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TechBear_Seattle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 08:28 AM
Original message
Celebrating the creator of Cobol (sic)
The name of the computer language is COmmon Business Oriented Language and is properly spelled in all capital letters: COBOL.

Celebrating the creator of Cobol

The 100th anniversary of the birth of programming language pioneer Grace Hopper was celebrated on 9 December. Widely credited as being the "mother" of the Cobol computer language her work was hugely influential.

Even now if you take cash from an ATM, renew the MoT on your car or file your taxes, a Cobol program will handle some of the work involved.

It is a state of affairs that undermines the assertion that the only constant in the world of hi-tech is change.

The implication is that the relentless pace of technology development means anything more than a few months old is thrown out along with the empty pizza boxes.

A look below the surface of the computer world uncovers some very old technology - such as the Cobol programming language. The Common Business Oriented Language was created in 1959 and, though it is no longer taught in schools and universities, you still bump up against it every day.


The full article can be found at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/6168489.stm

Dr. Hopper retired several times from the Navy, but kept getting asked back. She was involuntarily retired because of age on August 14, 1986, with the rank of Rear Admiral. She died on January 1, 1992.
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ChairmanAgnostic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 08:31 AM
Response to Original message
1. many many years ago, I moved from fortran to COBOL
and that was just cool. Of course, when I was young, my high school's IBM 360 had a tape reader. NO, not a cassette. A perforated paper reader. You stuck in your code that was punched in a roll of yellow paper, and it read it (slowly) and bingo - the printer (there were no computer screens for a while) gave you the answer.

graduating to IBM cards was huge in those days

I think I skipped a "many" up above.
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Rabrrrrrr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 08:33 AM
Response to Original message
2. Damned COBOL. Always dragging our mainframe down to molasses speed
when the business major idiots, who couldn't handle a real programming language or any kind of math we engineers were doing in high school, had their projects due.

:grr:
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meegbear Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 08:40 AM
Response to Original message
3. Happy Birthday Grace ...
on your 00th birthday! *giggle* *snort*
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TechBear_Seattle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 08:44 AM
Response to Reply #3
5. You are mean!
You shouldn't blame Hopper for the programming fubars of those who came after. :rofl:
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PDittie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 08:40 AM
Response to Original message
4. Computer science in the Seventies
Punch out some Hollerith cards, turn in your deck to the nerd at the lab window, come back in a few hours and see where you screwed up, start all over.

One assignment would take all day and night (at least for me). Which is why I became a business major.

:dunce: :argh: :silly:
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TechBear_Seattle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 08:45 AM
Response to Reply #4
6. And when you really wanted to be nasty...
You "forgot" to change out of your golf shoes before showing up at the computer lab. Here, let me get those cards you dropped on the floor.... :rofl:

Then again, there was something to be said about using masking tape and a hole punch to debug code.
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valerief Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 08:46 AM
Response to Original message
7. If the journalist was clever, he would have written the article in
four divisions:

Identification
Environment
Data
Procedure

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Frank Cannon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 08:51 AM
Response to Original message
8. I'd rather celebrate the creator of Kobol
TV's Glen A. Larson

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TechBear_Seattle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 09:00 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. Mormons! In! Spaaaaaaace!
Aka the original "Battlestar Galactica" series. The whole "Lords of Kobol" comes from Kolob, the "star" described in Mormon scripture as where God was born a mortal man and from which he now rules his creation.
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rock Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 09:23 AM
Response to Original message
10. COBOL has been very very good to me
And I do see more and more examples of it spelled as "Cobol".
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YankeyMCC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 10:08 AM
Response to Original message
11. What's a BSG thread doing in the Science forum?
;)

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Speck Tater Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 10:16 AM
Response to Original message
12. In my early days of programming, back in the early 1960's...
one of the "old men" I worked with knew Commander Hopper (her rank at the time he knew her) and had worked with her at the Pentagon. He used to tell stories of her walking the halls of the Pentagon towing a red Radio Flyer wagon behind her loaded with boxes of IBM punch cards, the source code of her latest project.
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sinkingfeeling Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 10:54 AM
Response to Original message
13. Here's to COBOL! Learned it in about 1970, so I guess I was late to it!
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drm604 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 04:00 PM
Response to Original message
14. I remember punching JCL and COBOL into punch cards
then turning them in and waiting a day to see what errors I had made.
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fedsron2us Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 04:32 PM
Response to Original message
15. Sexism is alive and well and living within IT
Edited on Fri Dec-15-06 04:33 PM by fedsron2us
which is why so many male wise arses think it is fun to puke over the memory of the great Grace Hopper.
If she had been a man everyone would be singing her praises. Despite the derision of those who claim to use more 'scientific' languages many key processes all over the world still depend on old COBOL programs to do the grunt work. When it comes to file handling it knocks the crap out of many of its supposedly sexier rivals.
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eppur_se_muova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 04:55 PM
Response to Original message
16. Brits, for some reason, don't like all caps, hence Cobol, not COBOL.
At least Brits who work for BBC.

It's a little odd to read articles with words like Nato, Nasa, when you're expecting all caps.

This has been your trivia moment for the day. :)
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TechBear_Seattle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 11:26 PM
Response to Reply #16
17. I've noticed that too, but it strikes me as very odd
I mean, it is not like they work for the Bbc.
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eppur_se_muova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 05:41 PM
Response to Reply #17
18. LOL! I didn't even think of that! nt
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Book Lover Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 12:05 AM
Response to Reply #17
19. BBC is three letters; Aids, Colbol, etc, are four or more
and hence the initial-cap-followed-by-lower-case-letters rule. Three or fewer letters are all capped; four or more are not. British style vs. US style...
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jody Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-21-06 05:56 PM
Response to Original message
20. Sorry but Hopper was not the inventor of COBOL. I wonder why that myth keeps on going
The most that can be said is she helped validate COBOL software.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grace_Hopper

COBOL
She later returned to the Navy where she worked on validation software for the programming language COBOL and its compiler. COBOL was defined by the CODASYL committee which extended her FLOW-MATIC language with some ideas from the IBM equivalent, the COMTRAN. However, it was her idea that programs could be written in a language that was close to English rather than in machine code or languages close to machine code (such as assembly language), which is how it was normally done at hat time. It is fair to say that COBOL was based very much on her philosophy.


Hopper was an outstanding pioneer in computer science but she did not invent COBOL.
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