Getting Started with Otterkit COBOL

Warning: The Otterkit compiler is not yet production ready. We do not recommend using it in a production environment until the codebase is more mature and stable!


COBOL was created in 1959 by the CODASYL Committee (With Rear Admiral Grace Hopper as a technical consultant to the committee), its design follows Grace Hopper's belief that programs should be written in a language that is close to English. It prioritizes readability, reliability, and long-term maintenance. The language has been implemented throughout the decades on many platforms with many dialects, and the Otterkit COBOL compiler is a free and open source implementation of the ISO COBOL 2022 Standard on the .NET platform.

Installing the Otterkit compiler

Quick Install

Otterkit is available to install on the Nuget package manager (.NET 7 is required). To install, type into the command line:

dotnet tool install --global Otterkit --version 1.0.15-alpha

Build from Source

First, clone the git repo from https://github.com/otterkit/otterkit.git to get the source code. To access the libotterkit submodule inside, use the --recurse-submodules --remote-submodules flag on the clone command. To run, navigate into the src folder (for the compiler, not libotterkit) and then type dotnet run into the command line.

Otterkit COBOL Hello World

Here's an example of a basic Hello World program in COBOL.

       identification division.
         program-id. hello-world.
       procedure division.
         display 'Hello, World!'.
         stop run.

COBOL has an most English-like syntax making it easy to read and understand what it's trying to accomplish. In the next section we'll show how you can compile and run this Hello World example.

Compiling and running your code

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What next?

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