• Subject: Re: "Webulating" RPG
  • From: Jon Paris <paris@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 12 Feb 1998 11:29:39 -0500

Thanks for your comments David - even if I don't agree with them <bg>

Your organisation has made the decision to jump to Java.  You are obviously
comfortable that you have the skill set and resources to make that work for
you.  I'm delighted to hear that, but it means that you are not in my target
group.  My targets are two groups of people.  One is those who have already
invested in VARPG and who would benefit from being able to make their
application accessible through the web.  The second is those who have yet to do
anything beyond a green-screen application, and for whom Object Oriented
analysis and design will take more of an investment in time and effort than
they can afford to bite off.  Note that I deliberately did not mention Java in
that phrase - I can teach any RPG coder the basics of Java programming in less
than a day.  Will (s)he be able to design and build worthwhile applications
with that knowledge?  No way - not until they can dump the procedural part of
their brain and OOisize themselves!!  I should point out here that if anyone
thinks I'm insulting the RPG programmer here then please note that I'm
insulting myself since I'm very much in this category.

I happen to believe that for most people that transition is easier if you work
through the intermediate steps of learning to modularise your application, use
procedures and other ILE facilities, learn event-driven programming, etc. etc.
VARPG is an excellent tool for this since it allows you to maximise the
investment in existing code.  Telling those people that anything they develop
with the tool can be deployed to any of their users with a web browser is quite
a powerful statement.

Anyway enough of the soap-box bit and on to other comments.  On your comment
"If the RPGIV people are looking for something to keep them busy,"  - Trust me!
they don't need any more work.  They are busily working on the kinds of
features that you mention in particular things like thread-safety for the RPG
IV run time (essential to interact with Java) and a number of other enhancements
.  Whatever we do to VARPG will have no bearing on what is done with RPG IV.  I
agree with you on many of the items you have asked for, but many of them are
not within our control, they are strictly Rochester issues (all the stuff on
ILE, including descriptors, and the debugger).  I will however pass these
comments on to them.

Some comments on the requests that are "ours":
"Allow variable type like OPTIONS(*VARTYPE)" - of course this is of no use
without full descriptors, otherwise you might as well simply use a pointer
which you can do today.
"Allow a variable to be passed to the %edit built ins." - this one is on the
lista s a result of previous comments on this list.
"Allow constants to be protected via addressing." and
"Allow renaming of procedures within the binding language (Don't force us to
meaningless procedure names and their corresponding prototype) - Sorry I just
don't understand what you are asking for here, can you please explain further
" ...on the procedure interface allow call type "C" or "CL". - Am I correct in
thinking that you need this to handle the differences in handling of single
character return values when calling CL?  If not then I'm afraid I don't
understand the request.
"Provide a built in to retrieve a system pointer.  Provide a built in to
activate a program." - you should be able to do these simply by prototyping C's
MI functions.  Haven't checked them out but I don't see why it wouldn't work.
I'm not in favour of adding functions of this nature to the language when A)
there is already a way of doing it and B) the limited number of people who
would use it are more than capable of using that facility.  These kinds of
requests also appear to run a little bit contrary to the original thrust of
your note which is in the "Let them eat Java" vein, whereas you appear here to
be asking us to add function already available in C.

Jon Paris - AS/400 AD Market Support - paris@ca.ibm.com
Phone: (416) 448-4019   -   Fax: (416) 448-4414
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