Business Plan and Convener's Report
JTC1/SC22/WG4 - Programming Language COBOL

August 8, 2003

Period Covered:

July 2002 August 2003

Submitted by:

Don Schricker
Convenor, ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 22/WG 4
4012 Nancy Margarite Lane
Las Vegas, NV 89130
email:  Don.Schricker@microfocus.com

1.    Management Summary

1.1    Scope

Development and maintenance of ISO/IEC standards related to programming language COBOL.

1.2    Project Report

1.2.1    Completed Projects

22.01.07 Revision of ISO/IEC 1989:1985

The revised ISO/IEC 1989 FDIS ballot, which closed 11 September 2002, was approved without a negative vote.  This document has been published.

The revision provides major new features, including: cultural adaptability, large character set support, object orientation, exception handling, new data-types (bit, floating point, native binary), portable arithmetic, conditional compilation, user-defined functions, file sharing/record locking, and improved interoperability with other programming languages.

22.01.07.01 Object finalization for programming language COBOL (Type 2 TR)

This TR has been approved for publication.

1.2.2    Projects Underway

TR for XML

WG4 has submitted SC22 N 3591, a NWI proposal for the creation of a type 2 Technical Report for Native COBOL Syntax for XML Support.

TR for Collection Classes

WG4 has submitted SC22 N 3592, a NWI proposal for the creation of a type 2 Technical Report for Collection Classes.

1.2.3     Cancelled Projects

None

1.3    Cooperation and Competition

WG4 cooperates closely with INCITS COBOL Technical Committee J4, to whom SC22 has delegated the technical development and maintenance of COBOL.

WG4 has liaisons with the following groups:

There is no apparent direct competition with any other standards development organization.

2.    Period Review

2.1     Market Requirements

COBOL continues to be widely used for development and for enhancement and re-engineering of existing applications. Many factors drive the market for COBOL standardization:

  1. The trend in the industry is to web-enable COBOL applications, with COBOL running on a server interacting with a non-COBOL user interface. This gives rise to the need for XML support in the COBOL language.
  2. Market pressure for new technology led COBOL vendors to cooperate on object-oriented design through the standardization process. Early implementations of the object-oriented features in the draft are now available and users are designing them into new applications. However, the lack of COBOL O-O class libraries, particularly for collection classes, is seen as hindering the use of object-oriented features in COBOL.
  3. The dynamic nature of data processing today has given rise to the need for variable length data items and variable length tables.  These will be addressed in the next revision.

Continued evolution of the international standard for COBOL is essential to provide the benefits of new technologies and new environments to COBOL users worldwide.

2.2     Achievements

2.3     Resources

WG4 meets as needed, usually once a year, and works by electronic correspondence between meetings. Experts from five "P" member countries participate in meetings: Germany, Japan, The Netherlands, the UK, and the USA. Two experts from "O" member New Zealand participated in the most-recent meeting.

Detailed technical development is delegated to INCITS J4. J4 has 8 members participating in detailed technical development - - 5 COBOL vendor organizations and 3 user organizations.

WG4 relies on WG20 as a resource in the areas of cultural adaptability and character handling. WG4 has made use of TR 10176 for specification of extended letters in programming language identifiers and of DTR 14652 for specification of uppercase to lowercase folding for extended letters in identifiers.

3.     Focus Next Work Period

WG4 will focus on the following:

3.1     Deliverables

If the NWI proposals are approved:  A PDTR for collection classes and a PDTR for XML support.

3.2     Strategies

WG4 relies on INCITS J4 to carry out the detailed technical work and to identify issues needing WG4 direction.

3.2.1     Risks

No risks are foreseen.

3.2.2     Opportunities

No opportunities have been identified beyond those noted in the Work Program Priorities.

3.3     Work Program Priorities

WG4 has the following priorities:

4.     Other Items

This section includes items that are part of the Converner's report, but not part of the Business Plan.

4.1     Action Requests at the Forthcoming Plenary

Approve SC22 N 3591, a NWI proposal for the creation of a type 2 Technical Report for Native COBOL Syntax for XML Support.

Approve SC22 N 3592, a NWI proposal for the creation of a type 2 Technical Report for Collection Classes.

4.2     Project Editors

Technical Corrigendum and defect processing Ann Bennett, U.S.

TR for XML Don Schricker, U.S. convenor

TR for Collection Classes Robert A. Karlin, U.S.

4.3     Schedule

SC22 N 3591, NWI for a Type 2 Technical Report for Native COBOL Syntax for XML Support

Concurrent registration and
first PDTR approval ballot end

December 2004

Second PDTR ballot start

June 2005

DTR ballot start

March 2006

Final text to ITTF

August 2006

SC22 N 3592, NWI for a Type 2 Technical Report for Collection Classes

Concurrent registration and
first PDTR approval ballot end

December 2004

Second PDTR ballot start

June 2005

DTR ballot start

March 2006

Final text to ITTF

August 2006

4.4     WG4 Meetings

4.4.1     Recent Meetings

10-13 September 2002, Nara, Japan

26-28 June 2003, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA    

4.4.2     Future Meetings

7-10 June 2004, The Hague, The Netherlands (tentative location)

 

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