Announcing "COBOL 2000"! (Was: On Legacy Applications ...) (Jonathan Eifrig)
Thu, 10 Mar 1994 20:53:16 GMT

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Related articles
On Legacy Applications and Previous Work PAUL@TDR.COM (Paul Robinson) (1994-03-06)
Announcing "COBOL 2000"! (Was: On Legacy Applications ...) (1994-03-10)
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Newsgroups: comp.compilers
From: (Jonathan Eifrig)
Followup-To: misc.programming
Keywords: tools
Organization: The Johns Hopkins University CS Department
References: 94-03-034
Date: Thu, 10 Mar 1994 20:53:16 GMT

Paul Robinson <PAUL@TDR.COM> wrote:
>Yourdon also mentions one other thing that is going to "blow the socks
>off" your average programmer: Object Oriented Cobol. The specifications
>(in 1992 when his book was released) were just then being formulated. I
>try to keep up on the literature, applications and new developments, and
>yet I still don't understand Object Orientation that well; I shudder to
>think what this will do to someone who hasn't read a textbook in five

Yeah, the concept of object-oriented COBOL (whatever the hell that
means) is a nightmare waiting to happen. "Object-Oriented" is turninging
into the "structured" of the `90's. Remember "Structured BASIC"?
"Structured FORTRAN"? (Or "Rational FORTRAN", for that matter?)

There's no substitute for good programming technique: neither
"structured programming", "object-oriented programming", "functional
programming", "declarative programming", or any other fad will save you if
you don't (1) plan ahead, and (2) plan some more. In fact,
object-oriented techniques are probably more suseptible to poor design and
nightmarish maintenance cycles than FORTRAN; ever try to decrypt a
thrown-together SmallTalk program?

>Like it or dislike it, COBOL is not going to wither away any time soon;
>there's probably some $50 billion in programming assets tied up in it.
>Like the difference between C and C++ or Objective C, you may not
>recognize it by the time they get finished with it, but I suspect it will
>still be around twenty years from now unless every one of those large
>companies are able to move to micros and that their COBOL programs get
>translated into other languages.

Yeah, that's the ticket! What we need to do is announce the
availability of "COBOL 2000"! We'll bill it as "the programming
environment for the next century!" People will flock to it, since, being
COBOL it's gotta be great.

'Course, we'll just sell 'em a GCC compiler, and tell 'em that
"the syntax of COBOL 2000 is slightly different than that of ANSI COBOL,
due to the increased power and flexibility of COBOL 2000." :-)

Let's face it; giving object-oriented features to programmers who
can't understand recursion is not going to help them very much. :-) When
mid-size companies are spending millions maintaining dinosaur accounts
billable programs, when they could just *buy* a good one, I don't have a
lot of sympathy for their programming woes.
Jack Eifrig ( The Johns Hopkins University, C.S. Dept.

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