Lesson 3

Introduction to Numbers in COBOL

Introduction to Numbers in COBOL

Welcome back! In the previous lesson, you learned about defining and working with alphabetic variables in COBOL. Now, it's time to move on to another important topic: handling numbers. Understanding how to manage numeric data in COBOL is crucial, as many business applications require precise calculations and data manipulations.

What You'll Learn

In this lesson, you will learn how to define and use numeric variables in COBOL. Specifically, you will cover the following:

  1. Numeric Variables:

    • How to declare numeric variables.
    • How to assign values to numeric variables.
  2. Using the DISPLAY Statement:

    • How to print numeric values to the screen.

Let's take a look at an example to see these concepts in action:

cobol
1IDENTIFICATION DIVISION. 2PROGRAM-ID. NumericVariables. 3DATA DIVISION. 4WORKING-STORAGE SECTION. 501 Account-Number PIC 9(10). *> Number with 10 digits 601 Short-Account-Number PIC 9(5) VALUE 1234. *> Number with 5 digits with initial value 1234 7PROCEDURE DIVISION. 8 MOVE 1234567890 TO Account-Number. 9 DISPLAY "Account Number: " Account-Number. *> Will display 1234567890 10 11 DISPLAY "Short Account: " Short-Account-Number. *> Will display 01234 as the value is 1234 12 MOVE 12345 TO Short-Account-Number. 13 DISPLAY "Short Account: " Short-Account-Number. *> Will display 12345 14 MOVE 123456 TO Short-Account-Number. 15 DISPLAY "Short Account: " Short-Account-Number. *> Will display 23456 16 STOP RUN.
Understanding Numeric Variables

In COBOL, numeric variables are used to store and manipulate numerical data. They are defined using the PIC clause followed by a specification that indicates the type and size of the number.

For example:

cobol
101 Account-Number PIC 9(10). *> Number with 10 digits 201 Short-Account-Number PIC 9(5) VALUE 1234. *> Number with 5 digits with initial value 1234
  • 01 Account-Number PIC 9(10). declares a numeric variable named Account-Number that can store up to 10 digits.
  • 01 Short-Account-Number PIC 9(5) VALUE 1234. declares a numeric variable named Short-Account-Number that can store up to 5 digits and is initially set to 1234.

Notice how the PIC clause is used to define the variable type and size. In this context, 9 indicates a numeric digit placeholder. When initializing variables, as seen with Short-Account-Number, you can use the VALUE keyword.

Using the `MOVE` and `DISPLAY` Statements with Numeric Variables

Just like with alphanumeric variables, you can use the MOVE and DISPLAY statements to work with numeric variables.

For example:

cobol
1MOVE 1234567890 TO Account-Number. 2DISPLAY "Account Number: " Account-Number. 3DISPLAY "Short Account: " Short-Account-Number. 4MOVE 12345 TO Short-Account-Number. 5DISPLAY "Short Account: " Short-Account-Number. 6MOVE 123456 TO Short-Account-Number. 7DISPLAY "Short Account: " Short-Account-Number.
  • MOVE assigns values to the numeric variables.
  • DISPLAY shows the values of the numeric variables on the screen.

When the above code is executed, you'll see:

Plain text
1Account Number: 1234567890 2Short Account: 01234 3Short Account: 12345 4Short Account: 23456

Note that Short-Account-Number initially displays 01234 because it pads the initial value of 1234 with a zero. Later, when the value 123456 is moved to Short-Account-Number, only the last five digits 23456 are displayed.

Why It Matters

Understanding and effectively managing numeric data is vital for processing and manipulating numerical information in business applications. From financial transactions to inventory management, numeric calculations are a core function in COBOL programs. By mastering numeric variables, you'll be better equipped to:

  • Handle Data Accurately: Ensure precise storage and manipulation of numerical data.
  • Improve Program Functionality: Create more robust and reliable programs that can perform a wide range of numerical operations.

Excited to see how numbers work in COBOL? Let's dive into the coding practice and enhance your skills further!

Enjoy this lesson? Now it's time to practice with Cosmo!

Practice is how you turn knowledge into actual skills.