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COBOL vs Python: What are the differences?

What is COBOL? Imperative, procedural and, since 2002, object-oriented programming language. COBOL was one of the first programming languages to be standardised: the first COBOL standard was issued by ANSI in 1968. COBOL is primarily used in business, finance, and administrative systems for companies and governments.

What is Python? A clear and powerful object-oriented programming language, comparable to Perl, Ruby, Scheme, or Java. Python is a general purpose programming language created by Guido Van Rossum. Python is most praised for its elegant syntax and readable code, if you are just beginning your programming career python suits you best.

COBOL and Python can be categorized as "Languages" tools.

Python is an open source tool with 25.3K GitHub stars and 10.5K GitHub forks. Here's a link to Python's open source repository on GitHub.

Advice on COBOL and Python
Needs advice
on
Python
JavaScript
and
C++

Hello, I am interested in learning how to program. I am a beginner, and many articles saying I should go with Python if I am new to programming. I considered Lua a long time ago, but for my career, I believe major programming languages should be better for me. I'm considering Python at this moment, but if you have other tools I should use, let me know.

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Replies (1)
Recommends
Java
C#
C++
C

The language you choose is also dependant on the type of career / area of programming you wish to focus on: Web Based and mobile applicaitons I would lean towards Java, PC Applications I tend to like C#, Embedded industry C, C++

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Brayden W
Needs advice
on
Rust
Python
and
Go

Hey, 👋

My name is Brayden. I’m currently a Frontend React Developer, striving to move into Fullstack so I can expand my knowledge.

For my main backend language, I am deciding between Python, Rust, and Go. I’ve tried each of them out for about an hour and currently, I like Python and Rust the most. However, I’m not sure if I’m missing out on something!

If anyone has advice on these technologies, I’d love to hear it!

Thanks.

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Replies (4)
Recommends
Python
Go

Rust is still in low demand. It's a great language but you'll have a hard time finding jobs. Go is the mix of both Rust and Python. Great language with modern features, fast, scalable, fun to write, and at the same time it has high demand (not as much as python).

Python on the other hand is a language that you can't go wrong with. Look around you and see what your job market prefers. If there isn't much difference to you personally, pick the one with more demand.

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Recommends
Python
Node.js
Go

All of these are solid options, however considering your expertise currently, I would probably suggest Node.JS considering your past experience with JS. However Python offers a similar development environment to JS in my opinion, and Go is a good sort of intermediate between Rust and Node.JS and Python. It's fast, but not as fast as Rust, and offers a development experience that combines C-styled languages (like Rust), and Python-y languages... So: Rust for the fastest, Node for familiarity, Python for ease of development, and Go for a good middle ground. I have used all in personal projects... If you use Go, I suggest a easy to use web server framework like Fiber.

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Akihito KIRISAKI
Recommends
Rust
Python

Rust is a challenging choice, but worth to be chosen. It has strong memory-safety and type-safety, this gives you no bother about those errors. However, static typing languages often slow our developing speed down in early stage. In that case, it's effective to write prototype in an easy language like Python, and rewrite it in a hard language. It's important not to be afraid to throw away first code you write.

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Donald Tran
Software Engineer at T-Mobile · | 3 upvotes · 20.2K views
Recommends
Rust

The other answers are excellent, but I want to be a bit of a contrarian and say you should learn Rust. While the number of jobs for it are (relatively) low(er), it is certainly expanding and you'd be surprised at which companies do use Rust (Discord, for example, is starting to move away from Golang to Rust!).

But the main reason is that learning Rust itself will teach you a lot about systems design (/backend) because of its borrow checker. You can try out a lot of ideas and make a lot mistakes and the borrow checker will always be there guide you to a better solution (thereby teaching you in the process).

Also, I wouldn't underestimated how important managing memory (and memory safety) is. While Golang is great in some ways, it doesn't protect you from pushing memory leaks into production. And eventually you'll come upon a scenario where you'll have to make your Python code run faster and the optimizations you'd have to do won't look pretty (or be very Pythontic).

And Rust is freakin fast! If you have Rust, you wouldn't need any other language for the backend (or any other systems level code). Check this blog post: https://blog.discord.com/why-discord-is-switching-from-go-to-rust-a190bbca2b1f?gi=dd8bc5d669d. Discord found that even after spending months optimizing Golang code it still wasn't fast enough. But unoptimized, first-draft Rust code was (is) faster by an order of magnitude!

