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History of Cobol

The Origin Of „Cobol in Computing"

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History of Cobol When „computers” came available for commercial data processing, they hardly contained storage (memory) and had little cpu at their disposal. Input came from media like punched tape, punched cards, telex, and such. Outputs were stored on these media too or became printed, line by line.

The first applications used adjustable boards with wires that basically connected the input signals to the output signals or transferred them into the accumulator (cpu). Rewiring was called „programming”.

While punched tape had a greatly free-format, the punched card introduced a strict fixed format and caused the „program” to group the data fields as records: a punched card was read as a complete unit or record, while punched tape could be infinite in length (very fragile and in practice the limit was a few meters). In those days computers were used in a most scientific way and the punched tape was king. Programs would read series of numbers (originating the term number crunching) and manipulate them. A stack was indispensable.

Standards in a Historical Perspective

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History of Cobol First of all, a computing device was developed. There even exists a true mechanical device doing arithmetic.
Data consists of bits (0 or 1, on or off) and counting was formulated according to a binary system. These bits became „grouped” by 8 bits electronically and this group was named a „byte”.

Than the need for INPUT arises. Early media were mechanical (punched) thingies: tape and cards.

The punched tape was greatly free format and consisted of 4, 6 or 7 parallel holes. This data could be read directly as being binary values, manipulated and sent for output in binary form as well. Users of these type of computers did feature a scientific level to be able to read the binary output and convert them for ordinary language use. Well, the integer was born.