Job Control Language

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job control language

[′jäb kən‚trōl ‚laŋ·gwij]
(computer science)

Job Control Language

(language, operating system)
(JCL) IBM's supremely rude script language, used to control the execution of programs in IBM OS/360's batch systems. JCL has a very fascist syntax, and some versions will, for example, barf if two spaces appear where it expects one.

Most programmers confronted with JCL simply copy a working file (or card deck), changing the file names. Someone who actually understands and generates unique JCL is regarded with the mixed respect one gives to someone who memorises the phone book. It is reported that hackers at IBM itself sometimes sing "Who's the breeder of the crud that mangles you and me? I-B-M, J-C-L, M-o-u-s-e" to the tune of the "Mickey Mouse Club" theme to express their opinion of the beast.

As with COBOL, JCL is often used as an archetype of ugliness even by those who haven't experienced it. However, no self-respecting mainframe MVS programmer would admit ignorance of JCL.

See also fear and loathing.
References in periodicals archive ?
The biggest remaining weakness in putting the 360 software into the hands of remote computing users is the quite amazing incoherence and complexity of IBM's standard job control language.
The printer 0/S, using its job control languages, allows remote setup, status queries and print job management.
Job control language for industry-standard interactive status feedback and control