GnuCOBOL 2.0 Adds VS Build Support
GnuCOBOL 2.0 Adds VS Build Support
Written by Kay Ewbank   
Friday, 08 September 2017

There's a new stable release of GnuCOBOL. The new release adds support for COBOL 2014, new system functions and more intrinsic functions, as well as Visual Studio build support.

GnuCOBOL is a free, modern COBOL compiler. It translates COBOL into C and compiles the code using a native C compiler. The developers say it's best to use GCC, but you're not limited to it. 

While COBOL might sound as though it belongs back in the days of punched cards and mainframes, there's a surprising amount of COBOL code still being used, and programmers who can code in COBOL are still in demand. Unsurprisingly,  COBOL developers are increasingly a rare breed, as most have retired and universities only teach languages such as Java and C#. This means there are opportunities for developers willing to learn COBOL, and GnuCOBOL offers a free way in.

gnucobol2

GnuCOBOL started life as OpenCOBOL, and was renamed as GNUCOBOL 1.1 in 2013. That version was unchanged from the release of OpenCOBOL back in 2009.

GnuCOBOL implements a substantial part of the COBOL 85, COBOL 2002, and COBOL 2014 standards, as well as many extensions of the existent COBOL compilers. Various platforms are supported, including Unix/Linux, Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, OS/400, and z/OS 390 mainframes.

The new intrinsic functions that have been added include various formatted date and time options; highest and lowest algebraic; and a number of functions giving details of the current module - the compilation ID, path, source, date and time.

The new version has also added a number of new or extended COBOL statements from COBOL2002/2014, along with extensions from different COBOL dialects. Support has been added for more IEEE numeric types such as FLOAT-DECIMAL-16 and FLOAT-DECIMAL-34.

Another major change is that most of the COBOL 2014 specification Compiler Directive Facility is included. 

DIscussing the new release, the developers said:

"We get one giant leap closer to consolidating all the various branches that occurred starting back in 2009. It's been a lot of work, a lot of fun, with a few disagreements thrown in.

This is a big release. Release cycles should be more frequent going forward, to focus on one or two major or minor features at a time."

gnucobol

 

More Information

GnuCOBOL 

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