COBOL - The New Age Programming Language

Note (3-July-2010)

I originally planned to prepare a parodical page about COBOL (more parodying the pages of modern languages than COBOL per se) a few years back, but due to some recent developments, it seems that I’ve missed that boat. So here are my notes about COBOL, with a little organisation, just in case it will make you chuckle.

The Content

NASA Astronaut


And so do:

  • Your bank.
  • Your insurance company.
  • Your government.

COBOL runs your life.

COBOL is the old Java.

COBOL has its own modern web-framework: COBOL on COGS.

What other people say

Larry Wall

COBOL [is] … (Cargo Cult) English…

Larry Wall (the Creator of Perl)

Paul Graham

COBOL was an evolutionary dead-end. [it was so good it didn’t have to evolve further.]

Paul Graham (Guru extraordinaire)

Joel Spolsky

It’s harder to read code than to write it. [Especially if it’s COBOL.]

Joel Spolsky (Guru extraordinaire)

LeAnn Rimes

I was lost, but now I’m found: Amazing Grace!

LeAnn Rimes

Of course, Paul Graham was eventually proven wrong about COBOL being an evolutionary dead-end! COBOL now has a modern language based on it: LOLCODE!



COBOL has an Object-Oriented Programming extension called “ADD 1 TO COBOL GIVING COBOL”.

COBOL does not have all the computer sciencey baggage that other languages have:

  • COBOL does not support object-oriented programming.
  • COBOL does not support closures.
  • COBOL is not a dynamic language.
  • COBOL supports functional programming roughly as much as C++ supports object-oriented programming.
  • COBOL does not support procedural recursion.
  • COBOL does not have a built-in support for regular expressions.

You name it - COBOL doesn’t have it. Get rid of all the cruft, and you only have what you need to get the job done!

Attribution (Credits)

  1. Larry Wall Photo taken from the Wikipedia by Randal Schwartz.

  2. Paul Graham Photo taken from the English Wikipedia by Sarah Harlin.

  3. Joel Spolsky Photo taken from the English Wikipedia by Dmcginnis.

  4. LeAnn Rimes Still taken from the video-clip for “LeAnn - Amazing Grace”.

Copyright and Licence

This document is Copyright by Shlomi Fish, 2010, and is available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License 3.0 Unported (or at your option any later version).

For securing additional rights, please contact Shlomi Fish and see the explicit requirements that are being spelt from abiding by that licence.