useless discussions (was: sections vs. paragraphs) 
Author Message
 useless discussions (was: sections vs. paragraphs)

Bob Wilkins recently aksed:

Quote:
>Won't it be "refreshing" to talk about something other than
>"paragraphs",  "sections" and "goto"s  for awhile!!!

Every experienced COBOL programmer knows that the use of sections or
paragraphs is just a matter of taste and has no serious impact on
quality or maintainabily.  
If this was all we would have to talk about,  COBOL could certainly be
called a dead language.
Some weeks ago I tried to start a thread here on sections vs. nested
subprograms. This is *not* a matter of taste but a radical  change in
the way you code COBOL  (you can use local and global variables,
enforce encapsulation etc.). To my disappoinment I received only 3
answers referrenig to the original subject. Soon after the thread
turned up into the usual (an useless) paragraph/section battle.

So my impression is that COBOL won't continue not because the language
is old-fashioned but its programmers. Imagine to introduce object
oriented features - as contained in the new standard - to an audience
which is pre{*filter*}ly interested in the use or abuse of gotos.
OO-COBOL will suffer the same fate as nested programs or intrinsinc
functions or some other usefull features of the 85 standard: 90 % of
all programmers don't even know they exist and continue to code in
their '70s style.

Thomas Wolter



Sun, 16 May 1999 03:00:00 GMT  
 useless discussions (was: sections vs. paragraphs)


Quote:
> >Won't it be "refreshing" to talk about something other than
> >"paragraphs",  "sections" and "goto"s  for awhile!!!

Then please do start a discussion on some technical aspect of the
language.  I found it refreshing to see a discussion that was not
adverts for programmers (many not COBOL), please do my homework,
and please send me a free compiler.

It does make one wonder why the area is here at all.

If you saw flaws in *my* postings on the issues then please do
respond with your considered views.

Quote:
> So my impression is that COBOL won't continue not because the language
> is old-fashioned but its programmers. Imagine to introduce object
> oriented features - as contained in the new standard - to an audience
> which is pre{*filter*}ly interested in the use or abuse of gotos.
> OO-COBOL will suffer the same fate as nested programs or intrinsinc
> functions or some other usefull features of the 85 standard: 90 % of
> all programmers don't even know they exist and continue to code in
> their '70s style.

I agree that it seems most (or at least many) COBOL programmers
are unwilling to drag themselves away from the 70s.  Perhaps
when they do they move on to other languages.  In many cases
the site standards may have been set in the 70s and may
constrain innovation: Nested programs were tried in 1984 but the
compiler didn't support it so the standards now ban their use ?

Perhaps those that want to innovate have to break away into the
C/C++, Pascal, Ada, and now Java areas.

I have used various languages over the years (decades) including
Pascal, C, Modula-2 and have looked at OO programming.  It is
possible to learn from these and apply new techniques in Cobol.

I am never impressed with statements like 'I use GO TO and my
programs work'.  They don't even understand the problem yet,
let alone in which direction the solution lies.

The same was true of BASIC programmers in the early 80s.  Many
did not understand where the problems may lay until they tried
writing 500 line programs, or 1000 line, or ...

The introduction of OO into Cobol, or END-IF, or nested programs,
is not because it is 'trendy' and can safely be ignored, it is
because it helps solve problems in a more controllable and
maintainable way.

I would like to see more discussions here on technical issues
but it seems that *any* message is written off by many as being
'another useless tirade against go to'.



Sun, 16 May 1999 03:00:00 GMT  
 useless discussions (was: sections vs. paragraphs)

Food for thought.... how much new COBOL code is actually written directly
by programmers?

Yup, most of the maintenance of core applications is done in COBOL, and by
skilled (?) programmers....

But at least at many of my clients, the majority of new COBOL applications
are generated by products such as TELON or IEF.  In this case the
maintenance will likely be done in the design language and the code
regenerated.  Thus.... the COBOL functional syntax may not be as important
as when it was all chisseled in stone tablets (or was that coding forms).

Rex Widmer
Builder of software archeology tools and other strange programs to help
survive in a legacy based world.



Mon, 17 May 1999 03:00:00 GMT  
 useless discussions (was: sections vs. paragraphs)

Quote:


>> >Won't it be "refreshing" to talk about something other than
>> >"paragraphs",  "sections" and "goto"s  for awhile!!!
>Then please do start a discussion on some technical aspect of the
>language.  I found it refreshing to see a discussion that was not
>adverts for programmers (many not COBOL), please do my homework,
>and please send me a free compiler.
>It does make one wonder why the area is here at all.
>If you saw flaws in *my* postings on the issues then please do
>respond with your considered views.
>> So my impression is that COBOL won't continue not because the language
>> is old-fashioned but its programmers. Imagine to introduce object
>> oriented features - as contained in the new standard - to an audience
>> which is pre{*filter*}ly interested in the use or abuse of gotos.
>> OO-COBOL will suffer the same fate as nested programs or intrinsinc
>> functions or some other usefull features of the 85 standard: 90 % of
>> all programmers don't even know they exist and continue to code in
>> their '70s style.
>I agree that it seems most (or at least many) COBOL programmers
>are unwilling to drag themselves away from the 70s.  Perhaps
>when they do they move on to other languages.  In many cases
>the site standards may have been set in the 70s and may
>constrain innovation: Nested programs were tried in 1984 but the
>compiler didn't support it so the standards now ban their use ?
>Perhaps those that want to innovate have to break away into the
>C/C++, Pascal, Ada, and now Java areas.
>I have used various languages over the years (decades) including
>Pascal, C, Modula-2 and have looked at OO programming.  It is
>possible to learn from these and apply new techniques in Cobol.
>I am never impressed with statements like 'I use GO TO and my
>programs work'.  They don't even understand the problem yet,
>let alone in which direction the solution lies.
>The same was true of BASIC programmers in the early 80s.  Many
>did not understand where the problems may lay until they tried
>writing 500 line programs, or 1000 line, or ...
>The introduction of OO into Cobol, or END-IF, or nested programs,
>is not because it is 'trendy' and can safely be ignored, it is
>because it helps solve problems in a more controllable and
>maintainable way.
>I would like to see more discussions here on technical issues
>but it seems that *any* message is written off by many as being
>'another useless tirade against go to'.

I too would like more discussions on OO COBOL, esp. the experiences of
those who used in their daily work.  My only source of OO COBOL is in
the IBM COBOL Programming Guide and it's difficult to follow.

Boyce G. Williams, Jr.

 .---------------------------------------------------------------------.
 | "People should have two virtues:  purpose- the courage to envisage  |
 | and pursue valued goals uninhibited by the defeat of infantile      |
 | fantasies, by guilt and the failing fear punishment;  and wisdom- a |
 | detached concern with life itself, in the face of death itself."    |
 |                                                     Norman F. Dixon |
 '---------------------------------------------------------------------'



Fri, 21 May 1999 03:00:00 GMT  
 useless discussions (was: sections vs. paragraphs)


Quote:
>Bob Wilkins recently aksed:
>>Won't it be "refreshing" to talk about something other than
>>"paragraphs",  "sections" and "goto"s  for awhile!!!

>Every experienced COBOL programmer knows that the use of sections or
>paragraphs is just a matter of taste and has no serious impact on
>quality or maintainabily.  
>If this was all we would have to talk about,  COBOL could certainly be
>called a dead language.
>Some weeks ago I tried to start a thread here on sections vs. nested
>subprograms. This is *not* a matter of taste but a radical  change in
>the way you code COBOL  (you can use local and global variables,
>enforce encapsulation etc.). To my disappoinment I received only 3
>answers referrenig to the original subject. Soon after the thread
>turned up into the usual (an useless) paragraph/section battle.

>So my impression is that COBOL won't continue not because the language
>is old-fashioned but its programmers. Imagine to introduce object
>oriented features - as contained in the new standard - to an audience
>which is pre{*filter*}ly interested in the use or abuse of gotos.
>OO-COBOL will suffer the same fate as nested programs or intrinsinc
>functions or some other usefull features of the 85 standard: 90 % of
>all programmers don't even know they exist and continue to code in
>their '70s style.

>Thomas Wolter

Oh, I don't know. There are a few of us mavericks out here.  I'm
just starting reading a book called "Reengineering COBOL with Objects,"
by Robert Levey.  Has anyone else looked at it?  I just know code
can be made more readable and maintainable than some of the stuff
we are working with now.

