Happy 60th birthday, COBOL! COBOL or common business-oriented language was officially given its name on September 18th, 1959. COBOL is an English-like computer programming language widely used by companies and government entities around the globe. COBOL is extremely important to companies who rely heavily on the mainframe since legacy applications deployed on mainframes use COBOL for large-scale batch and transaction processing jobs.
You cannot mention COBOL without mentioning Grace Hopper or “the (grand)mother of COBOL.” Hopper was a pioneer in computer programming and believed that one should write programs in a language that is close to English, rather than machine code. In 1959, she participated in the CODASYL consortium, where she served as a consultant in order to help create a machine-independent programming language. On September 18th, the team officially announced this new language as COBOL.
Hopper also led an interesting life outside of her technological achievements, as she was a member of the United States Navy Reserve and served in the WAVES during World War II. In fact, the U.S. Navy named its guided-missile destroyer the USS Hopper, after her!
COBOL still plays a major role in 2019. It is the backbone of finance, healthcare, aviation, insurance and payment processing companies around the globe. An underlying mission of the COBOL language development over the years has been to keep its syntax and features relevant to modern application development. Today’s COBOL is the result of dedicated work by the various COBOL committees contributing to its evolution, among them ISO, INCITS, ANSI, CODASYL, ECMA and the national COBOL Committees represented around the world. In fact, it has successfully evolved and remained relevant even amongst the tremendous technology advancements of the last 60 years, prompting tens of thousands of mainframe-dependent enterprises to continue leveraging the COBOL language.
Make no mistake, today’s programmers understand that innovation cannot stand still. So, while they may be using a language that dates back 60 years, they expect modern tools to enhance and extend their COBOL applications. In fact, many enterprise organizations want to take advantage of their COBOL applications on more modern and cost-effective distributed platforms. That’s where GT Software can help. We are the global distributor of Fujitsu NetCOBOL, which is a COBOL compiler that does not charge runtime fees thereby eliminating license audits. It’s also a highly structured ANSI standard COBOL development environment, which takes advantage of the rich, historical features of COBOL, while at the same time offering an interface to the latest technologies in the state-of-the-art environments. Learn more about Fujitsu NetCOBOL and cheers to COBOL for 60 wonderful years!
-Amanda Bierfeld Williams, Marketing Coordinator at GT Software