{{language|COBOL |exec=machine |strength=strong |checking=static |safety=strong |gc=no |parampass=both |express=explicit |tags=cobol |LCT=yes |bnf=}} COBOL, an acronym for 'COmmon Business Oriented Language', is one of the oldest programming languages, being created in 1959. It was designed by a CODASYL (Conference on Data System Languages) committee with Grace Hopper. It is primarily used in business, finance and administration for companies and governments. It is primarily an imperative, structured language, with support for object-oriented programming added in 2002.


  • '''COBOL 1965''' added some new features to the original specification.
  • '''ANS COBOL 1968''' is the first COBOL standard and was published by [[ANSI]]. It was created to improve compatibility between the different versions of the language.
  • '''COBOL 1974''' added a few more features to the language, including the ability to ACCEPT the date, day and time, and the file organization clause.
  • '''COBOL 1985''' added many new features to COBOL, notably including: scope terminators (END-IF, END-READ, etc.), the EVALUATE verb, the CONTINUE verb, inline PERFORM statements, the ability to pass arguments by content, and the deprecation of the infamous ALTER verb. This standard was followed by the intrinsic functions amendment and a clarifications amendment in 1989 and 1991, respectively.
  • '''COBOL 2002''' was published by [[ISO]] as ISO/IEC 1989. It included a host of new features, most notably including object-oriented programming. However, there were also other features, including: floating-point support, portable arithmetic results, pointers, calling conventions to other languages, function prototypes, [[XML]] facilities and support for execution within framework environments. This standard has suffered from poor vendor support, due to little commercial demand for the new features.John Billman & Huib Klink, 'Thoughts on the Future of COBOL Standardization', []
  • '''COBOL 2014''' is the latest version of the standard, published on July 8th, 2014 and accepted by [[ISO]] early that summer, and then adopted by [[ANSI]] on Oct 31st, 2014. ISO/IEC 1989:2014 Information technology – Programming languages, their environments and system software interfaces – Programming language COBOL', [] It includes numeric definitions following the [[IEEE]] 754 standard.


{{language programming paradigm|Imperative}} {{language programming paradigm|Object-oriented}}