This article in Forbes identifies four misconceptions that have harmed Cobol’s reputation but also continues the misconception that Cobol is just a mainframe language when in reality companies such as Micro Focus have made Cobol available on Windows and Unix. The language created by Grace Murray Hopper to make computers easier for normal people to program lives on – as well it should!
“You’ve probably seen more headlines about COBOL this year than in the last 20 years. It started at the beginning of the Covid-19 outbreak when a U.S. governor went on television asking for COBOL programmers to fix the state’s overwhelmed unemployment insurance systems.
As it turns out, COBOL — the programming language for the back-end mainframe — was not the source of the problem. It was a front-end issue: the inability to scale completion of Java-based website forms in such dramatic numbers. But that didn’t stop self-serving critics from continuing to lambast the government (states and federal) for continuing to run vital systems using an “ancient” programming language.It is ironic that this volley of false criticism was happening as the mainframe and the COBOL language were achieving one of their greatest feats: handling a huge increase in transactions, previously completed with cash, that were forced to be handled online or with credit cards as the world sheltered or sought touch-free activities. And they accomplished this without a hitch.
So, as we look ahead to the next phase of increased dependence on the mainframe platform, it would be proper and valuable to dispel some common misconceptions about the programming language that fuels it.
Misconception No. 1: The COBOL language is difficult to learn.”
Read the full Forbes article here.
Overview by Tim Sloane, Director, Merchant Services at Mercator Advisory Group