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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.
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
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.
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
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- Spring '14