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Re: ISO and the Standards Golden Hammer (was Re: You

cobol coding standards
On Sat, 2004-05-01 at 05:34, Ken North wrote:
> > > Characters sets and coding (ASCII, OCR-A, OCR-B, MICR, bar codes)
> > > Audio and video compression (MPEG 1, 2, 4)
> > > Graphics: GKS, PHIGS, CGM, JBIG
> > > Messaging/mail: X.400
> > > Languages: C, C++, Ada, SQL, FORTRAN, COBOL, Pascal, Modula-2, POSIX, CLI
> > > Storage, networking, bus interfaces: SCSI, SCSI-2, FDDI, CSMA/CD, VMEbus,
> > > Multibus, HIPPI, RS-232/V.24 electrical
> > > Markup: SGML, RELAX NG, VRML
> > > Geocoding: ISO 19100 (19107, 19108, 19123, 19127)
> >
> > Most of these weren't ISO/ITU committees, but were either private
> > industry consortia, or other standards work that got a "finishing
> > polish."
> The origin of ISO standards is a mixed bag. Standards such as JPEG and MPEG were
> created by expert groups affiliated with ISO. JPEG, for example, was originally
> an ISO working group, then a joint group (with CCITT).
> Before there was a de jure standard for C, the de facto standard was Kernighan
> and Ritchie's book ("The C Programming Language"). You had to pay close
> attention to what compiler and features you were using as the language evolved
> past K&R.
> Newer standards have been fast-tracked from "local" standards organizations or
> industry consortia through the ISO process. Examples include
> SQLJ (ANSI->ISO) and VRML (Web3D->ISO).
> Perhaps a more interesting question is not how an ISO standard originated, but
> what long-term impact we've seen from them:
> 1. ASCII was a draft ISO standard about 40 years ago. IBM owned 70% of the
> computer market by the late 60s so EBCDIC was commonplace. The IBM user group
> (SHARE) even opposed the adoption of ASCII in the mid-60s. Today it's hard to
> find EBCDIC outside of the IBM mainframe world. On the other hand, ISO 646 / ISO
> 8859 web pages are pretty common -- clear evidence of the effect a standard can
> have for several decades.
> 2. Admiral Grace Hopper and a CODASYL committee published the first spec for
> COBOL in 1960 and it became an ANSI standard in 1968. There are two million
> COBOL programmers today, long after Y2K is no longer on our radar screen. One
> reason is because there are still 200 billion lines of COBOL code in production
> applications. Most of the transaction processing code that runs every day is
> COBOL ( processing 30 billion transactions per day).
> Has COBOL persisted because it's elegant, or because it's a standard?
or it's just embedded?
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