COBOL is an old, yet modern programming language

COBOL – an abbreviation for common business oriented language – is a very old programming language and was developed by the U.S. Department of Defence more than 50 years ago. The first version appeared in 1960 as COBOL 60 and has continuously evolved since. While it is true that COBOL comes from the early days of programming, it is not true to say the language is outdated. The fact that COBOL is used less often these days is due to the pricing policy of the COBOL distributors. While in other languages, such as C++ for example, older versions are distributed to students for free, COBOL is hardly affordable for private users.

However, it has made a name for itself as a language that automates business processes. Its scalability, performance and mathematical accuracy have made it very popular and user friendly. It is used for things such as programming applications for payroll, accounting and other business processes that are still used these days.

COBOL is especially popular with companies because its applications, which are usually only developed for a specific company, are very easy to adapt to the needs of the organisation. The code can be easily updated, which extends the lifetime of the application in contrast to modern languages such as Java or C++.

COBOL is even understandable for non-developers

COBOL is considered great among authorities: mistakes that are easy to overlook in other languages are stopped by the compiler in COBOL. COBOL is also self-documenting and incorporates elements of the English language such as verbs, sentences, paragraphs, separation lines and phrases. COBOL is therefore one of the easiest to read computer languages and is even understandable for non-developers.

Although COBOL has a simple structure, it can still develop complex applications with considerable amounts of code. Its newest version has been expanded by a number of features such as user-defined features, object orientation, cultural adaptation ability and user-defined data types.

You can find more information on COBOL on Wikipedia: