Sample COBOL code

Cobol is an acronym for COmmon Business-Oriented Language, which more or less explains its primary purpose for use in business, finance, and administrative systems. It is used for processing data records that have a defined structure and has numeric types (e.g. fixed decimal) that suit business use. It is not designed for engineering calculations.

However, I was using IBM's Fortran H compiler for engineering applications and needed to use IBM's DMS Panels software to display information to users and to receive input. The DMS subroutines all had names that were seven or eight characters but the Fortran compiler was limited to calling subroutines that had only six or fewer characters. This meant that it was impossible for Fortran to call DMS directly. This is where the Cobol program was required. I wrote a subroutine in Cobol, with a six-character name, that was called by my Fortran program and which passed the arguments to DMS, displayed the data and then returned the input back to Fortran. It all worked beautifully!