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COBOL, the COmmon Business-Oriented Language, was created by the CODASYL consortium in 1959. COBOL was designed to be used for business programming tasks, and, as such, the language has had little interaction with, or input from, the computer science community. In fact, computer scientists including Edsger Dijkstra have heavily criticised the language.

One of the design goals of the language was for COBOL programs to be readable (and perhaps writable) by non-programmers, such as executives. COBOL has, however, arguably failed at this goal. The language adopts an immensely verbose syntax, but also rigid structural requirements, which have their origins in the era of punched cards. It provides only limited support for structured programming.

Despite its shortcomings, COBOL is still widely used in business and government applications, and estimates claim that many billions of lines of COBOL code (a testament to its verbosity as much as its popularity) are maintained today, primarily as legacy applications.


Hello World

   FMT CB ......-A+++B+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 
          *************** Beginning of data ************************************* 
  0001.00        PROGRAM-ID. HELLO.                                               
  0002.00        PROCEDURE DIVISION.                                              
  0003.00            DISPLAY "HELLO, WORLD"                                       
  0004.00            STOP RUN.                                                    
          ****************** End of data **************************************** 
cobol.txt · Last modified: 2017/11/10 23:14 by jandal