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Current total for lines of COBOL programs[edit]

The article (based on 1981 data?) claims that little new code is being written in Cobol. A more current estimate is at 5 billion codelines a year, so perhaps it depends on the definition of "little"... (See for instance, citing Gartner Group as a source.) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:05, 9 February 2004‎

External links modified[edit]

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Download Micro Focus Object COBOL 4.0 (32-bit) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:15, 12 January 2017 (UTC)

Isolation from the computer science community - Grace Hopper?[edit]

I have a question about the second line of this section. Is it fair to say that "no academic computer scientists participated in the design of COBOL" when Grace Hopper was a technical consultant to the committee?

Yes, she participated in government and business pursuits, but she also spent nearly 20 years in the academy [1] (Vassar, Yale for math PhD, then Harvard Computation Lab[2]) working on computer science issues before such departments even existed. Furthermore, her work in those areas focused on what the article states the academy was concerned with at the time - "numerical analysis, physics and system programming."

I don't dispute that the process of creating COBOL was problematic without more input from the CS community, but would an edit to read "the only academic computer scientist who participated in the design of COBOL was Grace Hopper" be fair, or not? I do recognize that a secondary source would be needed.


Kshermer (talk) 01:58, 5 January 2017 (UTC)

@Kshermer: I agree that Grace Hopper was a computer scientist (though more engineering than academic) and as Jean Sammet had taught graduate courses on programming, one could argue she was a computer scientist as well.[3] However, at the time of the committees, both were implied in business (Remington Rand and IBM, respectively), which might be relevant when interpreting the source of the sentence:[4]

Five aspects of the historical development of COBOL can be traced as important influences in the alienation of COBOL from the computer science community. First, academic computer scientists did not participate in the design team. [Emphasis mine] The developers of COBOL were from the commercial community: the manufacturers and users of large data processing systems in industry and government (see the minutes in this issue for lists of the participants).

— p. 348
Do you think changing

No academic computer scientists participated in the design of COBOL: ...


No academics participated in the design of COBOL: ...

would help clarify things? Then the sentence suggests more that there were no professors/career academics on the committee. EdwardH (talk) 16:33, 5 January 2017 (UTC)


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Marcotty (ed.). Biography of Jean E. Sammet. History of Programming Languages. ACM. doi:10.1145/800025.1198372. 
  4. ^ Shneiderman, Ben (October 1985). "The Relationship Between COBOL and Computer Science" (PDF). Annals of the History of Computing. 

Isolation from the computer science community - Students drilled to "hate COBOL"?[edit]

Back when I was in college, two COBOL classes were a mandatory part of the CPA (Computer Programmer Analyst) curriculum. Nothing "drilled" me to hate COBOL more than actually having to write programs in the hideous language. As a computer programmer for well over 30 years, I can honestly say that COBOL is among one of the most painful languages to work with. It's so damned verbose that it actually required you to print out your program to be able to see enough of it at one time to debug it back in the time of 80x24 displays. --Thoric (talk) 17:46, 7 February 2017 (UTC)