Hello RPG, Goodbye DDS. looksoftware Announces Open Display Files.

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looksoftware announces Open Display Files, a breakthrough technology that solves the limitations of RPG, by replacing restrictive DDS with an open-standards based XML format.

Open Display Files enable delivery of web, mobile, rich desktop, cloud services and other modern technology requirements for today and the future, whilst maintaining core support for existing RPG skills and source code.


The Five Restrictions of Traditional RPG
Since the explosive growth of rich graphical interfaces, the web, and more recently mobile devices, RPG as a development language has struggled to keep up with the demands that rely on these technologies. This has led to frustrations from end users continuing to be tied to the inflexibility of 5250 interfaces, and in turn developers have attempted and often failed to learn complex alternative tools and languages.

However, as a business language, RPG continues to be the most popular choice for IBM i development, with a rich and successful history providing the foundation for robust, reliable and scalable delivery of applications in tens of thousands of businesses worldwide. There continues to be a healthy and active RPG development community within IBM i’s customer base.

looksoftware and IBM recently held two very popular webinars on the future of RPG. These webinars surveyed hundreds of RPG developers worldwide regarding specific restrictions that have affected them in real world projects. The results comprehensively confirmed many significant concerns for RPG developers:

- Lack of support for multiple client types, including web and mobile – 44.1%
- The need to learn another language – 56.6%
- Need to use different development tools for different tasks – 49.1%
- Lack of IBM supported standards for graphical applications – 61.6%
- Poor quality design and development tools – 37%

These results demonstrate just how important it is to the RPG community that these restrictions are addressed.


Open Display Files – The Future of RPG 
Open Display Files don’t just assist in lifting one or two of these restrictions; they are the cornerstone to resolving all five.

Embedded into the entire looksoftware suite of products, Open Display Files enable RPG developers to develop for rich desktop, any browser, mobile devices and the cloud entirely within RPG code, removing the need to learn any other language or use different development tools.

For layout and design of graphical screens, newlook’s industry leading version10 design environment enables quick and easy layout of beautiful graphical forms.


IBM Supported Standards for Graphical Applications - OAMOS
Most importantly, as reported above, the biggest restriction (61.6% of respondents) facing the RPG community has been a lack of IBM supported standards for graphical applications. looksoftware’s Open Display Files are implemented using the recently approved version 2.0 of the RPG Open Access Metadata Open Standard.

The RPG Open Access Metadata Open Standard (OAMOS) has been established to provide an industry standard for Open Access solutions. Not only are IBM a significant presence in the OAMOS approvals body, other leading industry experts in the field of RPG development and IBM i application modernization are also heavily involved to ensure that the standards receive input from the strongest foundation of wisdom and experience available today.

For more information on OAMOS, please visit: http://www.ibmioa.com

looksoftware – Leaders in Supporting Modern RPG Development
Open Display Files continue looksoftware’s leadership in IBM i development. Open Display Files continues their leadership in RPG Open Access solutions which started when RPG Open Access was introduced at COMMON by IBM, looksoftware and others. looksoftware were the first to provide:

- Full integration of Open Access and non-OA solutions
- Support for the Open Access Metadata Open Standard
- Full integration of Open Access and non-OA solutions 
- Simple localization solutions through Open Access
- Extension of RPG to have full access to every property of every graphical control
- A single Open Access solution for mobile, web, rich desktop and web service solutions

looksoftware remains the only vendor with a state-of-the-art design and development environment for OA applications.

Integration of OA and non-OA solutions is a fundamental requirement for the vast majority of IBM i customers that have packages without source code access, older RPG code, or require operating system screen access from modern devices. looksoftware are also the first vendor to provide a state of the art design environment directly into the RPG Open Access environment. looksoftware is the only vendor that fully integrates OA and non-OA for both the developer and the end user.

“With the introduction of Open Display Files we are delivering technology that adds immense value to RPG, and will contribute to it’s continued longevity as a leading development language of business applications” says Brendan Kay, CEO of looksoftware. 

Open Display Files will be generally available in January 2014.