# Solved: convert hexadecimal to numeric

In the fascinating world of programming, there are often challenges that require intricate solutions. One such challenge that developers using Cobol may come across is the necessity to convert hexadecimal values to numeric. While this may seem daunting at first, with a thorough understanding of the Cobol language, the task becomes relatively easy to handle.

Let’s dive into the solution, but before doing so, we must understand the basics. A hexadecimal number, also known as base 16, includes digits from 0 to 9, and letters A through F, representing values 10 to 15. A numeric value, however, operates exclusively with numbers.

## Implementing the Solution

To convert a hexadecimal value to a numeric, we’ll need to invoke certain Cobol routines. These routines assist in processing hexadecimal values, interpreting them as packed decimal values and then converting to numeric.

IDENTIFICATION DIVISION.
PROGRAM-ID. HEX2NUM.
DATA DIVISION.
WORKING-STORAGE SECTION.
01 HEX-VALUE PIC X(10) VALUE ‘2A’.
01 NUM-VALUE PIC 9(10).
PROCEDURE DIVISION.
CONVERT-TO-NUM.
CALL ‘CBL_HEX_TO_NUM’ USING HEX-VALUE NUM-VALUE
DISPLAY NUM-VALUE
STOP RUN.

This basic code demonstrates the conversion process. The ‘CBL_HEX_TO_NUM’ routine is what converts the hexadecimal value to a numeric one.

## Understanding the Code

Our hexadecimal value ‘2A’, declared in the Working-Storage Section, will be processed in the CBL_HEX_TO_NUM routine.

In the Procedure Division, we take HEX-VALUE and then call the routine ‘CBL_HEX_TO_NUM’. This routine handles the conversion, producing a Numeric value stored in NUM-VALUE.

Finally, we display the numeric value. In this case, the output would be ’42’, the equivalent decimal value of hexadecimal ‘2A’.

## Libraries and Functions

The library function ‘CBL_HEX_TO_NUM’ is specifically designed for this process, and is a part of Cobol runtime library.

This function interprets the hexadecimal string as a packed decimal value and then converts it to a numeric value. It’s important to understand that different systems may have unique libraries, but the concept generally remains the same.

While programming has its challenges, it certainly provides an avenue for problem solving and creativity. Cobol, like most other high-level languages, has in-built functions that allow for complex operations. It responsive to the fluid nature of development, adding efficiency to the thought process behind the code. This efficiency isn’t just apparent in the conversion of hexadecimal to numeric values, but is an intrinsic part of the programming experience.

To understand these conversions is to gain a broader insight into the numerical representation in programming languages and techniques used in data manipulation. This is merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Cobol’s capabilities.

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