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Cobol

COBOL

COBOL (COmputer Business Oriented Language), is a programming language used in many different business applications, both on mainframe computers and desktop systems. It is one of the first high-level computer languages, meaning that it is much closer to human language than the machine language through which computer hardware accepts commands. High-level languages eventually get translated to a primary, numeric machine language consisting of zeros and ones.

COBOL has several strengths. One is the language's ability to process data. It is especially valuable when simple processessuch as calculating percentages or performing basic addition and subtractionmust be applied to large amounts of information. Another one of COBOL's strengths is its simplicity. Because it is very readable and easy to understand, it's difficult to hide malicious or destructive computer code within COBOL, and easy to spot and correct programming errors. Finally, COBOL is capable of running on many different kinds of computers, which makes it attractive.

COBOL was released in April of 1959. Shortly after the introduction of FORTRANanother high-level programming language used mainly for engineering programsusers from academia and the manufacturing sector convened at the University of Pennsylvania to discuss the need for a standardized business language that could be used on a wide variety of computers. A developmental process followed, involving representatives from leading corporations and the U.S. Department of Defense. After several political struggles, COBOL eventually emerged. After its initial release, COBOL was updated several times. The first update occurred in 1962, which included improvements like a report-writing feature that made the language especially popular.

In the early 2000s, COBOL was a frequently discussed topic in e-commerce circles. Many companies sought to allow customers to access data on mainframe computers running COBOL programs. Finding ways to enable COBOL to interface with hypertext markup language, which is used to create pages on the World Wide Web, became important.

Another issue involved security. Because COBOL is so simple, it is very secure by design. The language also can include time-tested security controls. By combining COBOL with, or translating it to, more complicated languages like Java, Pearl, C, and C++, and using less-secure operating systems, the possibility for compromised security existed. As explained in Computerworld, such "efforts could, by virtue of this added complexity, inadvertently allow unauthorized viewing of the converted data or glimpses into previously protected areas of the mainframe itself."

FURTHER READING:

Computer Languages. Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books. 1986.

Copeland, Lee. "Webifying Mainframe Apps: Lessons from the Field." Computerworld, January 3, 2000.

Glass, Robert. "COBOLa Contradiction and an Enigma." Communications of the ACM, September, 1997.

Radcliff, Deborah. "Moving COBOL to the WebSafely." Computerworld, May 1, 2000.

SEE ALSO: C; FORTRAN; Programming Language; UNIX

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"Cobol." Gale Encyclopedia of E-Commerce. . Retrieved December 14, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/economics/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/cobol

Cobol

Cobol (or COBOL) Acronym for common business-oriented language. A programming language that was developed by CODASYL and is a de facto standard for commercial data processing. Cobol first came into use in 1960; the current version Cobol 85 is an ANSI standard adopted by ISO and replaces the earlier standards Cobol 74 and Cobol 68.

A Cobol program is divided into four divisions, of which the most important are the DATA division and the PROCEDURE division. In the DATA division the programmer defines the working storage and the files to be used by specifying their record structure. The PROCEDURE division is made up of statements, grouped into sentences, paragraphs, and sections. These statements define manipulation of data from the current record(s) of one or more files. The notation is English-like, e.g.

IF X = Y MOVE A TO B;

IF GREATER ADD A TO Z;

OTHERWISE MOVE C TO D.

File input-output is defined in terms of complete records, so the typical program reads a record from its input file, processes it, and writes a record to its output file, repeating this sequence until the whole file is processed. A powerful feature allows the data definition to specify editing that will take place as a side-effect of output, such as suppressing nonsignificant zeros. There are also facilities for handling VDU terminals.

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COBOL

COBOL / ˈkōˌbôl/ • n. a computer programming language designed for use in commerce.

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COBOL

COBOL (Common Business-Oriented Language) Widely used computer language developed in 1959 for processing business data.

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COBOL

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"COBOL." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 14 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Cobol

Cobol (or COBOL) (ˈkəʊˌbɒl) Computing common business-oriented language

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"Cobol." The Oxford Dictionary of Abbreviations. . Retrieved December 14, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/cobol