Post by firstname.lastname@example.org
Post by Lynn McGuire
COBOL sucks. A real programmer can write Fortran in any language
Post by Lynn McGuire Post by Dimensional Traveler Post by Lynn McGuire
though, I do so in C++ every day.
COBOL _works_. Why do you think it was taught and used for so long?
I said nothing about the ability to get things done. Cobol works
every freaking day. It just sucks.
I had one of my fellow programmers try to teach me Cobol back in
1977 ??? on our Prime 450. I just could not get my head around the
Remember, the designers thought ... or at least *said* ... that with
COBOL the managers could write their own programs and not need
Ha. Ha. And again, Ha!
Really? I thought it was a far easier language to learn than most
because it was all in English and a step away from machine language and
symbols. And after a while, so many routines were reusable and with
templates or even just copying an entire program as a template, the
verbosity didn't seem to matter. And it was a specialist language,
created for sequential business processes. A major advantage, (25 years
ago on PCs), was the speed of its indexed file system.
Cobol was an improvement on its predecessors, but its first version
missed out on the concept of the subroutine, and the attempt at
providing english-language constructs turned out to make it verbose and
less understandable, compared to constructs based on mathematical
notation in other computer languages, at least when read and written by
programmers who were either ex-mathematicians or had time to practice
with the alternative notations. Making life easy for beginners on day
one doesn't necessarily help the same people when they have become
Finding out that making things look like (rather verbose and stilted)
English doesn't help is one of my top two interesting things found out
in language design. The other is a lesson from PL/I - having the
computer search widely for an interpretation for what you have written
and then execute that interpretation without checking back with you
doesn't help either, because it is far too likely that the
interpretation that it has found is not what you intended.
I wish that they would sell it.