Best Cobol Books to Read

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COBOL (COmmon Business-Oriented Language) is a high-level programming language that was specifically designed for business applications in the 1950s. It is one of the oldest programming languages still in use today. COBOL was created to handle large-scale data processing, such as those required in banking, retail, and administrative systems.


Here are some key features and characteristics of COBOL:

  1. English-like syntax: COBOL's syntax is designed to be easily readable and understandable by non-programmers. It uses English-like words and phrases, making it highly self-documented.
  2. Data processing focus: COBOL is primarily used for data processing tasks. It provides special constructs for handling files, managing records, and performing arithmetic operations on large amounts of data.
  3. Record-based processing: COBOL is well-suited for handling data organized in records or tables. It supports sequential, indexed, and relative file access methods to efficiently process data.
  4. COBOL data division: A crucial aspect of COBOL programming is the Data Division, where programmers define the data structures and hierarchy used in the program. This division explicitly defines record layouts, field sizes, and data types.
  5. Portability: COBOL is designed to be highly portable across different computer systems and platforms. Programs written in COBOL can typically be compiled and executed on various hardware and operating systems without significant changes.
  6. Supported by industry standards: The COBOL language is standardized by various organizations, such as the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). This ensures that COBOL programs can be developed, maintained, and migrated easily.
  7. Strong legacy presence: COBOL is widely used in legacy systems, especially in large organizations and government institutions that require long-term support for their critical business applications. Many systems built decades ago still rely on COBOL code.


Despite its age, COBOL continues to be used due to its stability, robustness, and extensive support for business-oriented applications. Recently, COBOL received renewed attention during the COVID-19 pandemic when governments faced challenges in processing unemployment claims due to outdated COBOL-based systems. This highlighted the need for skilled COBOL programmers to maintain and modernize existing applications.


Top Rated Cobol Books of January 2024

1
Beginning COBOL for Programmers

Rating is 5 out of 5

Beginning COBOL for Programmers

2
Murach's Mainframe COBOL

Rating is 4.9 out of 5

Murach's Mainframe COBOL

  • Murach's Mainframe COBOL
  • Mike Murach & Associates
3
COBOL Basic Training Using VSAM, IMS, DB2 and CICS

Rating is 4.8 out of 5

COBOL Basic Training Using VSAM, IMS, DB2 and CICS

4
COBOL for the 21st Century

Rating is 4.7 out of 5

COBOL for the 21st Century

5
Murach's CICS for the COBOL Programmer

Rating is 4.6 out of 5

Murach's CICS for the COBOL Programmer

6
DB2 for the COBOL Programmer: Part 2 : An Advanced Course

Rating is 4.5 out of 5

DB2 for the COBOL Programmer: Part 2 : An Advanced Course


Why Cobol is still used today?

COBOL (Common Business-Oriented Language) is still used today for several reasons:

  1. Legacy Systems: Many large organizations, particularly in banking, finance, and government sectors, have a large amount of existing software written in COBOL. These systems often perform critical functions and have been in operation for several decades. Rewriting or replacing these systems would be time-consuming, expensive, and risky, so organizations choose to maintain and enhance them using COBOL.
  2. Stability and Reliability: COBOL is known for its stability and reliability. It has a long history, and the language itself is well-established, mature, and predictable. This makes it a preferred choice for critical business applications where errors or disruptions can have severe consequences.
  3. Scalability: COBOL applications can handle large volumes of data and support high transaction rates efficiently. They were designed to process huge amounts of business data, making them suitable for organizations with heavy data processing needs.
  4. Skilled Workforce: While the number of new COBOL programmers has declined over the years, there is still a significant number of experienced COBOL programmers available in the job market. Reusing existing COBOL code and maintaining existing systems is often seen as more cost-effective than training or hiring a new workforce for different technologies.
  5. Cost-effectiveness: Maintaining and enhancing existing COBOL applications can be more cost-effective than migrating to new technologies. Organizations can avoid the expenses associated with rewriting or replacing systems, such as retraining staff, migrating data, and potential disruptions to business operations.


However, as organizations modernize their technology stacks and invest in newer programming languages and frameworks, the usage of COBOL is gradually declining.


Who created the Cobol language?

COBOL (Common Business-Oriented Language) was created by a team led by Grace Hopper.


How much do Cobol developers make?

The salary of Cobol developers varies depending on factors such as experience, location, and employer. The average salary of Cobol developers in the United States is around $88,000 to $105,000 per year. However, it is worth noting that salaries may range higher for experienced Cobol developers or those with specialized skills and qualifications.


Why Cobol is better than Java?

It is subjective to say that Cobol is better than Java because their use cases and contexts differ significantly. However, there are a few reasons why someone might prefer Cobol over Java:

  1. Legacy systems: Cobol has been widely used for several decades, especially in legacy systems. Many critical business applications and systems are written in Cobol, making it difficult or costly to migrate them to Java or any other language.
  2. Stability and reliability: Cobol is known for its stability and reliability. It has a long-standing history and a proven track record in handling large-scale, mission-critical applications, particularly in the banking, finance, and government sectors.
  3. Performance: Cobol programs are usually compiled into machine code, which can result in efficient and fast execution. For certain applications, especially those requiring heavy processing or large input/output operations, Cobol's performance advantages can make it a preferred choice over Java.
  4. Domain-specific features: Cobol has built-in support for specific domains like finance, accounting, and business data processing. It comes with extensive libraries and frameworks tailored for these areas, which can make development easier and more efficient in such contexts.
  5. Beginner-friendly: Cobol is often perceived as an easier language to learn for beginners, especially those coming from non-technical backgrounds. Its simple syntax and English-like keywords make it relatively straightforward to understand and write basic applications.

However, it's important to note that Java has its own advantages over Cobol, such as a larger developer community, vast libraries and frameworks, cross-platform compatibility, and extensive support for modern technologies. Ultimately, the choice of language depends on the specific requirements, context, and available resources.

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