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IBM Launches New COBOL Training Initiative
04-14-2020, 06:03 PM
Post: #1
IBM Launches New COBOL Training Initiative
IBM Launches New COBOL Training Initiative

In High School in the early 70's, we had access to a PDP-8 via 110-baud dial-up link to a neighboring town's private/exclusive school system, on which we able to use FOCAL, BASIC, FORTRAN and COBOL. The instructor demonstrated to us that a working COBOL program could be caused to generate 3+ pages(!) of error messages during the compile phase by simply misplacing a single period.

When asked 'Why then would one want to learn COBOL?' he replied 'To be sure you can always get a programming job!' He emphasized, somewhat prophetically, that 'there will always be a demand for COBOL programmers, for at least 50 years.' I sure would like to be able to track him down today to show him this article.

--Bob Prosperi
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04-14-2020, 06:49 PM
Post: #2
RE: IBM Launches New COBOL Training Initiative
Good... I can code when I move into retirement in 10-15 years (ha). Still remember enough COBOL, DB2, IMS DB/DC, CICS etc. Surely... that stuff is still out there. :-)
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04-14-2020, 07:07 PM (This post was last modified: 04-14-2020 07:08 PM by Massimo Gnerucci.)
Post: #3
RE: IBM Launches New COBOL Training Initiative
(04-14-2020 06:49 PM)Gene Wrote:  Good... I can code when I move into retirement in 10-15 years (ha). Still remember enough COBOL, DB2, IMS DB/DC, CICS etc. Surely... that stuff is still out there. :-)

COBOL, CICS, DL/I, VSAM, VTAM...

Those were the days!

COBOL programmers understand why women hate periods.

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04-14-2020, 07:30 PM
Post: #4
RE: IBM Launches New COBOL Training Initiative
(04-14-2020 06:03 PM)rprosperi Wrote:  The instructor demonstrated to us that a working COBOL program could be caused to generate 3+ pages(!) of error messages during the compile phase by simply misplacing a single period.

Ever looked at some Tomcat runtime error output recently? ;)

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04-14-2020, 07:40 PM (This post was last modified: 04-14-2020 07:49 PM by Bill (Smithville NJ).)
Post: #5
RE: IBM Launches New COBOL Training Initiative
I'm all ready. I have DOSBox running on my PC.
Just loaded:

IBM Personal Computer COBOL Compiler
Version 1.00 (C)Copyright IBM Corp 1982
(C)Copyright Microsoft Corp. 1982


I also have VS COBOL for Xenix 386 running.

Even better, I have Microsoft Cobol and Nevada Cobol
for CPM-80.


Now if I could only remember how to program in COBOL.

Bill
Smithville, NJ
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04-14-2020, 09:41 PM
Post: #6
RE: IBM Launches New COBOL Training Initiative
(04-14-2020 07:30 PM)Massimo Gnerucci Wrote:  
(04-14-2020 06:03 PM)rprosperi Wrote:  The instructor demonstrated to us that a working COBOL program could be caused to generate 3+ pages(!) of error messages during the compile phase by simply misplacing a single period.

Ever looked at some Tomcat runtime error output recently? Wink

How true, things have not changed all that much!! And I am particularly amused when a developer tells me that the long dump trace-back that unwinds all the way back to the top is a good thing.

--Bob Prosperi
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04-14-2020, 10:24 PM
Post: #7
RE: IBM Launches New COBOL Training Initiative
(04-14-2020 06:03 PM)rprosperi Wrote:  IBM Launches New COBOL Training Initiative

The instructor demonstrated to us that a working COBOL program could be caused to generate 3+ pages(!) of error messages during the compile phase by simply misplacing a single period.

We were more careful then. It used to take two days from the time we submitted a deck of punched cards (TSO? What's that?) to get a job turned around so we desk checked very carefully. A missed period was always a potential problem.

Tom L
I don't care for whom you voted. If you put ice in your beer, you're crazy.
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04-14-2020, 10:28 PM
Post: #8
RE: IBM Launches New COBOL Training Initiative
I heard that the WP43S will have a COBOL compiler included.
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04-14-2020, 10:30 PM
Post: #9
RE: IBM Launches New COBOL Training Initiative
(04-14-2020 10:24 PM)toml_12953 Wrote:  
(04-14-2020 06:03 PM)rprosperi Wrote:  IBM Launches New COBOL Training Initiative

The instructor demonstrated to us that a working COBOL program could be caused to generate 3+ pages(!) of error messages during the compile phase by simply misplacing a single period.

