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RPG Programming Language

The Report Program Generator (or RPG for short) is a high-level programming language serves a wide array of business applications and uses. It is an IBM proprietary programming module and a vast majority of its later versions can only be accessed on IBMi or AS400systems.

RPG actually has quite a long history. It was developed by the tech giant IBM in 1959 as the Report Program Generator- a tool that was developed to serve as an alternative for the punch card processing system on the IBM 1401. However, it was subsequently updated to the RPG II following the development of the IBM System/3 in the 1960s. It has since evolved into the high-level language equivalent of COBOL and PL/I.

To this day, RPG is still a very popular programming language on the IBMi operating system. RPG IV (also known as ILE RPG) is the most current version of RPG and it is a tool that provides a highly enabling programming environment for AS400 Programmers.

When RPG was first developed, the major stronghold that it had was known as the program cycle. Every RPG program executes programs within a hypothetical loop. This loop is able to apply the same program to every file on record. At that time, there will be a comparison between each record and every line in the program. Every line has the choice to either act on the record or not, based on whether that line has an indicator turned on or off. The entire idea of level breaks and matching records is one that is unique to the RPG II language.

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Ever since System/38 was introduced in 1979, the majority of RPG programmers stopped making use of the cycle and rather opted for the controlling program flow which has standard looping constructs. However, IBM has also continued to provide backward compatibility for the cycle.

AS400 Programmers

IBM iSeries programmers (or AS400 Programmers, if you will) are specially trained professionals who are trained to use the RPG programming language to manipulate and solve issues. RPG programmers are usually employed by AS400 Application Development Company to create codes that can be integrated into business operations in order to ensure a higher level of efficiency.

On any particular day, an RPG programmer can work on a wide array of tasks, ranging from creating new codes to ensuring the proper maintenance of existing program codes (although existing codes might be written in versions of the RPG code that look slightly different). If you’re looking as400 support and services, they can help you with any of the following:

  • Analysis, designing, development and maintenance of the IBM i software written in a wide array of languages, including RPG, RPG ILE, RPG-FREE, and SQL
  • Following various functional specifications in order to create technical documentation and develop pseudo codes
  • Either create new RPG programs or strengthen existing ones
  • In the case of any issues, he can also troubleshoot your business processes to diagnose where the issues are
  • He also debugs any existing software to locate and solve issues
  • Implement new codes and bug fixes into the existing software.

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RPG Programming has a long history…

As RPG has been the most reliable language for commercial applications, many updates and versions have helped the IBM i programmers to code easily.

1964: IBM System/360 introduces RPG (Report Program Generator) with basic file handling and calculation capabilities.

1970s: RPG II expands functionality with subroutines, data structures, and conditional branching.

1975: RPG III gains popularity with its interactive capabilities, improved data manipulation, and support for external procedures.

1980s: RPG/400 (later renamed RPG IV) is released for IBM AS/400 systems, featuring an integrated development environment (IDE), structured programming, and object-oriented concepts.

1995: RPG LE (Limited Edition) simplifies RPG IV for smaller systems and introduces free compiler availability.

2001: RPG ILE (Integrated Language Environment) merges RPG IV with other IBM languages like COBOL, allowing code sharing and improved performance.

2003: Free RPG compiler for Windows and Linux is introduced, boosting accessibility and open source development.

2008: RPG Free Edition expands on the free compiler with advanced features like SQL, XML, and web services.

2013: RPG is included in IBM i 7.1, offering new APIs, Unicode support, and enhanced debugging tools.

2015: Open RPG Project is established, fostering community-driven development and open-source libraries.

2018: RPG/CL is introduced, allowing embedded RPG code within CL commands for increased flexibility.

2020s: Continued focus on modernization with cloud integration tools, AI and machine learning APIs, and web application development capabilities.

Future: RPG continues to evolve with an emphasis on web technologies, integration with modern frameworks, and AI-powered tools.

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One of the great features of RPGIV is that it is ILE compliant. This means that the programmers have a vast number of functional, performance, maintenance, and productivity benefits apart from the ability to integrate multiple languages.

RPG Open Access Handler

A handler in any programming language is an event or function created for a certain task. RPG open access handler is an interface or method which handles the communication with the available resources and devices.  Rational open access is a way for RPG programmers to use the RPG I/O model to easily utilize the resources and devices that are not directly supported by RPG.

This Open Access provides RPG’s file I/O capabilities, allowing anyone to write innovative I/O handlers to access other devices.

Platforms on which RPG rolled out-

As we all know the initial versions of RPG were developed for IBM systems like 1401, /360, /3, /32, /34, /36, /38 AS/400 and System i systems. Later on it was enhanced and implemented for Sperry Univac BC/7, the Digital VAX, Siemens BS2000, Univac system 80, Burroughs B700, B1700 and many more. The latest platform developed for RPG compiler is Windows .Net through the WINRPG compiler.

Conclusion

RPG has a long history, initially developed as a report program generator today this language is counted in one of the finest high level languages like COBOL and PL/I. Having so many versions it has created confusions sometimes but has evolved quite rapidly as compared to any other language. Many organizations which are based on IBM i rely on the latest versions of RPG to enhance and develop new solutions every now and then.

If you are looking for skilled, reliable AS400/RPGILE programmers, we are here for you.

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