• Subject: Re: Java replacing RPG (was LANSA)
  • From: "Roger Pence" <rp@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 19 Mar 1999 14:31:53 -0500

 RPG like COBOL will be around for a
>very long time yet (certainly long enough for most of us to retire).  This
>not to say that Java is not important - it is - but until it can do complex
>functions like printing <bg> it will have a problem replcing all your RPG

Jon, Jon, Jon,

Lordy I love to take issue with you.

The point isn't one of "replacement" and you know it! We all know that RPG
and Cobol will be with us forever (not the arbitrary 16 years, as accurately
or not, attributed to George Farr). The issue though, is one of IBM
investment. Yes, host RPG got a handful of changes in V4R4, but that handful
of changes will dwindle to nothing but maintenance PTFs over the next three
or four years. Java is clearly IBM's solid focus (and every other computer
company's but one) and unlike a hundred other AS/400 hall of fame nominees
(Smalltalk/400, multi-personality AS/400s, AD cycle, SAA, the polymorphic
GUI), Java has broad-based industry support and is destined to be
everywhere, whether we like it or not.

The important issue for all AS/400 programmers is to understand that new
systems (new successful systems) will NOT be built with RPG in the 21st
century. We gotta bite the bullet and accept that we gotta learn new things.
There won't be a need for advanced subfile techniques or fetch overflow in
2010! Get over it.

The biggest problem, though, isn't Java versus RPG. Despite its OO curve,
Java is just a lanuage and can be learned by any bright programmer (as
George and Phil teach so well in their Java for RPG programmers book).  No,
the problem isn't Java and its synti (that's plural for syntax), the problem
is learning to replace our old monolithic, one-piece, running on the
back-end programming model with one where we'll need to create and deploy
n-tiered, modular applications hosted on a variety of servers (using a
variety of solutions including active Web pages, Java, Javascript, Notes and
Domino, MS products, on and on) serving a variey of front ends. We aren't in
Kansas anymore.

We (AS/400 self-taught knuckleheads--and I use the term respectfully and
inclusively) need to add substantially to our formal programming, deployment
and networking skills. The days of getting by with the big three legacy
AS/400 languages  (RPG and/or Cobol, CL and DDS) are gone. There are already
alternatives to printing today, like Domino! Yes, Jon, even green bar has
had its day and if you have any stock in greenbar binder companies, you
better sell!

I'm not being judgemental and saying RPG is bad and I'm glad it's gone. This
isn't an issue to get religious or evangelical about, you need to get
realistic about it. You, of all people, enlightened, bright and armed with
inside info (albeit hindered slightly by your advanced middle age), should
help put a rational story out. Not one that poohs the whole issue with a
wink and nod and conveys a false sense of security.


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