COBOL programmers Swing with Java

E. Reed Doke, Bill C. Hardgrave and Richard A. Johnson

Publisher Cambridge University Press
ISBN 0-521-54684-2
RRP £24.99
Reviewed by Len Keighley
Score 8 out of 10

CobolProgJava Since around 1980 the world of the COBOL programmer has regularly suffered from two conditions: the demise of the language and the retraining of its exponents to another language. The first, as Mark Twain also stated, was premature and the second has always been a useful piece of reference material and so it is with this new offering.

It is the stated aim of the book to assist COBOL programmers to learn a new programming language. Not as a replacement for those skills, but in the belief that they complement each other in the world of commercial computing.

COBOL was, and still is, a good tool for processing and maintaining a company’s data, while Java is equally good in the field delivering and capturing that data across a wide base of platforms and networks.

To make the COBOL programmer feel more comfortable with the thought of learning a new language the authors provide some comparisons.

COBOL has 600 reserved words while JAVA has only 52. However, the authors also make it clear that the concepts of Object Oriented (OO) need to be understood before commencing the transition and this information is also supplied in the book.

The book takes the reader through the subject matter in 11 chapters over 282 pages. The initial chapters cover the reasons for learning Java from a COBOL background, the similarities between the languages and the concepts and terminology of OO.

After covering the structure and format of Java programs, including some examples, the remaining chapters are devoted to the major aspects of business applications. For example data and file handling, computation, decision making, loops, arrays and graphical user interfaces.

The very final chapter expands the boundaries and provides a three-tier design using a GUI and relational database server. In each of the chapters examples of the code in both languages are compared and all of the code examples can be obtained from the publishers’ website.

The book does represent good value for someone wishing to pick up Java from a COBOL background.

Further information: Cambridge University Press