Reacquaint yourself with COBOL Mainframe
Are you pondering the reasons why an old programming language is suddenly in demand today? Mainframe Cobol is still running in the strained unemployment system. So, how to learn Mainframe Cobol training at low cost? Where to get cost effective Cobol training for making money and saving state agencies that require new codes for managing fresh government stimulus programs? Before delving deep into these details, let’s weigh up what is Cobol and why it is still in demand?
What is Cobol?
- COBOL implies Common Business Oriented Language. Being one of the first high-level languages, Cobol was built by a group supported by the Department of Defense in developing a common business language. It was popular as CODASYL (Committee on Data Systems Languages) and demarcated as “Common Business Oriented Language”. Even if, COBOL has gone through several revisions, the language has become dominant for business systems.
- COBOL constitutes to be a compiled English computer programming language specifically intended for business use, finance, and administrative systems of companies and governments.
- The language is extensively used in various applications set up on mainframe computers, like large-scale batch and business processing works. However, owing to the stepping down of skilled COBOL programmers, programs are migrated to novel platforms and rewritten in modern languages.
- Many of the Cobol programming is now used for maintaining existing applications, but large financial institutions are still developing new systems in COBOL owing to Mainframe processing speed. Even in 2020, governments as well as financial institutions are entreating for COBOL programmers, as a never dying language.
- Several companies are still using COBOL like UPS, Cigna, IBM, etc. The syntax is kept simple for allowing non-programmers to read and understand it. COBOL is intended to be explicit, as there shouldn’t be any room for assumptions. This certainly led to the weakening of teaching COBOL in universities, but it continued to be the leading business language.
- However, it’s difficult to get people with COBOL skills. The mainframe Cobol is really a difficult platform to learn and that’s owing to the cost. Individuals don’t have the money for leasing a mainframe. Very few schools provide Mainframe Cobol training at low cost. While IBM started remote work and outsourcing, they prevented American institutes for teaching courses in Cobol and Mainframes.
Why Mainframe COBOL is Still Dominant?
If you compare the common programming languages, COBOL is a bit different these days and restricted in certain ways. One cannot undertake dynamic memory allocation, and can’t access low-level facets of the operating system or specific computer architecture. The common practices of the language can’t use recursion. Usually, you will never want to write a compiler in COBOL. A student of computer science presented with COBOL would be appalled at the very thought.
Nevertheless, in modern terminology, COBOL acts as a domain-specific language, particularly suitable to the business programming. Industry experts detected comprehensive ways in which COBOL is suited to business programming instead of general languages.
- Need for Managing Heterogenous Data – A business language is often required for affirming and managing heterogeneous data. This is due to the fact that business programs blend fixed as well as variable length strings, integer, floating point and decimal data along with wild unrestrained complex record structures with variable components. Database programmers are acquainted with some of the issues, and object-relational mapping tools stumble over these intricacies frequently.
- A Necessity for Handling True Decimal Data – Business and financial data are often required to be managed through true decimal data types. It is a necessity for the accounting systems to be correct to the last decimal digit. Furthermore, it is required for reproducing precisely the results of hand-calculation and conventional floating-point statistics, resulting in complexities and errors. The business-oriented Cobol language is required in this regard for accessing and manipulating considerable amounts of record-structured data that are maintained externally.
How to work with the first COBOL program?
The source files consist of simple text files. Having a useful programming editor with language support is suitable for COBOL like any other language. The easiest mechanism for a beginner is using Visual Studio Code. Amazingly, there are several VSCode extensions for COBOL. Bitlang code colorizer along with Broadcom COBOL language support are used by many. Many other things are envisioned for people programming in a mainframe set up, but that would simply add to the complexity.
Steps for working with Cobol Mainframe
- Downloading and installation of Visual Studio Code.
- Installation of the bitlang.cobol and Broadcom COBOL Language support extensions.
- Installation of GnuCOBOL. (Homebrew installation on MacOS work fine. On Windows, MicroFocus consists of a free trial for Visual Studio COBOL along with Azure support for the sake of experimentation.)
- Once you have installed everything, you will be able to compose your initial Cobol program. For instance, you could have started with your program “Hello, world”.
- Nowadays, contemporary COBOL compilers also receive a free format which doesn’t force your code in 80-column straitjacket. However, a considerable proportion of existing code could still be found in the card-image format.
- Support yourself as COBOL is not a block-structured language like any other language you have used. A key design goal for COBOL from the beginning was that it ought to be “self-documenting” with an English-like syntax. Rather than having utilities or subroutines and blocks, you will get divisions, paragraphs, sections and statements. You can also get verbs for Cobol operators.
Where to get Resources for learning COBOL?
You will get quite a number of courses as well as books for learning COBOL. Several courses are from overseas, as offshoring firms are meeting the demands for COBOL for several years. You may also opt for online courses like Udemy, which is good, and also look for various other COBOL books on Kindle. Many other YouTube videos are available for Mainframe Cobol training.
SPM Global Technologies – an ITSM Company is popular in the realm of Cobol Mainframe, BMC Remedyforce implementation services, Cherwell Software, Ivanti, Freshworks and Broadcom. You can also get cost effective Cobol training from SPM Global. Consult SPM Global Technologies to reacquaint yourself with COBOL mainframe.