C_Functions/Proto-Types in RPG-IV
I appreciate the adaptations of C to RPG-IV to increase productivity.
These extensions to RPG have helped me in the past.
Now, as RPG becomes more and more deprecated -- in part by the aging and dwindling base of programmers and by the exit of the system - i. EGL does not compile to RPG as it does to COBOL and JAVA. The AS/400 has always had C and C++ in the background supporting the compilers, operating system, etc. I am pleased that the Power Systems have adopted the RS/6000 version of C++ for programmer development.
I am worried that the adaptations have massively "dumbed down" the beauty and functionality of C while making the binding balky. These C-"Functions" are balky "Tack-Ons" and were not adopted by the RPG programming community at-large.
Regular RPG programmers would freak-out if they first saw C++ or the much, much better C# (you get my drift?). These languages can look opaque to the uninitiated. My C# in Microsoft's Visual Studio 2008 has Intellisense that WDSc 7.0 and RDi can only dream of. Plus Microsoft is on a "Mission from G-D" to make sure that anything a programmer can ever conceptualize is already solved with a handy link. No need to ever REALLY program again in the dog-work-detail that RPG and JAVA make us do.
I am also irritated by the indiscriminate use of the semi-colon. Who was in charge of Free -Form RPG? HELLO!
Ending an IF-Statement with a ; defeats the mission that the C-Designers envisaged. But, hey! I can get over it and did.
if(x == Y)
x += Y; [same as x = x + Y;]
One sin of RPG is that you can step on your own storage. An equivalent of that is the programmer inadvertently running off the end of his/her declared array -- with unpredictable results. My former associate, just retired, did that all the time over our ten-year-career together and I consider him an outstanding RPG-Programmer.
Over the years, RPG has acquired many .NET functions such as THIS.
But sadly, IBM tells me authoritatively that the narrow market just does not justify the investment required to keep evolving the RPG language. Also, the grey-headed programmer-pool was quite unreceptive to the newer tricks in RPG.
So that about wraps it up! I suggest that if you really want to leverage your productivity, get thee to a C# class at your college. C# is coming on strong. Learning it will involve a high level of ambiguity, unfamiliarity and discomfort. Slowly, slowly, you will habituate and become in awe of the power of this fully-typed .NET language.
Last edited by JohndeCoville; 10-07-2009 at 02:12 PM.
Seems to me you were probably not an RPG programmer out of the gate. The abilities or better stated "the initiative" of the tried and true, and now gray-blue RPG programmer has always been unfortunately unique to the individual.
Broad strokes may apply to most, with regards to their willingness to branch out just within RPG, let alone other progrmming languages, but observations from my perspective are:
You can show'em, tell'em, pound it into them, to use newer techniques, venture deeper into ILE, or just start using SQL, and if you can get one programmer to see the light...You have pushed a huge boulder up a hill.
I'm unsure how any RPG programmer can "step" on there own storage definition. Sounds like attention to detail would be better advice.
And for learning a "new" programming language...It has always been, buy the book, and start using it. As an RPG veteran, I've learned C, C++, ILE, Delphi, and stepping way-way back even to Dibol. (Most commonly referred to as Synergy DE nowadays.) Simply by reading a "good" book by the many authors of such that are out there.
Finally...No language is better than another unless you have a specific task or capability to expose...Then one language may be preferred over another. But know this...They all do the same thing when you sit down to code something, You have I/O operations, data manipulation, storage and memory usage, sorts, etc...ALL THE SAME AND ONLY DIFFERENT IN ONE WAY.
(Syntax...that's it folks.) It's all been done before, in older languages and in the newest stuff like C#. You'll be doing the same things using different syntax. If that scares you...Keep doing what you are doing now...If you can make it to retirement before the "need" you are filling goes away. Good Luck as always...!!!
RPG Programmer out of the Box
Well, I began RPG-III in 1982 with the System 38 had several years experience with RPG-II before that with the System 3 model 6, 10, 15D and the System 34. During this time I also maintained COBOL applications but did the bulk of my heavy-lifting in RPG-II, II 1/2, III and later IV.
I met a lot of RPG programmers who just refused to learn anything new. But, thank god, that was not my responsibility. That headache was someone else's.
And I am newest with C#. Did a small system with old C in '80 and '83.
It was a nice and lucrative ride! Glad I made the transition to the Microsoft Windows Server, SQL Servers 2000, 2005 VB6 VB.NET (a little like RPG) and now C#.
Had my start in the mid-60's in Fortran-IV. Programmed in Fortran for 6-7 years before learning COBOL -- all on IBM platforms with an occasional CDC6400 and Burroughs B-5500.
My bad...You definitely earned the right to "say so". The "human condition" I'll call it, referring to people who (as you said) that just don't, and won't take the time to get "current", or put down the Sports section, and learn something new...Is and has been a long time frustration of mine too.
I just will never understand how anyone can do the same thing with the same coding techniques day-in, day-out, for years...No decades, without going absolutely bonkers.
To me, that's like being a factory line-worker...Repeatative, mind-numbing, life-choking, boredom.
But as you and I have witnessed, the "we" who want more, need more, and therefore have sought out, and learned, and became more than we ever were as RPG programmers are very few in number. And though we have tried endlessly in vain to get more people to be "like" us...(With the knowledge of good and evil.)
I can say truthfully that I can count the number of people I've been able to drag kicking and screaming out of lifeless boredom and into the "light" of newer better stuff to do while working, and getting paid for it...on just one hand. Effort that took years off of my life.
So I look at those differences (tween us and them) with indifference and ambiguity pretty much now. I've pushed my own boulder uphill and a few others too, and have just given that up because of the futility of it. I never wanted to say to anyone..."You should be like me." Though that's basically what I was asking of my peers and colleagues.
All I know is the life-boat is full. The "hangers on" will be forced away and adrift in the "sea of careers" that ended too soon because they didn't gather their nuts to get through the "career winter" and are inevitably facing starvation. Their only hope of survival is the many federal extensions to their un-employment benefits. Good Luck...(And we told you so!)
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