[vcf-midatlantic] COBOL wise-guy

Dave Wade dave.g4ugm at gmail.com
Tue Apr 14 19:46:07 EDT 2020

> -----Original Message-----
> From: vcf-midatlantic <vcf-midatlantic-bounces at lists.vcfed.org> On Behalf
> Of Bill Degnan via vcf-midatlantic
> Sent: 14 April 2020 20:00
> To: vcf-midatlantic <vcf-midatlantic at lists.vcfed.org>
> Cc: Bill Degnan <billdegnan at gmail.com>
> Subject: Re: [vcf-midatlantic] COBOL wise-guy
> On Tue, Apr 14, 2020 at 1:56 PM Jeffrey Jonas via vcf-midatlantic < vcf-
> midatlantic at lists.vcfed.org> wrote:
> > Bill Degnan posted
> > Q.  State the four divisions of a COBOL program
> >
> > A: earth air fire water: the 4 elements that make everything :-)
> >
> Close.
> A.  (if you look at the code you see the "bugs" ( * ) asterisk characters that
> have these sections like headers sort of.  Anyway, here is what I have:
> Identification Division:  to identify the program, author, and state remarks.

Always an interesting section to read,  but usually full of useless junk. If you got one where the author was recorded as "Rasputin the Mad Monk" or "Muffin the Mule" you knew you were in trouble...
Worse if there was a list of contributors longer than the cast lists of all the Star Wars films appended end to end, you were in deepest dodo.......   

> Environment Division:  identifies within the configuration section the type of
> comuter used within the input-output section;  the files which are accessed.

Generally the same in every program...

> Data Division:  identifies the record layouts of the files and any other data
> elements used within the program.


> Procedure Division:  Contains the logic of the program.

Well yes, but we did have one program that had more "ALTER" statements, that dynamically altered every "GOTO" to go elsewhere, than conventional logic...
... It was worth the trouble maintaining it. It was a replacement for a previous, conventional program that ran in about an hour...
... it ran so quickly that the first time we ran it we didn't believe it worked, and ran it again.... 

> Bill


> P.S.  This is a vintage computer club.  I would think there is at least one
> COBOL guru here?  I barely know anything other than running jobs TSO/JCL.
> By the time I worked at DuPont, the only professional COBOL environment I
> worked and everything was in production, we used to make changes to
> existing code.

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