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[open-cobol-list] Identification Division still needed!

From: John Culleton
Subject: [open-cobol-list] Identification Division still needed!
Date: Fri, 6 Feb 2015 10:10:17 -0500

             START RANT.

One of the biggest mistakes made by CODASYL and
its successors is the gradual annihilation of the 
Identification Division. In 2015 as in 1959
programmers love to program and hate to document.
The standard paragraphs in the ID regularize and
encourage internal documentation. The most useful
paragraph was 'REMARKS' which was the first
to go. I always judged a programs quality starting
with the Remarks paragraph. Today, lacking an
official paragraph wise programmers create what
amounts to a Remarks paragraph and highlight it by
surrounding it on fours sides with asterisks.
Frankly that is a lot more work then just
including the standard paragraph names 
in the personal template.

The superb manual by Gary Cutler discourages
their use, even if they are included in GNU
Cobol for compatibility with older programs.

I would instead encourage their use. I use each
paragraph for what it name says. I use the
Security paragraph for my copyright statement.

The mavens who create the Cobol standard made and
keep making a serious mistake. We don't need to
follow their folly. GMH was right and she is
still right. External documentation in a ring
binder gets lost when management changes or the
office moves. Internal documentation is there
forever. This is one of the things that make Cobol
self-documenting and hence raises it above all
other programming languages.

If a program is moved to a less englightened
Cobol environment it is little work to add some
asterisks. they can even be added in advance.

           END RANT.

John Culleton
COBOL since 1968
Wexford Press

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