26 March, 2010

Why do I hate COBOL?

I learnt the COBOL (programming language) this semester. As you probably know that, it is an ancient programming language (developed in 1959) but still taught in various universities. The syntax is also very different from the current programming languages like C++, Java. When you start learning the COBOL, it seems very easy. You just have to write some English like sentences, and you are right away with your first program. You are happy seeing an easy english like programming language, but suddenly the complexity of the language increases. There are various DIVISIONS, SECTIONS, PARAS in it, which make you sick.

If you are in IT then you probably know the GO TO controversy. You know what? COBOL uses the verb GO TO extensively, I mean very extensively. There are no functions (like C, C++) in COBOL.
Do you like a program written in all CAPS? COBOL programs have to be written in all CAPS, otherwise they won't run. Poor COBOL programmers have to follow some rules of what we call the COBOL coding sheet. Every line in a COBOL program starts with 8 spaces (ie from the margin A), and some lines start with 12 spaces. In C family of languages, it is very easy to manage files, but managing files in COBOL sucks, they have sequential file, relative file, blah blah...I don't know how many.
This makes you sick. Most colleges don't provide an IDE for programming in COBOL, and that still sucks.

And you have to write the programs in the university exam answer-sheet in all CAPS, aaaaaahh!!
I don't want COBOL anymore, I'm happy with C, C++. I hate writing COBOL programs.

PS: COBOL means Common Business Oriented Language.


Bikram said...

he heeh as we talked yesterday.. I am amazed Cobol is part of curricullum still.. out there .. things do need to change :)

pranav said...

But now finally, COBOL is over today after submitting paper. :)

Gaurav said...

@Bikram: hehe...indian universities still believe that old is gold.

@Pranav: Yeah. Paper over, forget COBOL hehe. But what if I fail in today's paper?

Ankita said...

I am all nod nod. CS people also had to go through the horrifying experience of COBOL.

It was tiring...writing the paper in Upper Case.

When the invigilator roared, "Ten minutes left! Tie your supplements.." I heaved a great sigh of relief.

Gaurav said...

"The use of COBOL cripples the mind; its teaching should, therefore, be regarded as a criminal offence." (1968) --Dijkstra

Ankita said...

:-D :-D "Cripples"!

Gaurav said...

Yea, thats the famous quote by Edsger W. Dijkstra

мσηιкα ツ said...

Uggh... Worst language ever... :X

I hope atleast I score 41 marks in "this" language... (Writing name of such language is criminal offence aswell.) ;)

Gaurav said...

And the worst thing ever, "COBOL professors (or teachers) don't know COBOL"

they say, "book se kar lena"

michael coughlan said...

I'd love to know what COBOL environment you were using.
All this seems very 1960s-1970s type COBOL. Very few of
your comments are true even for the 1985 version of COBOL.
For anyone learning ANS85 COBOL check out the COBOL
tutorials at http://www.csis.ul.ie/cobol/course/Default.htm

peterparker said...

COBOL was meant to produce applications intended to solve the problems of the organizations. Tasks such as acoounting, employee leave benefitcs, are automated using COBOL. In modern times, ERP systems have taken the place of COBOL. But yes, if one is interested to explore the field of information science and technology, then COBOL is not meant for those. COBOL programmers are technicians and don't deal with the science. Nothing wrong in that, as everyone is not intended to become a scientist anyways.