We're conducting a survey to get you better tools.
RPG is a great language with a long history of IBM commitment. But the focus of IBM's evolution for the language has been almost exclusively upon enhancing the language for ease of new program development and increasing functionality.
RPG Not Optimized for Maintenance
What has not been IBM's focus has been ease of maintenance. That is, IBM has not been successful in recasting the structure of RPG through its multiple versions of the language so that code can be more easily organized, analyzed, and comprehended. This slows the maintenance process.
Likewise, despite IBM's best intentions, we don't believe the language is provided with the best tools for helping RPG programmers keep the applications written in RPG current with the requirements of the customer.
Consequently, maintenance programmers spend too much time digging through long code listings, searching for variable instances, and trying to determine how a code modification can impact the overall functionality of the system.
Without better tools, maintenance programmers are at a disadvantage in their efforts to keep the RPG code modules optimized to the company's business model.
Which Is Easier: Build New or Fix Old?
The epitome of this conundrum might best be described by the old programmer's adage: "It's lots easier to write new code than to fix old code."
So what's wrong with this picture?
The entire AS/400/iSeries/System i/Power Systems strategy from IBM has always been to preserve a company's investment in code so that a customer will have an easier time moving from one hardware platform to the next.
But to keep code from becoming obsolete, the efforts of maintenance programmers must be optimized.
If RPG is to remain the mainstay language for our business system applications, it's vital that our management teams come to terms with the maintenance profile of RPG and the retinue of applications that comprise the company's investment in this language. Management must begin to understand how long it takes to maintain the RPG code that IT is supporting. Why? Because, once written, programmers will be maintaining it for a very long time.
Introducing the RPG Maintenance Programming Survey
With this purpose in mind, MC Press Online, in association with IT Incendiary, is conducting the first RPG Maintenance Programming Survey. In this survey, we are asking RPG program managers and RPG maintenance programmers--people like you--to fill out a three-minute questionnaire to help us gauge the impact of RPG maintenance on IT resources.
With the statistics that we compile, we will build the financial case for stronger, more resilient, and more affordable RPG maintenance analysis tools. Our aim is to provide the industry with real insight into how best to optimize the RPG maintenance process so that a programmer's job becomes easier and more cost-effective. By making RPG maintenance programmers more efficient in the analysis and comprehension of existing code, modifications can be more quickly and cost-effectively implemented, reducing the cost of maintenance and increasing the organization's ROI.
Sound Worthwhile? How Can You Help?
Take three minutes to complete the IT Incendiary RPG Maintenance Programming Survey! It's quick, easy, and painless.
In return, we'll create a comprehensive report that identifies where the task of maintaining RPG code stands within our industry. And then we'll publish this report in an upcoming issue of RPG Developer.
The survey is completely anonymous, and we're hoping to give your management the information it needs to start putting a real value on the work that RPG developers have been accomplishing for years.
What's in It for Me?
As a sweetener to reward your contribution, IT Incendiary will give away a free Apple iPod Touch to one lucky participant who completes the entire survey. Imagine that! A free iPod Touch for a three-minute survey!
So what's in the survey? Our questions are generic but targeted to the task:
•· What is the size of your company?
•· How many RPG programmers are involved in maintenance?
•· What percentage of IT effort is spent in maintenance?
•· What tools are currently used to ease the pain of maintenance?
•· What versions of RPG are being supported?
•· What is your skill level as a maintenance programmer?
•· What are management's obstacles in getting the job done?
•· What are the programmers' obstacles?
With these and other basic questions, we believe we can paint a compelling profile of a process within our community that is ripe for enhancement. And with this profile, IT Incendiary will approach IBM and others to start bringing new tools to the task of RPG maintenance.
The resulting report will be free to all RPG Developer readers, and (we hope) the survey will become an annual service that IT Incendiary and MC Press Online delivers for the benefit of our RPG programmers.
Take the Survey!
Please take the survey located at http://survey.itincendiary.com/. It's quick and non-invasive. And it's private, designed to extract only the required information.
RPG maintenance programmers are the real unsung heroes of IT. Help them get the tools they need today!