Welcome to myCobol.net Saturday, 29 April 2017, 09:33 @ CEST
Learning to write Cobol Text is considered easy. One may feel dumb when forced to write the four divisions and some -- always present -- default sections. However, it is fast recognized that starting with a template, a sort-of empty program, would overcome this. At least we are very used to this technique when working with a text processor like a office suite.
So we learn. And that is why CoCoS distinguishes between newbee's, junior, medior, senior Cobol programmers and the professional use of Cobol. Because we all apply different tricks and expose different habits depending on our knowledge, our track record, our colleagues, etc. Not to forget the standards imposed by the employer or contractor.
CoCoS strongly advises newbee's to start in the traditional way:
The reason behind this, is not that you need punishment, but merely that the Cobol world is a traditional one and sometimes you will need help. Posting your Cobol Text in forums or including it in emails, is easily recognized. Nothing more than that. You also will avoid nasty comments on details of coding and will get to the point answers. Promise.
CoCoS suggests the following rules on formats:
CoCoS supports junior's with :
The reason behind this is obvious. These large collection of reserved words will hunt you with compiler errors. Make these words easy recognizable is the adagio here.
For medior's or senior's, developing their own style [ahem], there's just the rule on formats; see above.
Resuming, two kind of formats are distinguished:
Than, to make things clear, three case usages are distinguished:
CoCoS suggest the professional Cobol programmer to adept a level or rule that results in beautiful text and stick 100% to it. No exceptions.
CoCoS will supply a few utilities to convert from and to: from uppercase to lowercase and vice versa, from traditional format to modern format and vice versa. Your decision on what to use will depend on your esthetics. By sticking to it for 100%, ever, than maturity is on its way.
The Capability Maturity Model is known to specify levels of growth of maturity of capabilities (we discuss here Cobol programming). Maturity starts  with experiments and learning, goes thru recognition of problem patterns into  a repeatable state, which will demand for standards to reach  a defined state. Measuring the results in quantity and quality units allows for  a managed state. The model (CMM) also specifies level  when you start to optimize within your programming discipline, now called a software development process. The model causes that from level  on the results of your efforts will be predictable.