing data formatting and keeping track of hierarchal relationships between data. Its forced structure is another trademark that made COBOL so successful over time. With its fixed sections, which at first seemed a little overbearing, it forces programmers to stay within the program format in which the language was intended. While some programmers would complain about the lack of freedom, they surely wouldn’t complain when they needed to integrate their program with another system. It is due to its rigid programming structure that makes it so easy to incorporate with other products.
What does the future hold for COBOL?
Well, if COBOL is dead than there is an awfully large job market for morticians. At one point over 80% of the worlds businesses ran on COBOL. And even if it were to die tomorrow, legacy systems would keep it alive for another 20 years. I think that COBOL is getting a bad rap just because it’s not one of the new kids on the block like JAVA or Visual Basic. Which is ok I guess, because today’s tech market thrives on new innovations and technologies. So to feed the hunger of the market COBOL has come up with “COBOL OO”, which is an object-oriented form of programming for COBOL. I guess they did this to keep up with languages like JAVA. They will also be coming out with “COBOL 2002”, which will just be there newer version of “85”. I think that the marketing staff for COBOL should have gave “COBOL OO” a new hip name that isn’t even associated with the word COBOL. That way people who have there preconceived notions about COBOL won’t even know what there using, and I think they would probably like it better than any of the others. As far as I could tell from what programming I’ve done, that’s all that JAVA did. To me, JAVA just seemed like an slightly tweaked, object-oriented version of C++.
Will COBOL ever die?
In a computer world filled with monopolies and software companies that refuse to integrate, COBOL will always be around. COBOL has the power to seamlessly integrate programs to work together like; VB, visual C++, visual J++, visual InterDev, Crystal reports, data junction, oracle, access, excel and many others. It acts like the middleman that can bring these products together to talk to each other and work together. I would like to see JAVA do that. And the people at COBOL don’t seem as if they are going to let it slip at all. When I think all of the new languages that are being used it think of them as being efficient or helpful in doing specific things, when I think of COBOL I think of power and efficiency. As far as I know, I don’t think any banks are running there systems with VB. So they can keep coming up with as many new languages as they would like, but until they come up with one that is more universal than COBOL than I don’t see any end in sight. I think that this is something that new programmers are overlooking when they learn all these new web friendly languages that only wind up integrating with COBOL somewhere down the line. But for now, that’s were the money is. Ten years from now though, when every one from grade school to night school has there own web page and knows how to use these languages, your going to see a big push in the tech field for COBOL programmers and that’s really were the money is going to be. And that will teach all of those JAVA junkies for trying to lay COBOL to rest.