Although over the years Cobol has become an important part of my life, I have never really wondered why it happened. I have been asked by my colleagues from Sii. See what conclusions I have come to.
Recently, my colleagues asked me if I develop using Cobol. I said yes, I have been doing this for a couple of years now. From the perspective of some junior developers, it actually means for light years, but you know – the happy know no hours.
They also asked me what I liked about it. It is an interesting question, I have never really thought about it – this was an excellent moment to do it.
First of all, it is a sentimental thing – my first programming language, in which, right after graduation, I created my first applications. In the past, when there was not so much of this “automation”, such languages as Cobol or Fortran dominated – they are the forefathers of everything that is happening in programming today. And this is the thing with sentiments, you just love to return to them.
Secondly, it was the language that has always been there throughout all my years of work. I used to change the environment, I left Cobol behind thinking that I would never come back to it, and then it re-appeared – this happened many times. It is hard not to like something you cannot part with.
Cobol is not dead
With many years of contact with this language, I noticed that it is not “dead”, as some young developers think. In the following years, new capabilities were added to it, to make it easier to use in programming. The modern day Cobol is different from the one I started with. If it was its older version, I probably would not like it now. In the present – new version, is certainly a functional and powerful programming language.
Power and simplicity at the same time
Cobol was created to process large amounts of data, and offers tools made precisely for this purpose, which, in my opinion, is a strong side of the language. It is especially appreciated today, when the Big Data term is talked about at lengths. Contrary to appearances, Cobol is not difficult at all. I had an opportunity to teach Cobol to young people with computer background, and they had no difficulty in understanding it.
But not everything is so perfect. There are a few things that I do not like about Cobol, but let me discuss them another time…