Year 2000 in a Nutshell
By Norman Shakespeare
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Final Release Date: September 1998
Pages: 327

In the past when code was tight and memory scarce, it was standard practice to use two-digit storage (for example 68 for the year 1968) for date code within software. Unfortunately, when the clock rolls over at midnight on the last day of December 1999, many computers won't recognize "00" as the correct date. This Year 2000 (Y2K) dilemma may potentially render many applications and hardware ineffective, unless the code is altered. This is a global problem that will affect everybody and must be seriously addressed since time is a crucial factor.The Year 2000 situation affects the mainframe environment most heavily, but it can affect PCs as well. Any company that is running older software and hardware must pay attention to revising date code in programs, and possibly even updating software, the operating system, and even hardware. Other areas of concern are the millions of access-control, point of sale, process-control, and other peripherals that utilize date-stamping and grouping functions embedded in firmware.Year 2000 in a Nutshell addresses three main aspects of the Year 2000 dilemma:

  • Awareness. Covers main issues such as: compliance, costs, event-horizons, embedded dates and systems, date-stamping, timing, staffing, and benefits of Y2K conversion.
  • Managerial. Covers considerations such as: triage (when the Y2K conversion process isn't started soon enough), legal issues, budgets, and standards. Also covers a project-plan: inventory, analysis, logistical estimates, planning and strategies, conversion, and testing and implementation.
  • Technical. Covers: dates, Julian day, windowing, single-digit century, file and database date conversion, and PC issues.
In addition, this book provides reference information on the date and time functions in those languages most likely to be affected by Year 2000 problems, including Cobol, PL/1, and Visual Basic. This section will be valuable for those programmers forced to dredge up old skills to analyze or revise code that may not be Year 2000 compliant. Because Cobol is particularly likely to be a problem, the book provides a complete Cobol quick reference. This is a valuable guide for those programmers who have been assigned the task of making the Cobol code Y2K compliant, but haven't had much experience with the Cobol language.The book also provides Visual Basic source code for a simple scanner designed to look for date and time functions that need to be altered for Y2K compliance. Although the code is written in Visual Basic, it can easily be converted into other languages.Whether you are a manager, a programmer, or even a user faced with the Year-2000 date compliance issue, this is an essential book that will help guide you through this crisis.
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