String Operations in RPGLE and COBOL Unlocking the Secrets of Effective Text Manipulation

“Are you amazed by the power of IBM i and eager to explore its incredible string of operations?”

Then look no further because you have arrived at the perfect destination!

Welcome to the realm of RPGLE’s and COBOL’s extraordinary string operations!”   

String operations play a key role in programming languages, allowing developers to manipulate and process textual data efficiently. Here we will have a look at how string operations work in RPGLE and COBOL. The built-in features of both languages make it possible for developers to perform a wide range of text manipulation tasks efficiently.

String Operations in RPGLE

1. %SCAN and %SCANR

The %SCAN command finds the position of occurrence of the specified source alphabet/string, whereas the %SCANR command finds the position of occurrence from the last position to the first position.


The %CHECK finds the position of non-occurrence whereas in the %CHECKR command the position of non-occurrence from the last string is scanned from the last position to the first position.

3. %CAT

RPGLE uses the %CAT built-in function for concatenating strings. In this method, two or more strings are concatenated and returned.



In the %SUBST function, substrings are extracted from a source string based on specific starting positions and lengths.



In RPGLE, %XLATE, and %REPLACE built-in functions are used for character translation within strings. Based on the position of the characters in the source string and the translation string, it replaces them with corresponding characters from the translation string.

Illustration of %XLATE


Illustration of %REPLACE


String Operations in COBOL


It examines a string. In addition, it replaces an alphabet/string with another alphabet/string when it returns the count.

Illustration of INSPECT having TALLYING keyword.


Illustration of INSPECT having REPLACING keyword.


Illustration of INSPECT having CONVERTING keyword.



This statement is used to manipulate strings and concatenate them. Using concatenation, multiple strings can be joined together with or without separators.



An UNSTRING statement is used to split a source string into multiple target strings. Using it, you can extract and assign specific segments or elements from a source string to separate target fields.


Quiz Time: Test Your Knowledge!

Welcome to Quiz Time! It is your chance to put your knowledge to the test and see how much you get to know about string operations. Get ready to challenge yourself and have fun with these thought-provoking questions.

So, let us dive in and see how well you fare!

Let us get started!

Question 1: Reverse a string using string operations only in RPGLE.

(Example: If the string is ‘123-ABC-PQRS-XYZ’ then the output should be ‘ZYX-SRQP-CBA-321’)

Question 2: Reverse a string using string operations only in COBOL programming.

(Example: If the string is ‘123-ABC-PQRS XYZ’ then the output should be ‘ ZYX SRQP-CBA-321’)

Answers and Results:

Answer 1:


Answer 2: