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COBOL on the HP Palmtop

COBOL on the HP Palmtop

COBOL has been the preferred language of business and government since the mid 1960s. More computer code has been written in this language than all other languages combined.

COBOL has become even more popular in the last couple of years as we approach the millennium and face the 2000 year problem head on. Many programmers who know their way around a working environment and perform varying statements are currently making five-figured bonuses by upgrading miles and miles of legacy, COBOL code.

If you're interested in learning or re-learning COBOL on the palmtop, let me suggest the following inexpensive way to do just that. Buy a copy of the book COBOL from Micros to Mainframes, by Grauer and Villar, published by Prentice-Hall, 1994, 2nd edition (see end of this article for ordering information).

The book includes a student version of the popular Realia COBOL compiler, along with a linker, editor and an interactive debugging program. The one limitation of the student version software is that it wont compile programs that are more than 500 lines long. However, such long programs can be broken into separate files, compiled and linked together to produce executable programs.

Id suggest installing the software on a desktop PC before putting it on your palmtop. The installation instructions are in an appendix of the book, as are some brief instructions on how to use the compiler, editor and debugger.

You'll probably discard the clunky, Realia editor in favor of PalEdit or VDE. You'll definitely want to keep the debugger.

The compiler is command-line driven. If you want to automate the operation of the editor, compiler, linker and debugger, you can either use a DOS batch file or create macros in VDE or PalEdit to accomplish this task.

The Realia COBOL programs take up about 500 Kbytes of disk space. The sample COBOL code takes up another 500 Kbytes.

Ed Keefe

iPhone Life magazine

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