COBOL Introduction

COBOL Tutorial Topics Index COBOL Coding sheet

COBOL is an acronym for COmmon Business Oriented Language where its primarily developed for business, finance and administrative system needs.

COBOL History:

COBOL is a high-level programming language very first developed by CODASYL Committee (Conference on Data Systems Languages) in early of 1960’s (First COBOL compiler was implemented in the same year).

After that it was assigned to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) for developing new COBOL standards.

There are three ANSI standards for COBOL has been developed in the respective years 1968, 1974 and 1985.

ANSI COBOL 1968 - American National Standards Institute (ANSI) developed a standard form of the language in 1968 to overcome the problem of incompatibility between different versions and the version was known as American National Standard (ANS) COBOL.

COBOL 1974 - ANSI published a revised version of (ANS) COBOL which contains additional set of features.

COBOL 1985 - ANSI published another revised version with new features like scope terminators, which includes END-IF, END-PERFORM, END-READ, etc.

COBOL 2002 and object-oriented COBOL - The language version which is using today contains object-orientation.

COBOL Designing Objective:

  • COBOL is designed for developing business, typically file-oriented, applications.
  • COBOL is mainly designed for the usage in companies and government offices.

Some Characteristics of COBOL:

COBOL is self-documenting:

One of the design goals for COBOL was to make it possible for non-programmers such as supervisors, managers and users, to read and understand COBOL code.

COBOL is simple:

COBOL is a simple language. no pointers, no user defined functions, no user defined types and with a limited scope of function.

COBOL applications regularly run in critical business areas.

A COBOL application deals with large number of data regularly. For example, Bank transactions processing.

Different environments using COBOL programs:

Based on the usage of COBOL and using the program executing, the application programs can be divided into two types.

  1. Batch
  2. Online

Let's discuss about differences in between batch and online cobol programming.

Batch programs needed JCL (JOB CONTROL LANGUAGE) to execute.Online programs not needed any other language to execute and will trigger immediately when task initiated by the user.
Batch programs contain COBOL, can used with the below combination of programming languages which are optional.
  • COBOL programs
  • COBOL+DB2 programs
  • COBOL+DB2+VSAM programs
  • COBOL+DB2+VSAM+IMS DB programs
  • ......
Online programs contain COBOL+CICS, can used with the below combination of programming languages which are optional.
  • COBOL+CICS programs
  • COBOL+DB2+CICS programs
  • COBOL+DB2+VSAM+CICS programs
  • ......
Batch is run detached from a terminal.Online is run connected to a terminal to initiate the tasks.
Batch is program driven.Online is data driven.
Batch processing is execution of a series of programs ("jobs") on a computer without manual intervention.Online programs prompt the user to provide the input.

COBOL Tutorial Topics Index COBOL Coding sheet