At 06:18 PM 9/15/97 -0400, you wrote:


>I think it is a good idea to look at and consider ILE very closely. It
>offers some very important features to AS/400 development and is really
>the current leading edge for 400 development.
>I did not mean to state that it should be used with OPM. What I meant
>about VA RPG is that I feel that RPG shops would be well served to develop
>graphic clients and that VA RPG is a good tool for that.

Running OPM & ILE together can be tricky, but there are ways to move gradually into better and better implementation. ILE gives us a lot more flexibility & control of processes, and we'll need to take the time to learn the rules. There is a redbook on implementing ILE, as well as the whitebook manuals ILE Concepts and ILE Example.

As far as VA RPG is concerned, I've never quite seen the justification for it, or ASNA's Visual RPG. It just seems they're neither fish nor fowl. You almost have to learn another language as a wrapper around the one you're already using, and you need to use both, not just the one. I've the same feeling about a code generator some of you may have seen--Genesis. It has it's own proprietary language that you're supposed to use, but you often need to write additional RPG code, as well. Now, just so you know, I come from the direction of knowing Visual Basic & C++ (a little for the latter) as well as the 400. Perhaps VA RPG can help someone who's had no (or little) PC experience. It still seems a bit of a dead end to me, though.


>The learning curve for OO _is_ severe. That is why ILE is a good idea. It
>is not really OO. Now, the ability to bind by reference and to declare
>private and public (exported or not exported) variables and functions
>(methods) is a step towards OO programming. However, there are key
>features to OO programming that are missing from this environment. Rather
>than get into that, I just want to point out that this (ILE) is a great
>step in a right direction.
>The modular approach is a big timesaver. One that most shops would
>practice anyway if the overhead from CALL/PARM wasn't so high. ILE
>overcomes the performance problem and give options for modularity. Service
>programs allow you to create as close to an "object" as you can get right
>now and allow you to seperate the development of underlying routines from
>the development of the high level application.
>OO thinking is a big change from procedural. That's why so much C++ code
>is crap. What you need to do is not just learn to get what you want done
>within the limits of the language/environment, but also to utilize the
>features. I think that ILE is a good step, a median step for AS/400 shops
>with RPG programmers who cannot make the leap to OO.

I've been looking at VA for Java lately, and it's very impressive. The design paradigm uses connections between the various elements, both graphical and not. Almost everything that you need for processing the front end gets built automatically. Most of what you need to code is the business logic only, once you've done that, your logic can be connected into the design, too.

In addition, the presentation is in OO terms, not files and source members or whatever. This reinforces the OO concepts of inheritance, etc., and may help in the admittedly difficult paradigm shift we need to make when moving to OO programming.

I think OO is a way of thinking, not a language. OO principles can guide the development process all the way from analysis to programming. It can be done in any language--it's just terribly hard to do it in RPGII or good old Dartmouth BASIC. It helps to have the programming language enforce the rules--are any of us disciplined enough, generally, to code everything that an OO environment requires?


Vernon Hamberg
Systems Software Programmer
Old Republic National Title Insurance Company
400 Second Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55401
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