We were more careful then. It used to take two days from the time we submitted a deck of punched cards (TSO? What's that?) to get a job turned around so we desk checked very carefully.
You had to be careful to not dumping the deck on the floor!

(04-14-2020 10:24 PM)toml_12953 Wrote:  A missed period was always a potential problem.

That has been a big problem and concern for oh so many couples! ;) :D

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04-14-2020, 10:33 PM (This post was last modified: 04-14-2020 10:33 PM by toml_12953.)
Post: #10
RE: IBM Launches New COBOL Training Initiative
(04-14-2020 06:03 PM)rprosperi Wrote:  IBM Launches New COBOL Training Initiative

In High School in the early 70's, we had access to a PDP-8 via 110-baud dial-up link to a neighboring town's private/exclusive school system, on which we able to use FOCAL, BASIC, FORTRAN and COBOL. The instructor demonstrated to us that a working COBOL program could be caused to generate 3+ pages(!) of error messages during the compile phase by simply misplacing a single period.

When asked 'Why then would one want to learn COBOL?' he replied 'To be sure you can always get a programming job!' He emphasized, somewhat prophetically, that 'there will always be a demand for COBOL programmers, for at least 50 years.' I sure would like to be able to track him down today to show him this article.

There's a great, free COBOL compiler available. It's full COBOL unlike many microcomputer COBOLs that leave out SORT/MERGE and ISAM.

https://sourceforge.net/projects/open-cobol/

Tom L
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04-14-2020, 10:33 PM
Post: #11
RE: IBM Launches New COBOL Training Initiative
(04-14-2020 10:28 PM)twoweims Wrote:  I heard that the WP43S will have a COBOL compiler included.

And a complete course will be included in THE BOOK by Geoff.

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04-14-2020, 10:39 PM
Post: #12
RE: IBM Launches New COBOL Training Initiative
(04-14-2020 10:33 PM)toml_12953 Wrote:  
(04-14-2020 06:03 PM)rprosperi Wrote:  IBM Launches New COBOL Training Initiative

In High School in the early 70's, we had access to a PDP-8 via 110-baud dial-up link to a neighboring town's private/exclusive school system, on which we able to use FOCAL, BASIC, FORTRAN and COBOL. The instructor demonstrated to us that a working COBOL program could be caused to generate 3+ pages(!) of error messages during the compile phase by simply misplacing a single period.

When asked 'Why then would one want to learn COBOL?' he replied 'To be sure you can always get a programming job!' He emphasized, somewhat prophetically, that 'there will always be a demand for COBOL programmers, for at least 50 years.' I sure would like to be able to track him down today to show him this article.

There's a great, free COBOL compiler available. It's full COBOL unlike many microcomputer COBOLs that leave out SORT/MERGE and ISAM.

https://sourceforge.net/projects/open-cobol/

Now known as GnuCOBOL. Very good.

But I also set up a complete IBM OS/VS environment in a Hercules' virtual machine.

Greetings,
    Massimo

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04-15-2020, 01:45 AM (This post was last modified: 04-15-2020 01:48 AM by Don Shepherd.)
Post: #13
RE: IBM Launches New COBOL Training Initiative
(04-14-2020 06:03 PM)rprosperi Wrote:  IBM Launches New COBOL Training Initiative

In High School in the early 70's, we had access to a PDP-8 via 110-baud dial-up link to a neighboring town's private/exclusive school system, on which we able to use FOCAL, BASIC, FORTRAN and COBOL. The instructor demonstrated to us that a working COBOL program could be caused to generate 3+ pages(!) of error messages during the compile phase by simply misplacing a single period.

When asked 'Why then would one want to learn COBOL?' he replied 'To be sure you can always get a programming job!' He emphasized, somewhat prophetically, that 'there will always be a demand for COBOL programmers, for at least 50 years.' I sure would like to be able to track him down today to show him this article.

