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The unification of various network systems around the world is the driving force behind the concept of "global client/server systems." To this extent, object-oriented paradigms might represent a promising direction towards achieving a common foundation among these systems. The Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA)1) promoted by the Object Management Group (OMG) is currently one of the most commonly accepted solutions. With this approach, programmers need not pay attention to the underlying network infrastructure, and can thus concentrate on their specific client/server implementation. As of today, CORBA supports only C, C++, and Smalltalk, but considering the tremendous number of COBOL programs used around the world, CORBA should be extended to support COBOL.
This article outlines the problems that exist when CORBA standards are applied to COBOL programs, and some solutions are suggested. The authors conclude that with some extensions to Interface Definition Language (IDL), it would be possible to apply Object-Oriented COBOL (OOCOBOL) to CORBA-style client/server systems. OOCOBOL is an extension of COBOL85, which includes object-orientation and is a subset of the next International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standard COBOL. If this binding can be achieved, OOCOBOL would then allow programmers to find their way into language-free distributed object-oriented environments, or in other words, global client/server systems.
1) Trademark of Object Management Group.