This book does not aim to compete or fulfil the same role as introductory COBOL texts. Its main aim is to provide a tutorial on COBOL for experienced programmers who either need an update on the new standard or need to learn COBOL in addition to another programming language. Comparisons are drawn between COBOL and other languages, and a chapter is included on the significant differences between the old and new COBOL principally for those having to use a 1974 standard compiler or who need to maintain old programs written by other people. Assuming a grounding in one or more other programming language, the text provides a concise but reasonably comprehensive introduction to the language, and allows comparison of strengths and weaknesses of COBOL with other familiar languages.
Files, records and data items; files and file access; indexed files - random access; indexed files - sequential access; indexed files - dynamic access; numbers, arithmetic and initialization; sequential files; editing data; mixing data types; indexed files - alternate record keys; relative files; arrays and perform statements; more about arrays; records with varying format and varying length; string handling and redefinitions; program modularization; parameter passing, initial programs and external data; the inspect and evaluate statements; other general facilities; sorting and other file-handling facilities; provisions for portability; provisions for efficiency; the 1974 COBOL standard; the structure of the 1985 standard.