ARCHIVED: What is COBOL?
COBOL (COmmon Business-Oriented Language) is a programming language developed in the late 1950s as a tool for creating large-scale business applications. Two ANSI standards (ANSI 74 and ANSI 85, also known as ANSI II) have been released and a new one is pending. However, older specifications as well as many vendor-specific implementations are in use. Though it is often referred to as a legacy language, COBOL is still used extensively in the business world, especially for mission critical data processing. One of its defining characteristics is its verbose syntax, though proponents and critics debate whether this is a strength or a drawback.
Though COBOL itself is an open standard, free compilers are virtually
non-existent. Many companies produce COBOL development environments.
Most of these are listed in the COBOL FAQ, which is
periodically posted to the newsgroups
alt.cobol, and is also
Last modified on November 01, 2008.