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Piusha Kalyana
Needs advice
on
Python
PHP
and
Go

Hi

I want to build a tool to check asset availability (video, images, etc.) from third-party vendors. These vendors have APIs. However, this process should run daily basis and update the database with the status. This is a kind of separate process. I need to know what will be the good approach and technology for this?

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Replies (5)
Hannes Holst
at 365 Consulting Services Ltd. · | 7 upvotes · 29K views
Recommends
Python

hi - I think this depends on how you want to provide the information to the user. If you want to build a Wordpress-plugin: PHP If you want to build your own website: Python+Django / PHP / JavaScript+Node.js As Desktop application?

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anas mattar
Technical Lead at DPO International · | 3 upvotes · 19.3K views
Recommends
PHP

for what technologies you should use, this is depend on what technology do you prefer? your should think best structuing for your code because each API vendor has different to a nother one so it's better no merege code vendores together. your code must be using SOLID principle pattern and some design pattern such as Factory Pattern

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Recommends
Go

The major advantage of Go is that you can run queries in parallel. Fire off a Go thread for each vendor and each thread can check the availability of assets from a specific vendor and update the database. Go supports hundreds of threads with ease.

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anas mattar
Technical Lead at DPO International · | 1 upvotes · 16.7K views
Recommends
PHP
Go
C#

your decision depend on what language do you know. if you know php you can use laravel framework

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Oluwafemi Lawrence
Recommends
Go

Hi, I would recommend Go because of strongly-typed nature which makes a developer more productive as it is less error prone compared to the other dynamic-typed language. Go also has cron-job library(powered by goroutines) that can help with your automated tasks.

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Decisions about COBOL and Python

Python has become the most popular language for machine learning right now since almost all machine learning tools provide service for this language, and it is really to use since it has many build-in objects like Hashtable. In C, you need to implement everything by yourself.

C++ is one of the most popular programming languages in graphics. It has many fancy libraries like eigen to help us process matrix. I have many previous projects about graphics based on C++ and this time, we also need to deal with graphics since we need to analyze movements of the human body. C++ has much more advantages than Java. C++ uses only compiler, whereas Java uses compiler and interpreter in both. C++ supports both operator overloading and method overloading whereas Java only supports method overloading. C++ supports manual object management with the help of new and delete keywords whereas Java has built-in automatic garbage collection.

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Kirill Mikhailov

Go is a way faster than both Python and PHP, which is pretty understandable, but we were amazed at how good we adapted to use it. Go was a blessing for a team , since strict typing is making it very easy to develop and control everything inside team, so the quality was really good. We made huge leap forward in dev speed because of it.

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Chose
Python
over
Scala

I am working in the domain of big data and machine learning. I am helping companies with bringing their machine learning models to the production. In many projects there is a tendency to port Python, PySpark code to Scala and Scala Spark.

This yields to longer time to market and a lot of mistakes due to necessity to understand and re-write the code. Also many libraries/apis that data scientists/machine learning practitioners use are not available in jvm ecosystem.

Simply, refactoring (if necessary) and organising the code of the data scientists by following best practices of software development is less error prone and faster comparing to re-write in Scala.

Pipeline orchestration tools such as Luigi/Airflow is python native and fits well to this picture.

I have heard some arguments against Python such as, it is slow, or it is hard to maintain due to its dynamically typed language. However cost/benefit of time consumed porting python code to java/scala alone would be enough as a counter-argument. ML pipelines rarerly contains a lot of code (if that is not the case, such as complex domain and significant amount of code, then scala would be a better fit).

In terms of performance, I did not see any issues with Python. It is not the fastest runtime around but ML applications are rarely time-critical (majority of them is batch based).

I still prefer Scala for developing APIs and for applications where the domain contains complex logic.

