What we can learn from COBOL
COBOL was originally conceived as a programming language for building business applications. At the time this primarily meant processing large amounts of data and transforming it into useful information (commonly known at ETL). Interest in this kind of programming waned as the personal computing revolution swept through the industry, but it is waxing with the new focus on data science and “big data”.
COBOL has been the target of criticism almost since its conception, some of it well deserved. But COBOL code is still incredibly widely deployed, and people are still hiring COBOL developers to work on new projects. It is worth exploring as a source of insight, both in terms of what it got wrong and what it got right.
This talk will provide a very brief introduction to COBOL and explore the similarities between it and other more “modern” data processing system. Attendees will leave with an appreciation of the ideas from COBOL that are worth considering in new systems.