Programming Books

3 Excellent Free Books to Learn COBOL

COBOL is an acronym which stands for Common Business-Oriented Language. The US Department of Defense, in a conference, formed CODASYL (Conference on Data Systems Language) to develop a language for meeting business data processing needs which is now known as COBOL.

COBOL is a standard language that can be compiled and executed on various machines. It’s ideally suited for business-oriented applications as it can handle huge volumes of data. It provides numerous debugging and testing tools. COBOL is a structured language; it has different divisions, so it’s easy to debug. The language is not designed for writing systems programs.

COBOL is one of the oldest computer languages.


1. GnuCOBOL Programmer’s Guide by Gary Cutler

GnuCOBOL Programmer's GuideGnuCOBOL Programmer’s Guide describes the syntax,semantics and usage of the COBOL programming language as implemented by the current version of GnuCOBOL, formerly known as OpenCOBOL.

This document was intended to serve as a full-function reference and user’s guide suitable for both those readers learning COBOL for the first time as well as those already familiar with some dialect of the COBOL language.

Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify the GnuCOBOL Programmer’s Guide under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.3 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation

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2. COBOL programming – tutorials, lectures, exercises, examples by Department of CSIS

COBOL programmingThis isn’t a book per se. But it’s a a comprehensive set of COBOL tutorials making a full COBOL course as well as COBOL lecture notes, COBOL programming exercises with sample solutions, COBOL programming exam specifications with model answers, COBOL project specifications, and over 50 example COBOL programs.

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3. OpenCOBOL 1.1 Programmer’s Guide by Gary Cutler

OpenCOBOL 1.1 Programmer's GuideThis document describes the syntax, semantics and usage of the COBOL programming language as implemented by the current version of OpenCOBOL.

OpenCOBOL is an open-source COBOL compiler and runtime environment. The OpenCOBOL compiler generates C code which is automatically compiled and linked. While originally developed for UNIX operating systems, OpenCOBOL can also be built for MacOS computers or Windows computers utilizing the UNIX-emulation features of such tools as Cygwin and MinGW. It has also been built as a truly native Windows application utilizing Microsoft’s freely-downloadable Visual Studio Express package to provide the C compiler and linker/loader.

Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify OpenCOBOL 1.1 Programmer’s Guide under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License[FDL], Version 1.3 or any later version.

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