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Pros of COBOL
Pros of Python
  • 1
    Business Oriented Language
  • 1.1K
    Great libraries
  • 926
    Readable code
  • 816
    Beautiful code
  • 766
    Rapid development
  • 670
    Large community
  • 416
    Open source
  • 378
    Elegant
  • 267
    Great community
  • 260
    Object oriented
  • 208
    Dynamic typing
  • 69
    Great standard library
  • 51
    Very fast
  • 47
    Functional programming
  • 34
    Scientific computing
  • 32
    Easy to learn
  • 29
    Great documentation
  • 25
    Matlab alternative
  • 22
    Productivity
  • 21
    Easy to read
  • 19
    Simple is better than complex
  • 17
    Imperative
  • 17
    It's the way I think
  • 15
    Very programmer and non-programmer friendly
  • 14
    Free
  • 14
    Powerful
  • 13
    Fast and simple
  • 13
    Powerfull language
  • 12
    Scripting
  • 9
    Machine learning support
  • 9
    Explicit is better than implicit
  • 8
    Ease of development
  • 8
    Unlimited power
  • 7
    Import antigravity
  • 7
    Clear and easy and powerfull
  • 6
    Print "life is short, use python"
  • 6
    It's lean and fun to code
  • 5
    Python has great libraries for data processing
  • 5
    High Documented language
  • 5
    Great for tooling
  • 5
    Flat is better than nested
  • 5
    Although practicality beats purity
  • 5
    I love snakes
  • 5
    Fast coding and good for competitions
  • 5
    There should be one-- and preferably only one --obvious
  • 4
    Readability counts
  • 3
    Socially engaged community
  • 3
    Great for analytics
  • 3
    Plotting
  • 3
    Lists, tuples, dictionaries
  • 3
    Rapid Prototyping
  • 3
    Complex is better than complicated
  • 3
    Multiple Inheritence
  • 3
    Beautiful is better than ugly
  • 3
    CG industry needs
  • 2
    Easy to learn and use
  • 2
    List comprehensions
  • 2
    Special cases aren't special enough to break the rules
  • 2
    Now is better than never
  • 2
    If the implementation is hard to explain, it's a bad id
  • 2
    If the implementation is easy to explain, it may be a g
  • 2
    No cruft
  • 2
    Generators
  • 2
    Simple and easy to learn
  • 2
    Import this
  • 1
    Easy to setup and run smooth
  • 1
    Pip install everything
  • 1
    Because of Netflix
  • 1
    A-to-Z
  • 1
    Only one way to do it
  • 1
    Powerful language for AI
  • 1
    Many types of collections
  • 1
    Flexible and easy
  • 1
    Better outcome
  • 1
    Batteries included
  • 1
    Should START with this but not STICK with This
  • 1
    Web scraping
  • 1
    It is Very easy , simple and will you be love programmi
  • 0
    Pro
  • 0
    Powerful

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Cons of COBOL
Cons of Python
  • 2
    Extremely long code for simple functions
  • 49
    Still divided between python 2 and python 3
  • 26
    Performance impact
  • 26
    Poor syntax for anonymous functions
  • 19
    GIL
  • 19
    Package management is a mess
  • 13
    Too imperative-oriented
  • 12
    Hard to understand
  • 11
    Dynamic typing
  • 8
    Not everything is expression
  • 8
    Very slow
  • 7
    Explicit self parameter in methods
  • 7
    Indentations matter a lot
  • 6
    Requires C functions for dynamic modules
  • 6
    Poor DSL capabilities
  • 6
    No anonymous functions
  • 5
    The "lisp style" whitespaces
  • 5
    Hard to obfuscate
  • 4
    The benevolent-dictator-for-life quit
  • 4
    Lack of Syntax Sugar leads to "the pyramid of doom"
  • 4
    Threading
  • 4
    Fake object-oriented programming
  • 4
    Incredibly slow
  • 3
    Not suitable for autocomplete
  • 3
    Circular import
  • 3
    Official documentation is unclear.
  • 1
    Training wheels (forced indentation)
  • 1
    Meta classes

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What companies use COBOL?
What companies use Python?
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What are some alternatives to COBOL and Python?
Java
Java is a programming language and computing platform first released by Sun Microsystems in 1995. There are lots of applications and websites that will not work unless you have Java installed, and more are created every day. Java is fast, secure, and reliable. From laptops to datacenters, game consoles to scientific supercomputers, cell phones to the Internet, Java is everywhere!
C
Cobalt
Sign up for free in just a few minutes and ask our top researchers to evaluate the security of your web or mobile app. Decide to run either a bug bounty program or an agile crowdsourced security audit. Choose from our Core of vetted researchers or the whole Crowd.
JavaScript
JavaScript is most known as the scripting language for Web pages, but used in many non-browser environments as well such as node.js or Apache CouchDB. It is a prototype-based, multi-paradigm scripting language that is dynamic,and supports object-oriented, imperative, and functional programming styles.
PHP
Fast, flexible and pragmatic, PHP powers everything from your blog to the most popular websites in the world.
See all alternatives