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Why I Like COBOL October 30, 2009

Posted by ddouthitt in Cobol.

COBOL over the years has been attacked as a dinosaur and as irrelevant to the modern age (where “modern” is 1980s and forward). The COBOL standard has, nonetheless, been updated several times over the years.

The most interesting thing about the COBOL standards over the years was the standardization of object-oriented COBOL in 2002.

There are many commercial providers of COBOL compilers and so on, including IBM, Fujitsu, and Microfocus. Microfocus also sponsors a COBOL Portal which is a one-stop resource for Cobol. Some of the Fujitsu compilers appear to be available from a company called Alchemy Solutions. There are also several significant open source compilers, including OpenCobol and TinyCOBOL. There is even a complete development environment called the Cobos Project from Metrixware. There is even a COBOL IDE for Eclipse.

ComputerWorld had a nice article in October of 2006 titled Cobol: Not Dead Yet. In December of 2006 TechWorld had an interview with MicroFocus titled The Future’s Bright – The Future’s Cobol. The first article describes how Cobol remains present, despite attempts to get rid of it; the second describes how Cobol is still relevant today and is still alive. More recently, the Guardian newspaper had an article about Cobol’s 50th anniversary titled Cobol Hits 50 and Keeps Counting. CIO Magazine had an article titled COBOL – Still Doing the Business, and Jeff Atwood over at Coding Horror had a nice discussion entitled (Cobol: Everywhere and Nowhere) relating to the article as well.

There is a company called LegacyJ that will actually help you to run Cobol code on the Java JVM. They have a whitepaper on the Future of Cobol.

For more resources, check out the COBOL bookmarks on del.icio.us.

To me, the biggest complaint about Cobol would be its wordiness – and that isn’t a very big complaint at that. I’d much rather be programming in Cobol than in RPG. I like Cobol – it’s not my favorite by a long shot, but it’s like an old friend that never goes away.



1. Stephen Gennard - November 7, 2009

I too are like COBOL and recently seen some interesting articles on COBOL and I am happy to share them with you…

Have a look @


(The first one is my own blog)

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