On Fri, Dec 24, 2021 at 7:11 AM Patrik Schindler <poc@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

I'm open to other suggestions within the artificial restriction to V4R5. :-)

Well, I am not too familiar with old IBM midrange stuff. I started
paying attention to versions at around V5R2.

But it was while we were at V5R2 that I stumbled upon iSeriesPython
2.3.3. This was definitely quite a hobbyist version of Python! While
it was mostly ported from the official Python 2.3.3 from python.org,
the customizations that had to be made to run on AS/400 were very
visible. The biggest and most fundamental was that the internal
representation of strings was EBCDIC. This caused all kinds of
encoding problems with third-party modules. I spent a long time
figuring out how to port the Excel writing package called xlwt to
iSeriesPython 2.3.3.

Further, not all of the standard library (supposedly included with
every implementation of Python) was ported, so software which claimed
to "run anywhere that Python 2.3 runs" would not necessarily run on
iSeriesPython.

If your hobbyist rules allow the use of iSeriesPython 2.3.3, I can
point you to a version compiled for V4R5. (You have to use the Wayback
Machine!)

Once you have a "mostly working" Python on your machine, that opens up
further possibilities for third-party packages or potentially easier
custom coding.

For making business charts, you could conceivably leverage Excel. The
xlwt package I mentioned earlier doesn't expose the charting
capabilities, as far as I'm aware, so it would be another hobbyist's
challenge to backport XlsxWriter (much better and more modern Excel
file writer) to Python 2.3 (from Python 2.7).

I know, it's all pretty circuitous, but given your constraints, there
might not be any short, straight paths.

John Y.

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