The newest flavor of COBOL, generically called *20x* but released by IBM under the
name of COBOL/370 (previous version was COBOL II, which followed COBOL 85 - explain that
naming convention), includes a collection of built-in, or intrinsic, functions. This page
will discuss two categories of these functions:

- Date Functions
- Numeric Functions

Probably the most useful intrinsic function is **CURRENT-DATE** which is a
replacement for ACCEPT DATE and ACCEPT TIME. CURRENT-DATE is Y2K-compliant, having a
4-digit year. This function returns a 20-character alphanumeric field which is laid out
as follows:

01 WS-CURRENT-DATE-FIELDS. 05 WS-CURRENT-DATE. 10 WS-CURRENT-YEAR PIC 9(4). 10 WS-CURRENT-MONTH PIC 9(2). 10 WS-CURRENT-DAY PIC 9(2). 05 WS-CURRENT-TIME. 10 WS-CURRENT-HOUR PIC 9(2). 10 WS-CURRENT-MINUTE PIC 9(2). 10 WS-CURRENT-SECOND PIC 9(2). 10 WS-CURRENT-MS PIC 9(2). 05 WS-DIFF-FROM-GMT PIC S9(4).

So not only can you get the time down to the millisecond, but you can get the difference between your time and Greenwich Mean Time.

The function is used in a MOVE:

MOVE FUNCTION CURRENT-DATE TO WS-CURRENT-DATE-FIELDS

But normally reference modification is used to only grab the part you want:

* Get the current date in yyyymmdd format MOVE FUNCTION CURRENT-DATE (1:8) TO WS-TODAY * Get the current time in hhmmss format MOVE FUNCTION CURRENT-DATE (9:6) TO WS-TIME

The other intrinsic date functions deal with converting between either Gregorian dates or Julian dates and an internal Integer format. This Integer format is simply the number of days since some predetermined, fixed date like 1/1/0001. These four conversion functions are:

* Convert from Gregorian to Integer formats COMPUTE WS-INTEGER-DATE = FUNCTION INTEGER-OF-DATE (WS-DATE) * Convert from Integer to Gregorian formats COMPUTE WS-DATE = FUNCTION DATE-OF-INTEGER (WS-INTEGER-DATE) * Convert from Julian to Integer formats COMPUTE WS-INTEGER-DATE = FUNCTION INTEGER-OF-DAY (WS-JULIAN-DATE) * Convert from Integer to Julian formats COMPUTE WS-JULIAN-DATE = FUNCTION DAY-OF-INTEGER (WS-INTEGER-DATE)

All Gregorian and Julian dates are expected to have 4-digit years.

You might be asking just what in the heck would you want with this integer date. Well, with it calendar math is a breeze. You need to know what date is 150 days from today (and this kind of stuff happens more often than you'd think)? Convert today to an integer date, add 150 to it and convert it back. No more checking which months you're going through to see if it's a 30 day or 31 day month. No more leap year calculations. It's pretty automatic:

01 WS-TODAY PIC 9(8). 01 WS-FUTURE-DATE PIC 9(8). .... MOVE FUNCTION CURRENT-DATE (1:8) TO WS-TODAY. COMPUTE WS-FUTURE-DATE = FUNCTION DATE-OF-INTEGER (FUNCTION INTEGER-OF-DATE (WS-TODAY) + 150)

COMPUTE is OK because we're only using integers here.

How many days between two dates?

COMPUTE WS-DAYS = FUNCTION INTEGER-OF-DATE (WS-DATE-1) - FUNCTION INTEGER-OF-DATE (WS-DATE-2)

Converting between Gregorian and Julian formats used to be a pain also. Now:

COMPUTE WS-DATE = FUNCTION DATE-OF-INTEGER (FUNCTION INTEGER-OF-DAY (WS-JULIAN))

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It's doubtful that there will be much use for most of the numeric functions available. Some of the more useful ones:

* Calculate the square root of a number COMPUTE WS-RESULT = FUNCTION SQRT (WS-NUMBER) * Get the remainder from dividing two integers COMPUTE WS-RESULT = FUNCTION MOD (WS-INTEGER-1, WS-INTEGER-2) * Get the remainder from dividing two non-integers COMPUTE WS-RESULT = FUNCTION REM (WS-NUMBER-1, WS-NUMBER-2)

There are also geometric functions (SIN, COS, TAN), log functions (LOG, LOG10), FACTORIAL and even RANDOM for generating random numbers.

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