• Subject: Re: Coding standards ( Was: An odd thing)
  • From: Buck Calabro <mcalabro@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 16 Dec 1997 09:18:47 -0500

>does fixed format code equate to unreadable code?.
>
>RPG/free was introduced as a shareware product several years ago, and
>nobody (hardly) used it.  Do you really think anyone would change their
>minds if IBM came out with their own flavor?

Actually, I do think that lots of people would change their minds.  There
are lots of "True Blue" AS/400 shops out there...

>I personally like being able to scan source for a field name in pos 43
>(or 50 for RPGIV) to see where it's changed.  
>
>It really depends on what you're used to.  

It *does* depend a lot on what one is used to, but I'd like to caution you
that scanning in 43 will not get you all the places in your code where
a field is changed.  Don't forget the "I" specs, col 53 (Data structures?
Field renames?) or the "O" specs, col 32 (Blank after?) or, for that matter,
any input operation where your target field is in the record format.  Don't
forget the odd instance of LOKUP with an array and an index, with the
index specified in factor 2 somewhere...

The point to this is that scanning source code is an incomplete way to
find field references in either fixed or free format.  I rarely work without
the compiler cross referenceI wouldn't care one whit
which format I programmed in if I could get an AS/400 editor that was 
capable of regular expressions and grep.  Why AS/400 based?  Because
I work on 50+ customer machines connected by 9600bps phone lines, 
and I can't really afford the luxury of downloading code to my PC, edit 
there and upload back.  Also, what would I do when I'm on-site, and don't 
have my PC with me?

I don't think that the format of the language has as much to do with readability
as shop standards do.  Even if you have very old standards, at least each
program will *look* kind of the same.  Even if you use indicators liberally,
*every* program uses the same indicators for the same thing, and it's not such
a struggle to work past the structure of the program to determine it's intent.
I think that was one of the points brought up by the "free format" poster: one
has more options in setting up standards for free form code than for fixed.

my 2 cents worth...

Buck Calabro
Commsoft

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