Friday, December 09, 2005

Sharpening my C

Looks like I get to add C# to the list of computer languages that I either know or are fluent in. Our department is being prodded off other languages and development platforms onto the Microsoft world. A couple hours and about 6 gigabytes of storage later I have Visual Studio 2005 installed and ready to use on a freshly re-imaged workstation. When I look back at my life both professionally and personally I have dealt with my share of languages:
  • Assembler (6502 and 8088 micro, 370 and HLASM mainframe)
  • BASIC (DOS, VIC-20, Commodore 64, Apple ][)
  • C (DOS)
  • CL (AS/400)
  • CMS
  • COBOL (Microfocus Unix/Windows, MVS, VSE, AS/400)
  • Cold Fusion
  • Envision BASIC (UniBASIC)
  • HTML (if you consider it a language)
  • JCL (MVS/VSE includes JES and POWER)
  • Java
  • JavaScript
  • PHP
  • PL/SQL
  • Perl
  • REXX (mainframe and AS/400)
  • SQL (Oracle, DB2)
  • UniData UniQuery
  • Unix BASH shell scripting
  • VBScript
  • Visual BASIC
  • Windows Scripting Host
  • XML/XSLT

Out of all the languages I like COBOL the best. COBOL has stayed consistently the same for decades and then some. It’s always been there, dependable and able to get work done in both a transactional and batch environment. COBOL has no real API; it is simply verbs and nouns in sentences. But for all the power COBOL has it sucks at many modern tasks like string editing and handling, flexible storage areas, and inter-program sharing of storage (especially with separately compiled run-units). For decades people have been trying to kill COBOL. It lives today running on mainframe and mini computer systems processing your bank accounts and credit reports, but the drive is to Java or .NET (C++, VB or C#).

Wish me luck as I embark on yet another learning experience. I wish it would be the last one but as with everything, it probably will not be.

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