I know this thread was probably dead by the time I got to read it, but I wanted to weigh in anyway. It is extremely thought-provoking, but maybe not in the way intended:
Most of the RPG developers who jumped onto VARPG when it came out have probably moved onto other ways to provide a rich user experience. I certainly have.
What with the seemingly limitless supply of free (and mostly opensource) utilities, applications, frameworks, languages, etc... it is almost impossible for the curious among us to NOT take a peek at them. How many of us haven't already watched the google wave demo to see if we can use it to leverage our existing RPG code base in ways we hadn't even thought about?
If I was in charge of the allocation of IBM development funds (thankfully I am not) I would not spend any of it on VARPG. I would spend it on enhancing RDi to provide a complete IDE and continue the great work being done on the SQL Query Engine.
Native RPG support for the web, or a RCP, or even XML generation is not really required. Why do I say that? Because where I work, we have an extremely clean, efficient and scalable framework for passing XML data between a JSP running within tomcat and a RPG program running on the i. We have tried-and tested (5 years development and counting) XML generation SRVPGMs that can build any XML either via subproc calls in your RPG or from a template written in XML - with SQL embedded within the XML template.
We don't need tools for getting on the web - we are already there. We don't need tools to generate XML - we already have them. We don't need tools to put our applications on the intranet - we already do that.
The problem is not with IBM, it is the simple fact that as a community we build our tools and keep them to ourselves. That is not because we are selfish but a simple reflection of the fact that the software is owned by the companies we work for and we don't have permission to opersource it. Well actually I do have clearance to opensource my XML generation and XML templating code as I built it on a community site and "donated" it to my employer. We agreed that any further enhancements done on work time can be included in the opensource version. So I will concede that I am also part of the problem.
It is sadly only a few good members of our commmunity who share so lavishly. Scott being the most generous with his time and effort.
I would like to contribute to the "Save IBM's Development Funds" community project - is there anybody out there who is willing to host my XML generation and XML templating tool, complete with user documentation and examples? I will also talk to my colleagues to see if there is any other non-sensitive Java/RPG code we could provide to the community, particularly in the web space.
If we all try this we may find we have a much richer base of community code that we realise. Lets give IBM a hand shall we. :-)
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