Oh my gosh. Several days ago the head of the unemployment office in Louisville explained on TV why they were so unprepared for the onslaught of new claims, saying the automated response system could not be reprogrammed to accomodate the tremendous demand. It didn't occur to me that they would still be running a COBOL-based system. Didn't I tell you at HHC2017 that punch cards would make a comeback!

I wrote COBOL programs on DEC and VAX computers for NASA back in the 1980's. I didn't like COBOL as much as FORTRAN, but I never would have dreamed it would still be active 35 years later.
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04-15-2020, 02:22 AM
Post: #14
RE: IBM Launches New COBOL Training Initiative
(04-14-2020 10:30 PM)Massimo Gnerucci Wrote:  
(04-14-2020 10:24 PM)toml_12953 Wrote:  We were more careful then. It used to take two days from the time we submitted a deck of punched cards (TSO? What's that?) to get a job turned around so we desk checked very carefully.
You had to be careful to not dumping the deck on the floor!
You only had to spill them once to learn to number them with pencil...

(04-14-2020 10:30 PM)Massimo Gnerucci Wrote:  
(04-14-2020 10:24 PM)toml_12953 Wrote:  A missed period was always a potential problem.

That has been a big problem and concern for oh so many couples! Wink Big Grin

hehehe... good line my friend...

--Bob Prosperi
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04-15-2020, 06:34 AM
Post: #15
RE: IBM Launches New COBOL Training Initiative
(04-15-2020 02:22 AM)rprosperi Wrote:  You only had to spill them once to learn to number them with pencil...

Sure! But being you the sorter wasn't all that fun either. :)

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04-15-2020, 02:40 PM
Post: #16
RE: IBM Launches New COBOL Training Initiative
(04-15-2020 06:34 AM)Massimo Gnerucci Wrote:  
(04-15-2020 02:22 AM)rprosperi Wrote:  You only had to spill them once to learn to number them with pencil...

Sure! But being you the sorter wasn't all that fun either. Smile

When I was in college students were relegated to IBM 026 keypunches that had been "upgraded" to EBCDIC. (I'm not sure what code set they used before that. Perhaps Aramaic or something.)

They were reliable as a stone axe, and about as feature rich. I was always jealous of the DP shop's 029's. Besides having exotic symbols like "+" and parentheses right on the keyboard, they were rumored to be able to automatically sequence punch a card deck. I had to settle for diagonal magic marker stripes on the top of the deck as my emergency re-sorting strategy.
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04-15-2020, 04:44 PM
Post: #17
RE: IBM Launches New COBOL Training Initiative
(04-15-2020 02:40 PM)BobVA Wrote:  I'm not sure what code set they used before that. Perhaps Aramaic or something.

The "older" keypunches had codes for only the following special characters: period, comma, dollar sign, ampersand, minus, percent, slash, number sign, at sign, lozenge (not sure what that was used for), and asterisk. Later punches had things like parentheses, brackets, colon, semi-colon, equals, greater than, less than, etc.
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04-16-2020, 06:52 PM
Post: #18
RE: IBM Launches New COBOL Training Initiative
(04-15-2020 04:44 PM)Don Shepherd Wrote:  lozenge
Don,

the lozenge (ISO-7000-0650) stands for subtotal.

All the best,

Hans
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04-16-2020, 07:57 PM
Post: #19
RE: IBM Launches New COBOL Training Initiative
(04-16-2020 06:52 PM)Hans S. Wrote:  
(04-15-2020 04:44 PM)Don Shepherd Wrote:  lozenge
Don,

the lozenge (ISO-7000-0650) stands for subtotal.

All the best,

Hans
Thanks Hans, I didn't know that.
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04-17-2020, 12:55 AM (This post was last modified: 04-17-2020 12:56 AM by edryer.)
Post: #20
RE: IBM Launches New COBOL Training Initiative
I have a friend whose job is to maintain and modify old PL/1 code... he earns huge amounts with some of the insurance companies who still have apps running on the later more compact S/370 compatible hardware, the ones that are the size of around 10 PC's Smile
Guess they don't want to break something that still works.
The IBM maintenance program must cost them a fortune.

HP-28S (1988 US model), DM41X (2020)
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