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Mainframe COBOL tutorial -- Introduction to COBOL

Updated on May 9, 2013

History of COBOL

COBOL ( Common Business­Oriented Language ) was developed in 1959 by the CODASYL ( Conference on Data Systems Languages ) Committee. Although the language is nearly 40 years old, it is still one of the most widespread commercial applications languages currently in use.

Where COBOL is used

In the business field, COBOL is used for commercial applications such as payroll and inventory; usually operating on a large amount of data.

COBOL is also a standard language. COBOL compilers are available in a standard form for most computers, and a single COBOL program can be compiled and run on a variety of computers from mainframes to personal computers, with only minor variations.

COBOL is an english like language

COBOL has the same syntax rules regardless of what type of computer the compiler is on. COBOL is also an English­like language. Any COBOL instruction can be coded using English words instead of
symbols or complex codes.

For example, the word ADD is used to add two numbers together. The rules for programming in COBOL are similar to the rules for writing in English, so learning COBOL and writing COBOL programs
are rather simple.

By being an English­like language, COBOL is considered to be a user­friendly language. By using English words instead of overly technical and sometimes cryptic code, any user with little programming experience can begin to understand the logic and order of instructions of a COBOL program.

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