Convert Case Revisited and Updated

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The need to convert lowercase to uppercase or vice versa has long been an issue in the RPG world. With the APIs available to RPG developers today, creating a subprocedure to convert between cases is simply a matter of writing a subprocedure to simplify things. In 2002, I published an article on converting between cases using the XLATE opcode. In the last issue, I illustrated a similar technique in "Getting Started with Procedures."

A problem with the technique featured in those articles is that the conversion works only with the North American character set, a.k.a. coded character set ID (CCSID). In this issue, I want to expose how to do case conversion that is not tied to any particular character set or national language.

To do this, we have to write our own subprocedure, create a table for each CCSID, and call either QDCXLATE or the QlgConvertCase API.

According to the IBM Information Center, the QlgConvertCase API provides case conversion for single-byte, mixed-byte, and UCS2 (Universal Multiple-Octet Coded Character Set with 16 bits per character) character sets. For the mixed-byte character set data, only the single-byte portion of the data is converted. QlgConvertCase does not convert DBCS data.

"QlgConvertCase" may not exactly be an easy name to remember, nor easy to guess. To use it, I want to create a wrapper procedure named CVTCASE. The CVTCASE subprocedure is actually one I've used in RPG xTools for a couple of years now to do conversion quickly and without concern for national language support. In fact, the CvtToUpper() and CvtToLower() subprocedures in RPG xTools Version 5.0 call CVTCASE under the covers.

In this article, I'll expose the source code behind the xTools CVTCASE subprocedure and explain how it calls QlgConvertCase. That way, you can use it on your system regardless of whether or not you've licensed RPG xTools.

First Things First

Of course, the first thing we need to do is create a prototype for the QlgConvertCase API itself so that we can call it from our CVTCASE subprocedure. That prototype follows:

      ** C O N V E R T  C A S E
     D QlgCvtCase      PR                  ExtProc('QlgConvertCase')
     D  ctrlBlock                          Const LikeDS(FRCB_T)
     D  inString                  65535A   Const Options(*VARSIZE)
     D  OutString                 65535A   Options(*VARSIZE)
     D  Length                       10I 0 Const
     D  APIError                           LikeDS(QUSEC)

Since the QlgConvertCase API is a procedure itself, calling it is faster than calling a typical program. While many APIs that are programs (as opposed to procedures) are also stored in the OS/400 or i5/OS System Entry Point Table (SEPT), making them very fast to call, calling a procedure is always supposed to be faster than calling a program.

One side effect of procedure-based OS/400 APIs is that they often have mixed-case names. In order to prototype this kind of API, the EXTPROC keyword is used, with the name of the API enclosed in quotes, like so:


Make sure these types of API names appear in the proper uppercase/lowercase combination (as documented in the InfoCenter); otherwise, the compiler will not locate them during the bind phase of the compile.

The first parameter of QlgConvertCase is a function control block. The control block is a data structure that tells the API what you want to do. IBM designs this type of parameter in lieu of adding several additional parameters. You use this data structure to control whether you want to convert between cases. The control block data structure can be declared as follows:

      **  Control Block for the call to QglConvertCase.
     D FRCB            DS                  
     D  ReqType                      10I 0 Inz(1)
     D  CCSID                        10I 0 Inz(0)
     D  CvtTo                        10I 0 Inz(0)
     D  Reserved                     10A   Inz(*ALLX'00')

Since RPG IV in Version 5 of OS/400 includes qualified data structures and the LIKEDS keyword, it would be best to create a template of sorts rather than just declare the data structure. So the actual definition of this data structure is that of a data structure template, as follows:

      **  Control Block for the call to QglConvertCase.
     D FRCB_T          DS                  QUALIFIED 
     D                                     BASED(TEMPL_PTR)
     D  ReqType                      10I 0 
     D  CCSID                        10I 0 
     D  CvtTo                        10I 0 
     D  Reserved                     10A   

By declaring this data structure as a template, we can now use the LIKEDS keyword to define the data structure we want to use in our application and the parameter itself. Remember, a data structure template is simply a term, not a defined part of the RPG IV language definition. It is, however, so widely used that IBM is designing data structure templates into the language in an upcoming release.

