COBOL is the short form for common business-oriented language. It is a computer programming language that shares considerable similarity with English and has been primarily designed to be used in a business environment.

The language has been procedural, and imperative since its initiation. It was also turned into an object-oriented language in the year 2002. COBOL is frequently used in administration, finance, and business systems of various organizations as well as governments.

History of COBOL

The rise of late 1950s caused concerned individuals and organizations to cast a look at consistently soaring costs of computer programming. A survey conducted in the year 1959 indicated that the installation of any data processing incurred a programming cost of around 800,000 USD on average.

In addition to that, the costs associated with the translation of programs so that they may run on newer hardware were estimated to be 600,000 USD. In the era when the number of programming languages was increasing at a rapid pace, the same survey suggested that the development of a common business oriented language would enable the organizations to decrease their transaction costs to a great extent.

Representatives from the fields of education, users as well as manufacturers of computers held a meeting at the University of Pennsylvania in April 1959. The basic purpose of this meeting was to arrange a formal meeting regarding the common business languages.

The group that submitted a request to the Department of Defense (DoD) to aid the development of a common business oriented computer programming language. The efforts of the group paid off and COBOL was developed in the year 1959. Since its development the language has gone through a large number of developments and modifications. An attempt was made by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to remove the incompatibility that existed between the various versions of this language.

This was done through the development of a standard form of COBOL in the year 1968. This version was referred to as the American National Standard (ANS) COBOL. A revision was made on the (ANS) COBOL by ANSI and the altered version was published in the year 1974. This newer version consisted of a number of additional features. Another revised version of COBOL, with newer features, was again released in the year 1985.

The language has gone through a string of developments, including the Object-oriented COBOL which is COBOL 97’s subset. COBOL 97 consists of the object oriented features as well as traditional improvements.

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