DEV Community

Bruce Axtens
Bruce Axtens

Posted on • Updated on

"The Beauty of the COBOL Programming Language"

I was searching on TechURLs again using the search string Programming Language OR interpreter OR compiler OR scripting language and came up with a really nice one on COBOL called (wait for it ...) The Beauty of the COBOL Programming Language. Unlike many COBOL articles, this one goes into some detail about the language.

At the bottom are more links to COBOL articles: COBOL: Completely Obsolete But Omnipresent Language and Why COBOL Still Matters After 60 Years. The latter articles says

While much of the programming world has moved onto JavaScript, Python, PHP and even C and C#, COBOL can not be ignored. It continues to evolve and remains relevant, even in the age of the cloud. Simply put, it still has some chops to it.

and then lists some of those chops. Good articles all. And all from, interestingly, DevOps is a thing. And some DevOps seem to think that COBOL is a thing too.

Discussion (3)

lifelongthinker profile image
Sebastian • Edited

All modern languages and paradigms build upon and have developed from the experience of previous languages and paradigms. So, everything that has ever had an impact on our field is worth being grateful for.

While languages and technologies are invented/reinvented and die all the time, I think it is always a good and humble move to know where we have come from. We can't fully comprehend our tools and mindsets if we don't know why they exist and where they come from.

To put it simply: We (including our tools) are all dwarves standing on the shoulders of giants. (Borrowed from Newton, who borrowed it from some other guy, it seems.)

bugmagnet profile image
Bruce Axtens Author

From Why it is important to know about the history of programming languages:

This site is concerned with the idea-historical treatment of the development of programming languages as a means of human expression and creation.

In 1976, at the History of Computing Conference in Los Alamos, Richard Hamming described why we might be interested in the history of computing: "we would know what they thought when they did it".

We need to know why the people who designed programming languages thought the way they did. When they designed languages, they made conscious choices, which we have to live with. And they made those choices for a wide variety of reasons, as many as the reasons for which they felt the need to create a language in the first place.

ciscospice profile image

Great insight. Coming back to programming from data network design and support, it’s also true of routing and LAN protocols. Radia Perlman’s book, Interconnections, is a great example.