• Subject: Re: RPG IV and CF-spec "keep it IBM"
  • From: "Scott Klement" <infosys@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: 30 Jul 1999 14:58:45 -0500

Hi Bob,

I regularly program in 3 languages, they are:
        C in a unix enviornment
       VB in a windows env
    RPGIV in an AS/400 env.

I use RPG the most, and thanks to subprocedures and the semi-freeform
stuff (if, when, eval, etc) I am able to pretty much do the same
things in all 3 of these languages.

However, I find that of the 3, RPG is the most awkward because SO
MANY of my expressions need to be broken up across many different
lines, and because I can't indent my source in RPG.

This makes the RPG programs (by far) to be the hardest to follow,
especially things written by newer programmers who don't realize
how sloppy your code gets when you use many nested ifs.

Every time I'm coding a free-form line in RPG IV, I wonder why I've
got a C in col 6, a whole bunch of useless empty space, and then
have to try to CRAM tons of info in the last HALF of the line.

What purpose does this serve?  How does this make code easier to
read?  How does that make anyone's life easier?

It seems to me that the thing thats going to scare away IT managers
(being one myself, afterall) is the addition of things like free-form
specs, the ILE stuff like multiple modules in one program, and
activation groups, and even subprocedures...

Once you've ALREADY GOT THESE THINGS, the free format "CF" spec just
makes them easier to use, and support.   It doesnt detract at all.

I personally think that the ability to bind multiple modules, and
use activation groups is really the problem with RPG IV on the
AS/400!   I think they're a great idea, and necessary to make RPG
a modern language, but they could've been done better.

And ONE of the ways that they can be improved is by having a free
format spec... a "CF" spec, making it easier to work with them.

Another way is to have a "make" utility like there is in UNIX that
can be used to tell someone how to build a program, making sure to
build all of the dependencies first, then the actual modules, and
finally bind them all together.  Sure, I can put comments in the
top of my code telling another programmer how to compile it...
but that won't work if the programmer doesn't know to check ....
or even worse, if a batch program is recompiling all the programs
that use a file because something has changed...   This is my big
problem with RPG IV, its too damned hard to rebuild programs that
use things like multiple modules, activation groups and service

Another problem, something that scares people away, is the terminology
I mean, MY GOD, on every PC system you build "object files" that are
"Linked" into a program.

But, no... not IBM, we've gotta build "modules" and "bind" them into
a program.   We'll just use totally different terms!  Sure the term
"object" would be sort-of confusing on an AS/400...  but don't you
want the rest of the computer world to feel comfortable using the

Anyway, I'm getting off-track here.   It seems to me that the CF
spec would (with the current state of the language) make things
easier to work with and maintain.   I don't think the free-format
spec is going to scare away IT managers.  (Unless, of course, you
discontinued the normal C spec, so it could no longer be used, in
that scenario, yeah, everyone would be afraid...)

(you DID ask for our thoughts!)

Scott Klement
Information Systems Manager
Klement's Sausge Co, Inc.

"Bob Cozzi" <cozzi@rpgiv.com> wrote:
> Geeze!
> How about we ask Rochester to add database I/O support to CL? Would
>  that
> make all the CF-spec "nuts" happy? I mean come on! Even John Carr (w
> originally suggested "CF") doesn't think it is a necessary feature.
> IBM Toronto has indicated that "most" people want the "CF-spec".
>  However, I
> wonder if it is "most" people, or just the majority of the people th
> answered their question. After all, if you DON'T want it or DON'T ca
>  about
> it, why bother telling Toronto? I mean, "most" people that answer th
> question are going to want the CF spec.
> Don't get me wrong, I'm prefer natural expression syntax than the
> limitations that traditional RPGII style code provides. But I just
>  don't see
> how supporting:
>  and
> RPG IV with CF-spec
> is going to encourage IT Managers to supporting moving to RPG IV.
> So I ask you, if you do NOT care if the CF-spec every sees the light
>  of day,
> or DON'T want the CF-spec, to voice your opinion now.
> I feel we need an architecture for RPG. We need many poorly designed
> features corrected, we need consistent designs and several new
>  features
> before we effectively turn RPG IV into CL II.
> Let me know what you think.
> Bob Cozzi
> http://www.RPGIV.com
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