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Java is Object-Oriented COBOL

35 replies on 3 pages. Most recent reply: Jun 1, 2011 8:25 AM by Larry Jackson

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Posts: 137
Nickname: nn
Registered: Jul, 2004

Re: Java is Object-Oriented COBOL Posted: Mar 21, 2006 10:03 AM
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> - current microprocessors don't do BCD arithmetic so
> programmers either have to use comp-5, or the compiler
> does it for them (see MicroFocus docs). in other words,
> COBOL doesn't have any advantage off the mainframe.
> - *nix databases that i've used since about 1990 all use
> variable length data storage, no matter what you define in
> the DDL. mainframe DB2 still uses VSAM services for
> storage, so is confined to that structure.

I was thinking more about the abstract concept of non-infinite data types enforced at the user input/output level. Types like short, int, long, float and double, commonly used in the industry, do not map well to the business domain. In business applications no one cares what the internal representation of a number is. The real estate on screen and printed output is more important.

In the business language of my dreams there would be only Dates (and time), UnicodeStrings and BigDecimals. The compiler would automatically optimize those types internally for best performance based on the values they contain. It would validate the input and it would convert and truncate strings, round fractional values and print * (for numbers that are too big) on output, based on the specified format and size.

In that sense Java is a step backwards and closer to garbage collected C++ than OO COBOL, in my opinion anyway. My wrestling with some legacy COBOL happened over 10 years ago and it was a small project, so my memory is a bit rusty.

Achilleas Margaritis

Posts: 674
Nickname: achilleas
Registered: Feb, 2005

Re: Java is Object-Oriented COBOL Posted: Mar 22, 2006 3:18 AM
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> I was thinking more about the abstract concept of
> non-infinite data types enforced at the user input/output
> level. Types like short, int, long, float and double,
> commonly used in the industry, do not map well to the
> business domain. In business applications no one cares
> what the internal representation of a number is. The real
> estate on screen and printed output is more important.

I would like to point out that if Java could have real data types (like Ada, for example) it would be possible to make ranges of values out of big decimals that the compiler optimizes down to short, int, long etc. Java is nothing more than a different C++ which fixes some of C++'s problems while introducing many new problems.

Bryce Schroeder

Posts: 1
Nickname: bryce
Registered: Mar, 2006

Re: Java is Object-Oriented COBOL Posted: Mar 24, 2006 9:17 AM
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My assessment of Java, which I am having to learn as part of a required class in college, is that it is a mediocre language for mediocre programmers.
More to the point, it seems like it can make almost anyone average. Perhaps that's why many people who are on the right half of the bell curve, from "talented" to "wizardly", dislike Java: it forces them to write programs in uninteresting, if generally straightforeward, ways.

However, it is too easy to forget that for about half of people, average is an improvement... maybe Java is a win, overall. And Java does have some good features, for all its warts. Maybe the slogan should be: "Java: An acceptably decent language."

Also, the Java VM is a pretty neat concept, and now other languages (such as Python - they're calling the JVM port Jython now, right?) have been ported to it.

On the other hand I still want this class to be over as soon as possible. "Java Programmer" is on the list of things I never want to do for a living, right below "Windows Systems Administrator". I wouldn't mind the occasional Java work, but to do it as my main job is a rather unhappy prospect.

Bomont wilmot

Posts: 1
Nickname: rootoo
Registered: May, 2007

Re: Java is Object-Oriented COBOL Posted: May 5, 2007 8:17 PM
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Reading thru this thread, it seems that most persons commenting have little experience with COBOL other than the known fact that COBOL is verbose. Java is not, and will never be like COBOL at all. Java is a systems language for writing almost any kind of application from little imbedded programs, say for a microwave in your kitchen to space-launch vehicles. COBOL was a language designed around common business applications such as accounting and basic report generation. Java has only 40 or so reserved words or basic statement verbs, but thousands of API's. COBOL has no API's and about 150 reserved words.

