Like it or not, tens of billions of lines of COBOL code are still in use today. Invented in 1959 by a group of computer professionals, COBOL empowered developers worldwide to program the mainframe and create applications still in existence today. Undoubtedly, COBOL owes much of its success to its standardization, which started with the American National Standard in 1968. Yet these days, standards alone wonâ€™t lead to success. With the invention of the PC and emergence of the network, we realized we also need new concepts and capabilities to program networks of computers. Standards such as TCP/IP and IEEE 802 played a major role in transforming the first computer network concept (Arpanet) to the Internet we know today. However, we also had to invent new computing models such as the client-server model, transactions, distributed objects, Web services, disconnected operation, and computing grids.
Furthermore, we had to invent various middleware to support these emerging models, hiding the underlying systemâ€™s complexity and presenting a more programmable view to software and application developers.
Today, with the advent of sensor networks and pinhead-size computers, weâ€™re moving much closer to realizing the vision of ubiquitous and pervasive computing. However, as we begin to create pervasive spaces, we must think ahead to consider how weâ€™ll program themâ€"just as we successfully programmed the mainframe and, later on, the Internet.