Monday, June 09, 2008

Working with dinosaur, aka cobol programming

Thus One have begin programming in cobol. Programming in cobol on Mainframe, enlighten me in many way.

Another, many things that I took for granted in programming, I really miss dearly
  • Interactive terminal is very useful, because on z/os everything is done on batches. So I have to submit the job, and wait for result then go to the sdsf utility to see the printout, luckily on screen. On unix(in my case linux), result is shown immediately, after compilation.
  • And because of it, the jcl, tend to do more than one job. In my case, there is this compile and link JCL file, that well compile and link.
  • On z/os, the utility program look as if it is obsfucated. The compilation program is based on a long acronym. I don't even remember the name. But there is always a way to define userfriendly name.
  • There is no easy way to pass parameter. On unix it is done easily, but not on mainframe.
  • Worst there is no good development environment. On unix there exist emacs and vi. For programming, here I consider only console environment. It is a pain.
  • You realize that the platform is dated, even the JCL is keep the same models where it is from, the punch card, which means it is only 80 char wide and start with //
  • On cobol, you realize the program is long, you define the variable in the beginning. So one have to think of the variable first.
  • And it is too verbose.
  • There is no easy way, that I find now that able to print multiline string. As in python, hell even in c there is "/n".
  • Like the mainframe. The design looks very dated. I mean, who use move to assign variable anymore. This not assembly....................
Programming in mainframe provide interesting challenge. But it is also a pain, in many many way. Make it the last platform of choice to software development. One might not use it, unless forced to. Which is my case actually, because I cannot breach a contract(It seems fun that time, regretting now.) On other case, it is really the critical legacy apps. Which a bank have a lot. That they are force to keep it.

I actually understand why Djikstra is right, why the tao of programming is right. I begin to understand UNIX, a bit more. Most of the language that rank below of my personal list like perl, java and ruby, get high points now, except basic, which I still think too restricted. Because of restriction on cobol, I also like Lisp many more.........

Strange experience but it is true................

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