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Difference Between COBOL and FORTRAN

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  • Last Updated : 25 Feb, 2022

COBOL stands for Common Business-Oriented Language, while FORTRAN stands for Formula Translation.

What is COBOL?

The COBOL computer programming language is a compiled English-like language designed for business. Businesses and governments have been using COBOL for years for business, finance, and administrative systems. Codasyl created COBOL in 1959, based on part on Grace Hopper’s FLOW-MATIC programming language. It is a portable programming language for data processing created by the US Department of Defense.

What is FORTRAN?

A compiled imperative programming language, FORTRAN is particularly suited to numeric computations and scientific computing. In the 1950s, IBM developed Fortran primarily for scientific and engineering applications, and it gradually took over scientific computing. Since it was developed over six decades ago, it has been used in computationally intensive areas such as numerical weather prediction, finite element analysis, computational fluid dynamics, geophysics, computational physics, crystallography, and computational chemistry.

Despite their similarities in structure and functionality, both languages are very different. As opposed to FORTRAN, COBOL was flow-oriented, making it less impressive technically. Despite its popularity, computer scientists argue that it is one of the worst programming languages out there. COBOL is more in tune with auditors, while FORTRAN was created for scientists. FORTRAN is a free-flowing language whereas COBOL is structured and formalized. In reality, these languages are considerably different in terms of structure and usefulness.

Difference Between the COBOL and FORTRAN:

  • COBOL is developed by CODASYL, ANSI, ISO, on the other hand, FORTRAN is developed by John Backus at IBM.
  • COBOL was created with commercial applications in mind. Banking systems, insurance companies, and government offices have all utilized it, while FORTRAN is a programming language for mainframe computers that was created to translate formulas. It is best suited for scientific and mathematical operations.
  • COBOL is not a general-purpose programming language. Parameterized classes can be used to provide support for generic languages, whereas, FORTRAN is a generic language, which makes it efficient since compile-time errors may be fixed more quickly.
  • COBOL is an imperative programming language, which means it tells the computer “what to do.” COBOL’s most notable feature is its imperative and procedural design, on the other hand, FORTRAN is both a compiled imperative and an Object-oriented programming language.
  • COBOL is a procedural language and it does not support Procedural recursion while FORTRAN is a compiled imperative programming language designed for scientific and numerical computations.
  • COBOL is Procedural, Imperative, and object-oriented. While, FORTRAN is Concurrent, array-based, shared-memory/native distributed parallelism and vectorized.
  • COBOL has a Weak and Static typing discipline. While  FORTRAN has strong, static, and manifests-based typing discipline.
  • COBOL has been revised four times from its standardized date 1968.  Whereas, FORTRAN has been revised nine times.

Difference Between Table (COBOL Vs FORTRAN):

COBOL FORTRAN
COBOL is developed by CODASYL, ANSI, ISO. FORTRAN is developed by John Backus at IBM.
COBOL was created with commercial applications in mind. Banking systems, insurance companies, and government offices have all utilized it FORTRAN is a programming language for mainframe computers that was created to translate formulas. It is best suited for scientific and mathematical operations.
COBOL is not a general-purpose programming language. Parameterized classes can be used to provide support for generic languages. FORTRAN is a generic language, which makes it efficient since compile-time errors may be fixed more quickly.
COBOL is an imperative programming language, which means it tells the computer “what to do.” COBOL’s most notable feature is its imperative and procedural design FORTRAN is both a compiled imperative and an Object-oriented programming language.
COBOL is a procedural language and it does not support Procedural recursion.  FORTRAN is a compiled imperative programming language designed for scientific and numerical computations.
COBOL is Procedural, Imperative, and object-oriented. FORTRAN is Concurrent, array-based, shared-memory/native distributed parallelism and vectorized.
COBOL has a Weak and Static typing discipline. FORTRAN has strong, static, and manifests-based typing discipline.
COBOL has been revised four times from its standardized date 1968.  

FORTRAN has been revised nine times till date.

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