Cobol has been in the news lately since the NJ governor asked for help with some legacy systems. Perhaps someone should tell him it’s worse than he thought – he’s going to need some assembler programmers, too. 🙂
Some of the recent discussion of Cobol by people who should know better is amusing if it weren’t also disappointing. You would think that Cobol died in the 1970s. The fact is, IBM’s Cobol compiler is quite sophisticated, as is the language. This isn’t your father’s or mother’s Cobol. It is a truly modern language, even object-oriented if you want it to be. On the other hand, writing business systems in Java, C, Python, Ruby, etc. represents a challenge I would not like to tackle (even though I love those languages). In many ways those languages are ill-suited to the task – for example, just doing business arithmetic in Java requires some really ugly code.
But what do I know? I still think assembler is fun to write.
One thing’s for sure: It will be fun to hear the forensics of what happened with the governor’s legacy systems. I’m guessing it has little to do with any shortcomings in Cobol.