COBOL (Common Business Oriented Language) was the first high-level programming language for business applications in mainframe. The general idea behind COBOL was to produce a language that was English based as opposed to mathematically based or expressed as such in the code.
Appearing in the early 1960’s it was massively adopted for processing in the area of business specially in banking transactions. There are still a large volume of applications built in COBOL still running and maintained properly and it is still very much alive. Around 1997 Gartner reported that 80% of the world’s business ran on COBOL with over 200 billion lines of code in existence and with an estimated 5 billion lines of new code annually. So you could do a lot worse than learn COBOL to ensure you have a job for life.
Structures of COBOL can be defined as:-
- Identification Division giving information about the program
- Environment Division describing the hardware
- Data Division
- Procedure Division – main coding area
Because of the legacy from punch cards you always started the code by indenting 8 spaces in else some compilers would not recognize it It is of course a compiled language.
Where is it used. Governments, the Military Businesses of all sizes but usually the larger corporate so we can say everywhere and it is used to run governments, and the Military and business’s. I believe the US’s social welfare system runs on several million lines of Cobol written in the mid 60’s. Experian a large UK based credit rating company uses it throughout there operation with interfaces to the web. Again in the UK most of the Building Societies and Banks run their core systems on it.
Yes now a days there are some language like JAVA are trying to replace this veteran, huge banks and secured sectors like military, financial hubs still can’t think without COBOL.