COBOL was invented so that 80% of a programmer's time can be spent on the business problem, and 20% of time on the technology (syntax, bugs, interface issues etc.).

In Java, programmers (from my experience) spend 80% of their time on the technology (syntax, API, packages, builds, IDE's etc.) and 20% of their time on the business problem at hand.

A competent programmer (in another language) can learn COBOL very well in 30-60 days. In Java, a typical programmer can never know more that 10-20% of the API structures. It can be more than a year in Java to become familiar with the two-dozen API's that one must master to be a journeyman level programmer.

perry anderson

Posts: 1
Nickname: perrya
Registered: Oct, 2007

Re: Java is Object-Oriented COBOL Posted: Oct 9, 2007 1:01 PM
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Mr. Holden:

I've read your blog on Java's verboseness and cannot argue that when the right tool is not immediately available, Java can get hugely bloated when trying to get things done. However when the right tool is provided, one has a completely different experience.

I would invite you to check out my framework for sharing objects over the Internet using Java:

(I hope url's are allowed in posts here)

Your opinion on my workmanship would be greatly appreciated, both the good and the bad!

- Perry

Larry Jackson

Posts: 1
Nickname: hjoseph7
Registered: Jun, 2011

Re: Java is Object-Oriented COBOL Posted: Jun 1, 2011 8:25 AM
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I am so glad somebody had the guts to start this forum. First of all, let me introduce myself. I have been in the IT for close to 25 years. I graduated with a degree in Computer Info Systems as opposed to a Degree in Computer Science.

My school which is a renowned Business School recomended 2 curriculums one was business orietated, the other business orientated. I chose the business orientated curriculum because that is where the jobs were/are 25 years ago.

During that time there were 2 major platforms MVS and Unix. Everybody understood that one was scientific(Unix) and the other was business orientated(MVS). MVS supported many high level languages such as COBOL, PL1 and others.

Assembler which was their version of machine language was also supported. I'm not sure what Unix was doing at that time since I considered the application very different. While studying for my degree I can say i learned about 5 differnet MVS supported Languages and Utilities. One each Semester.

Although these languages were relatively complicated , they all had similar syntax and functions so after learning one you could easily learn another.

Fast Forward to the 21 st century and after taking classes in C, C++, Basic Java + intermediate Java I'm still trying to figure out what the language is about ? Java is just not suited for business purposes !

It's great for writing graphs, figuring out the Area of circles and rectangles, displaying graphics on a screen, but the language is way to cumbersome and complicated to write a simple 2 page report with headings.

The I/O file handling facilities must have been written on another planet or the creators of Java ran out of 'Unicode" characters. Like you I feel sorry for the kids today that have this language pushed down their throats.

To make it even more complicated for the average person to understand the bean-heads at SUN and Unix loaded the language with words such as Polymorphism, HashMap, Encapsulation. For what / Every book I pick up on Java goes through the X and Y coordinate stuff that is rarely mentioned in business applications.

How this language came to replace COBOL which was a language written for the masses is beyond me. In my opinion a computer language is supposed to make it easy to apply to an application. The application might be difficult but the computer program should not be. You should not have to scan an entire program for a missing '{' bracket, that is ridiculous !

I attended a Java class recently with 20 other COBOL programmers. At the end of that class there were 5 programmers left with myself included. The COBOL programmers left because this language insulted their intelligence, they had better things to do than to go through books which were thousand pages long.

Many older high-level programs have already tried this "library driven" approach to programming, but had to abandon it after it was found that debugging these types of programs was a living nightmare ! Not only that, the J2EE platform is not your JCL, but a highly complicated system of tables and libraries that would take the average person a life-time to master.

My first introduction to Java 12 years ago, scared the living mess out of me when I saw another programmer sitting by the printer waiting for his program to print. Looking over his shoulder I saw a stream of cryptic code that would make a hieroglyphic expert shake in their boots.

Unfortunately 25 years later I have no choice in the matter if I want to pay my bills, this is a shame.

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