Their main objectives for developing a new

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Unformatted text preview: ormed by the program. The nature of COBOL programs is illustrated in Figure 12.19 with the help of a simple COBOL program to compute and print the sum of given numbers. It can be easily seen from this example that COBOL programs are verbose but easy to read. COBOL is often referred to as a self-documenting language. Self-documenting languages are those that do not require much explanation in order to be understood by someone reading the program instructions. The self-documenting aspect of COBOL is made possible by its following features: 1. Its English-like commands. 2. Its English-like sentences and paragraph structure. 3. Its very generous maximum symbolic field-name length of 30 characters. With a field-name length of up to 30 characters, the name can clearly identify the field and its purposes. COBOL programmer should ensure that the used fieldnames are meaningful, so that the self-documenting feature of the language is not lost. The main drawback of COBOL is that it is a verbose language. Writing a COBOL program is somewhat tedious and time consuming because of all the extra words needed in its statements. However, over the years, this drawback has been taken care of to a large extent in the following manner: 1. A rich set of libraries of COBOL business applications modules and programs has been made available today by many vendors. COBOL programmers often make use of these library programs in their applications for faster development. 2. Automatic program generators for COBOL programs have also been developed and made available by some vendors. These software packages are capable of generating 70 to 80% of the code needed in a particular application program from the application's specifications. The programmer has to manually write only 20 to 30% of the code needed to tie the program elements together and to create a customized problem solution for the application. The use of a COBOL program generator can significantly reduce the time and effort needed to code new COBOL programs. BASIC BASIC s...
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