Re: Cobol books & experiences

Judson McClendon wrote:
"Richard" <riplin@xxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
My Microsoft COBOL 2 manual, copyright 1980, '83 & '84, has screen section. Version 2.1 was released in 1985. IIRC, Microsoft COBOL 3 was a relabeled MF COBOL 2. I was a beta tester of Microsoft COBOL 4, which was definitely a relabeled MF product (COBOL 3?). Microsoft dropped the COBOL compiler and they had an arrengement with MF that allowed me to easily (free or cheap) get a license for MF COBOL 3, which I later upgraded to Net Express 3.0. That last upgrade cost me $2,500. Ouch!

Used the MicroSOFT compiler, possibly their last V 3 and came in smaller manuals than the M/F remember ? Thing I liked was that their tech writers took info from the Standard and 'translated' it into English. Then the re-badged jobs V 4 and 5 I think but still with Programmer's Workbench for compiling etc. I can't remember prices, but they weren't exorbitant, otherwise I wouldn't have bought them. (These re-badged versions, like RM/COBOL previously, I'm back to this Standard's 'jargonese').

Not too subtly MS pointed us at Micro FOCUS 'cos they were getting out of the COBOL game. So I duly order my new M/F compiler DOS V 3.1. From memory price tag was around $1,000. Confronted with that big set of grey books - my technique - give them a series of three swift reads to memorize highlights so I know where to go referencing later on. Through the second read, I'm getting a bit puzzled. Penny drops on the third read. For my money I was getting the bare bones compiler which worked just fine. But many of the tools I was reading about were extras, I think some graphic interface for development or some such.

Hey then we have VISOC to truly get into Winders and that funny thing called "OO". (Note : As Dialog System was not part of VISOC, you had three choices (a) Dialog Editor and GUIs which "forced" you to learn OO, (b) use APIs or (c) Screen Section - text). $800 bucks - go for it.

In the Compuserve days I see an M/F meet coming up in California, usual exciting stuff about new technology. The blurbs keep talking about something called 'Net Express'. So I query with some sales guy through the Forum, "Why no mention of VISOC - is this Net Express a replacement ?". He replies, "Well I suppose you could call it that.....".

Da ! Da ! "You can have Net Express for #3,000". (Can't remember exactly). "But as you jokers are already using VISOC we'll give it to you for a discounted price". Grumble, mumble, mumble we pay up.

Then V 3.1 of Net Express - runtime fees ........ but we've been this route before.

The only consolation - it is a superb development tool.