• Subject: Re: MIDRANGE-L Digest V2 #1671
  • From: Jon.Paris@xxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 19 Nov 1999 11:09:42 -0500

 >> Along these lines, is it Urban Legend that early on all of IBM's programmers
wrote  the mid-range system programming in RPG and that is the reason it became
so tight and well behaved?

If IBM developers (other than the MAPICS folks among others) ever wrote in RPG
at all it is news to me.

The midrange heritage, and RPG along with it, is one of Tabs and Calcs
(Tabulators an Calculators as they were known where I worked). The RPG cycle has
a direct one-to-one relationship with the card cycle used by such equipment.
Hell even the level breaks are an exact match!

COBOL was used for commercial programming in big shops, smaller shops (if they
used anything) used Tabs. As computers came down in price, languages like RPG
came in to allow direct translation of the Tab plug boards to the new computers.
The language took hold in that segment of the market and most midrange platforms
(Wang, ICL, Data General, DEC, HP) implemented some flavor of the language at
one time or another. Before the PC revolution, the mini computers arrived. Some,
from IBM and others, supported RPG. Many more (Centurion, MAI-Basic4 and others)
tended to be based on assorted flavors of Basic. Of all of these systems, the
only real survivor is the AS/400.

I'd better stop now, I'm getting all misty-eyed. Oh for the days when you knew
your invoicing program had gone wrong because the printer and card-reader rhythm
changed from "chunck, chunck, wing, bang, clank" to "chuck, bang, chunck, click,
clunk, wallop".

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