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COBOL – Basic Syntax

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  • Last Updated : 04 Mar, 2022
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Cobol is a high-level language, which has its own compiler. The COBOL compiler translates the COBOL program into an object program, which is finally executed. A Syntax refers to the rules and regulations for writing any statement in a programming language. It is related to the grammar and structure of the language.

Program Syntax Rules of COBOL:

  • COBOL syntax is very easy.
  • These are not case-sensitive.
  • A COBOL consists of more than 300 reserved words.
  • It lacks a big-size standard library, as it has only 43 statements, 87 functions, and just one class.

COBOL Character Set:

Cobol is based on an EBCDIC character set which has the following:

  • English alphabets (both lowercase and uppercase).
  • Number 0-9.
  • Few special characters. E.g Space, comma, $,quote, etc.

COBOL Coding Sheet: 

The below table describes the code layout, for writing working executable COBOL code.  

Columns Number with a record length of 80 bytes:

S.No Column specification Short Description  Description
1. 1-6 Sequence Number  it is used to identify each line of the source program, can contain any character in the system character set  
2. 7 Reserved for special character

it is an indicator area used for specifying.

  • * ⇒ Comment
  • – ⇒ Continuation
  • / ⇒ Form Feed
3. 8-11 Area A Cobol divisions, sections, paragraphs being written in columns 8-11
4. 12-72 Area B Space for Writing Cobol Statements
5. 73-80 System generated Number  For programmer use 

Let’s take an example and understand how to COBOL syntax and program works:

Example:

Cobol




IDENTIFICATION DIVISION.
PROGRAM-ID. YOUR-PROGRAM-NAME.
DATA DIVISION.
FILE SECTION.
WORKING-STORAGE SECTION.
01 NUM1 PIC 9(4) VALUE 1458
01 MESSAGE PIC X(11) VALUE 'HELLO WORLD'.   
PROCEDURE DIVISION.
MAIN-PROCEDURE.
          
**********This is a comment in Cobol***************
        
DISPLAY NUM1.
DISPLAY MESSAGE.
STOP RUN.
END PROGRAM YOUR-PROGRAM-NAME.


Output:

COBOL Code Explanation:

  • In the  COBOL program(YOUR-PROGRAM-NAME) NUM1 is a Numeric literal with a predefined default value of 1458.
  • MESSAGE is an Alphanumeric literal with the predefined value of ‘HELLO WORLD’.
  • DISPLAY keyword is used to print the Default value for both the Variables(NUM1, MESSAGE) used inside the program.
  • There are 4 divisions inside every Cobol program.
  • To compile a COBOL program through JCL we a have popularly used utility known as IGYWCL. Refer to JCL for compiling the COBOL.
  • After the code is compiled it creates a Load Module. A Load Module is the non-human readable file, a low-level machine-readable file.
  • To execute the Program in a mainframe environment we have to give the Program ID in the above example, YOUR-PROGRAM-NAME is the program-id and path of load library. Refer to RUN JCL.

JCL for compiling the COBOL:

//JOBNAME JOB ACCTNO,NAME,MSGCLASS=1
//S001                 EXEC IGYWCL
//COBOL.SYSIN  DD   DSN = LOCATION_OF_CODE,DISP= SHR
//COBOL.SYSLIB DD   DSN = COPYBOOK_LOCATION,DISP = SHR
//LKED.SYSMOD DD   DSN = LOADLIB_PATH(YOUR-PROGRAM-NAME),DISP=SHR

RUN JCL – For running program:

//JOBNAME JOB ACCTNO,NAME,MSGCLASS=1
//* JCL TO RUN COBOL PROGRAM*
//STEP01    EXEC PGM= YOUR-PROGRAM-NAME
//STPLIB     DD   DSN = LOADLIB_PATH,DISP=SHR
//SYSOUT   DD SYSOUT = *

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