I know of at least one company doing mainframe programming with
COBOL 85, which codes new programs with no periods inside paragraphs!
They use PERFORM/END-PERFORM, IF/END-IF constructs and only use a
period after the paragraph name and after the STOP RUN.  This
eliminates the "phantom period" bug: it's there where you don't want
it or not there where you need it.  Note I said NEW programs; I can't
recommend this when maintaining old code.
--
- Steven



Mon, 24 May 1999 03:00:00 GMT  
 useless discussions (was: sections vs. paragraphs)


Quote:
>Food for thought.... how much new COBOL code is actually written directly
>by programmers?

>Yup, most of the maintenance of core applications is done in COBOL, and by
>skilled (?) programmers....

>But at least at many of my clients, the majority of new COBOL applications
>are generated by products such as TELON or IEF.  In this case the
>maintenance will likely be done in the design language and the code
>regenerated.  Thus.... the COBOL functional syntax may not be as important
>as when it was all chisseled in stone tablets (or was that coding forms).

>Rex Widmer
>Builder of software archeology tools and other strange programs to help
>survive in a legacy based world.

I acknowledge that many of your clients use 4GLs or code builders for
most of their development, but I submit that most of the companies that
develop COBOL code, code it directly in COBOL.  Witness all the ads
for COBOL programmers.  I take it that these wouldn't be your clients,
as you don't seem to be interested in third-generation COBOL programs.

--
- Steven



Mon, 24 May 1999 03:00:00 GMT  
 useless discussions (was: sections vs. paragraphs)

Quote:
> I'm just starting reading a book called "Reengineering COBOL with Objects,"
>by Robert Levey.  Has anyone else looked at it?  I just know code
>can be made more readable and maintainable than some of the stuff
>we are working with now.

Please keep us informed with your thoughts on this book. It sounds
interesting. Where did you purchase it... Europe, USA, etc.
Who is the publisher. Is it paperback, Cloth, Hard Cover?
Price, number of pages? As you read further into it are you still
impressed. Does the book have "something philosophical" to say or is
it just page after page after page of code examples for the reader to
"BUST" through? What Cobol platform(s) does it relate to?

I'll concede that there are probably no JOKE pages like in the "FOR
DUMMIES" series..... COBOL books are just toooooooo serious.

Best regards and THANKS for any additional info. you can provide.
Bob Wilkins



Wed, 26 May 1999 03:00:00 GMT  
 useless discussions (was: sections vs. paragraphs)

Give it a rest , pleeaaassseee. Some of us only got into this newsgroup
quite recently. I for one was interested in the section v paragraph thing
initially. Some of the peripheral points were news to me. Granted , it got
quite predictable eventually , but it is obviously new to someone. It sure
as hell beats make money fast schemes and Hot Bi-Males ( surely the worst
posting to date ). The discussion is completely relevant , it just bores
you and I now , 'cos we've been there , seen it , done it.

I too would welcome discussion of object orientation and the like , but
I'm afraid I fall in the sceptical group. I need convincing of the gains
here. To be completely honest , beyond the new buzzwords , I know little
in depth about OO. So if you know COBOL , and are able to tolerate a bit
of an OO dunce , could you explain it to me in familiar terms that make it
seem a good idea. Up to now the VS COBOL II , along with JCL,DFSORT etc
have met all my needs. What am I changing to , and why?

Glenn Bridges



Sun, 30 May 1999 03:00:00 GMT  
 useless discussions (was: sections vs. paragraphs)

...

Quote:
> I too would welcome discussion of object orientation and the like , but
> I'm afraid I fall in the sceptical group. I need convincing of the gains
> here. To be completely honest , beyond the new buzzwords , I know little
> in depth about OO. So if you know COBOL , and are able to tolerate a bit
> of an OO dunce , could you explain it to me in familiar terms that make it
> seem a good idea. Up to now the VS COBOL II , along with JCL,DFSORT etc
> have met all my needs. What am I changing to , and why?

I described OO to my boss once as like structured programming but
without
the ability to undermine the structure, so you can rely on what you see
in
the code when it comes to debugging or maintenance.

yours, Patrick



Mon, 31 May 1999 03:00:00 GMT  
 
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