Programming languages are used by software developers to design applications that can be run on computers. The choice of programming language depends on various factors including the “response time requirements of the system, time restriction of the project, and budget allocated for development and maintenance support” (Reilly, 2003).
Other determining factors are the requirement for coding the subroutines in varying languages and the choice between a compiled and an interpreted language (Reilly, 2003).
Object-oriented programming languages provide designers with a modern and powerful model with the capability of specifying data structures and operations that govern them. Examples of object-oriented programming (OOP) include Visual Basic, Python, C++ and Java. Despite the numerous benefits, OOP is still not as popular in business today like procedural programming language (Reilly, 2003).
Procedural programming languages like COBOL, FORTRAN and BASIC, use a simple paradigm whereby each program comprises a starting state, a list of operations, and an ending point. A section of the program can be split and re-used in the program to make the design work simple.
Procedural programming languages are used for business-oriented applications in commercial data processing (Khan, 2003). Common Business-Oriented Language (COBOL), for instance, is ideal for designing business applications since they can be easily integrated in Web-oriented business processes.
As a compiled language, COBOL uses efficient code that can be executed many times after the first compilation, which makes its programs more efficient and better performing than others.
The translation cost for compiled languages is incurred once, unlike interpreted languages which incur huge costs due to the several stages involved every time the application is run. This makes programming with COBOL cheaper than using other languages (Stern, Stern, & Ley, 2003).
COBOL was introduced in the 1960s. The entry of newer programming languages that make use of the latest computer features has led to transformation of COBOL for it to remain competitive. For instance, the development and deployment of the Net Express software package by Micro Focus Ltd has provided an ideal environment for COBOL coders. “This makes it easy and fast to build and modernize COBOL enterprise components and business applications for the Web, client/server platforms and Microsoft’s.
Net framework” (Khan, 2003). The application allows programmers to either modify or create COBOL programs without additional coding, which increases its use in business processes. Another development in COBOL was the development of a Technical Report (TR) that supports XML in COBOL applications.
Extensible Markup Language (XML) is a vital part for the future of Information Technology. XML permits end-users to access and manipulate intricate documents through COBOL applications on any PC.
Companies supporting COBOL, such as Micro Focus and IBM, prepared the TR to make so that COBOL could remain viable in business processes programming. The TR standardized the process of handling XML as both an input and output for COBOL applications (Khan, 2003).
KOBOL is another development for COBOL. It was developed by theKompany.com to permit programmers to build and manipulate their programs. “KOBOL uses IDE to compile COBOL code into executables that can run on various platforms” (Stern, Stern, & Ley, 2003). This allows COBOL programmers to continue making COBOL applications for business processes.
While there are newer programming languages that are more exciting than COBOL and other procedural programming languages, COBOL is still in use today in the business world. Consequently, COBOL is still studied in higher education institutions, in order to serve the existing and new markets.
Hence, the modifications of COBOL platforms to run on multiple platforms have prolonged the use of procedural programming languages on businesses today (Stern, Stern, & Ley, 2003).
Khan, M. B. (2003). COBOL. In Bidgoli, Hossein (Ed.). Encyclopedia of Information Systems, 2, 113-126.
Reilly, E. D. (2003). Milestones in Computer Science and Information Technology. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.
Stern, N., Stern, R. A., & Ley, J. P. (2003). COBOL for the 21st Century 10th Edition. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.