• Subject: Re: RPG IV and CF-spec "keep it IBM"
  • From: Carol Bastien <cabastien@xxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 31 Jul 1999 11:09:09 -0700
  • Organization: @Home Network


I found your dissertation quite interesting and I agree with a lot of what you
say.  I am wondering though, just how long you've been in the programming
arena.   You said that IBM changed the terminology.  That is simply not true.
IBM invented most of the terminology.

I'm finding it more and more difficult to be patient with recent computer
graduates who think they invented the world.  Instead of getting a solid
background in the history of computing and programmer languages to develope a
solid foundation with a real prespective, they jump into the latest and greatest
(or just the hottest) new language while in school and learn 'Only' that.  They
then rename ideas and concepts that have been around for eons, unbeknownst to
them, and believe they invented them.  Just because you didn't know it was 
doesn't mean it didn't exist!

I have learned to say column instead of field, row instead of record and table
instead of file.  It doesn't make any difference to me because I know they are
the same thing.  The reason I use the 'new' names is so our younger coworkers
will understand . . . .  I'm all for your enthusiasm and as I said, I do agree
with most of what you said, but have a care and a little more respect for
history.  Us "Legacy Programmers" are watching.

Scott Klement wrote:

> 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
> programs.
> 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
> AS/400?
> 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:
> >
> > RPG IV
> >  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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