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Erik_
Originally width limited.
Wed Mar 28, 2018 2:52pm
68.194.128.14

Original fixed format COBOL had a limited number of characters wide you could go before having to start a new line with a continuation character in space 7.

In my COBOL IDE, you can see the red lines to the right indicating max width. The ones on the left are to mark where area A and area B start. Line numbers help make finding section A easier, but I didn't feel like dealing with that headache.


Here's from Micro Focus' doc:

In fixed format, the COBOL source format divides each COBOL source record into 72 columns.
These columns are used in the following way:
Columns 1 - 6 Sequence number
Column 7 Indicator area
Column 8 - 11 Area A
Columns 12 - 72 Area B
A COBOL source record can extend up to a maximum of 80 columns in length. The
contents of columns 73 to 80 are ignored by the COBOL system.


Modern COBOL is not case sensitive but is traditionally still written in all caps. I'm sure there's some compiler differences out there though.

Haha, yeah 12 years! The problem is that I loaded COBOL, Borland C++ 4.5 and VBasic on that computer just about when I stopped using it regularly. (Same time Wry 3 and Hellbent reboot died). It hasn't really been used much in the past 12 years.

Currently my 486 has IE 3 (i think?) and two versions of Netscape. I don't recall the versions off the top of my head but I know one of them was from around 1997. I want to say Netscape 4. They all have their things they can handle and things they can't. Between all three of them, nothing is really rendered the same. Made me remember all the "This site is best viewed in xyz using 320x240" messages you used to see on all the sites.

Sad thing about it is that they can only handle very primitive SSL so 99.9% of https traffic does not work. Thankfully this site and message board (and Google's homepage) are some of the only things I can find that will agree to load in http.

I wonder how new of a browser I can get on there? Maybe there's one out there that's more recent that could view more modern websites. (I don't have any expectations that most of the css and javascript stuff will ever work)

  • Were COBOL programs line limited?Puckdropper, Tue Mar 27 10:16am
    7 characters on a punch card would only be like 128. I thought some COBOL was done as capital letters for OPCodes and lower case for other stuff? Guess that depends on your compiler? 12 years to... more
    • Originally width limited. ☻ Erik_, Wed Mar 28 2:52pm
      • One more 486 Web Browsing Comment.Erik_, Wed Mar 28 2:58pm
        The ad on the top of this forum took FOREVER to load on my 486. Images already load slow but jeeze.
        • Considering it's about a megabyte in sizePuckdropper, Sat Apr 7 2:36am
          That's a significant part of the available memory on your box... Even if you max it out, it's still like 32 MB. Technically the 32-bit chipset could handle up to 4 GB, but it was rare to have a... more
          • I would actually like to upgrade it higher but need to I guess figure out the RAM type I need. It's been so long since I've even tinkered with the hardware on it, I've forgotten so much. I remember... more
            • IIRC, 72-pin SIMMs were the standardPuckdropper, Thu May 24 7:41am
              and they were pretty standard. It wasn't until PC100 that things got messy. Some boards wouldn't use a double-sided SIMM, I think that was happening with both 30 and 72-pin SIMMs. Yours might be one... more
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"Don't quote me." - Erik