Nowadays, there can be a good number of programming languages for every kind of machine, but in the early stages of computer science, things were different. He needed one language which corresponds to these early machines that were the ancestors of today computers. This language was released in September on 1959 and it was called COBOL.
The adoption of the basic idea for this programming language belongs to Mary Hawes. He was a programmer for Burroughs Corporation, who saw the need for a language for computers. In March of 1959, Hawes suggested that a new language be created programming that would have an English-speaking vocabulary that could be used on a variety of computers to perform basic business tasks.
Hawes talked to Grace Hopper and others about creating a neutral, interoperable computer language. Hopper suggested approaching the Department of Defense (DoD) for funding, but also as a potential client for anonymous language.
Business technology experts information technology and in May of 1959, 41 computer users and manufacturers met in the Pentagon. There, they formed the Short Range Committee of the Conference on Data Systems Languages (CODASYL).
Based on previous programming languages for businesses, such as UNIVAC's FLOW-MATIC, which was primarily the work of Grace Hopper and IBM, the committee determined that the COBOL language should be in English.
But even with the support of DoD, IBM and UNIVAC, COBOL's course was not clear. Honeywell has proposed its own language, FACT, as the programming language for businesses of the future. For a while it seemed that FACT was preferable, but then the hardware couldn't support FACT. So COBOL took the lead again.
In December of 1960, the programs COBOL's have proven to be truly interoperable, running on computers from two different vendors. COBOL was on its way to becoming the first truly commercial programming language. It continued to be the preferred programming language for businesses until the 1980 decade. And it still is.
2016, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported that the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Social Security Administration, among others, were still using COBOL. Today, 90% of Fortune 500 companies still use COBOL to some extent. And if you've cashed out an ATM recently, it's almost certain that COBOL is behind it.
Today, COBOL is maintained and operated by Micro Focus. In an interview, Derek Britton, Micro Focus's marketing director, said that COBOL is still widely used in the financial sector.
Therefore, while COBOL is approaching retirement age, the language itself is still far from retiring.