The procedure we are creating is called CVTCASE. It accepts two parameters: (1) The text to be converted and (2) an optional parameter that controls whether to convert cases. If you enter a value of 0 or if the parameter is not specified, CVTCASE converts the input text to uppercase. A value of 1 causes it to convert to lowercase.

The following is the prototype for the CVTCASE subprocedure:

     D CvtCase         PR         65535A   Varying
     D  InString                  65535A   Const Varying
     D  nOption                       5I 0 Const OPTIONS(*NOPASS)

The first parameter, INSTRING, is a VARYING parameter and is also CONST. This means that the compiler will allow you to specify variable-length or nonvariable-length (i.e., regular) character fields for this parameter. Up to 64 K of data can be converted, although it is unlikely that you'll need to convert such a lengthy value.

To use this subprocedure, include the prototype (above) in the Definition specifications of your applications.

The body or implementation of the CVTCASE procedure isn't very complex, but it does some interesting things. First, it checks the length of the input string to verify that it contains some data. If it doesn't, it simply returns. But it doesn't return "nothing"; it returns the same string that was passed in. This ensures that nothing is destroyed and the caller gets back exactly what was sent in.

Next, it initializes the FRCB data structure. While the INZ keyword is also specified for the FRCB, the EVAL statement is used to copy all hex zeros (X'00') to the data structure. This ensures that the reserved area of the data structure is also set to zeros. The RESERVED subfield must contain hex zeros, according to the API documentation. Otherwise, the API may not function correctly. This is one of the major problems programmers have when calling APIs: not initializing the data structures properly.

Now, it calls the QlgConvertCase to do the conversion. It passes the input variable INSTRING directly to the API. This may seem odd, considering the API requires a fixed-length character field and INSTRING is a varying-length character field. However, the power of prototyping causes the INSTRING value to be formatted according to the called procedure's parameter description. That is, the compiler converts the varying-length field into a fixed-length field. It does this because the INSTRING parameter of the QlgConvertCase API is defined as CONST. The CONST keyword does a lot for you, including converting a variable whose base data type matches the parameter into the format required by the parameter definition; it will convert any type of character value into the fixed-length required by INSTRING. If it's a numeric parameter, as is the case with the LENGTH parameter, the only requirement is that the length specified when calling QlgConvertCase is numeric. The compiler converts it into (in this case) a 10i0 value.

Finally, the input string, now converted by QlgConvertCase, is returned to the caller. The RETURN operation does this, using the %SUBST (substring) built-in function. We only want to return as much data as we received. Otherwise, the return process does additional work copying the extra bytes and slows things down.

     **  C V T C A S E  - Convert between lower/uppercase
     **      Parameters:
     **                  InString - (Input) Text to convert
     **                  nOption  - (Input) Control Option
     **                                     0 = To Upper
     **                                     1 = To Lower
     **      Return Value: Converted input text.
     **      (c) Copyright 2002 by Robert Cozzi, Jr.
     **          All rights reserved.
     **          Part of the RPG xTools. Used by Permission.
     P CvtCase         B                   Export
     D CvtCase         PI         65535A   Varying
     D  InString                  65535A   Const Varying
     D  nOption                       5I 0 Const OPTIONS(*NOPASS)

     D OutString                  65535A   
      **  Control Block for the call to QglConvertCase.
     D FRCB            DS                  LikeDS(FRCB_T) Inz
      **  API Error Data Structure, required, but ignored.
     D APIErrorDS      S             16A   INZ(*ALLX'00')

     C                   if        %Len(%Trim(InString)) <= 0
     C                   return    InString 
     C                   endif

      **  Clear the FRCB data structure
     C                   Eval      FRCB=*ALLX'00'
      **  Tell the API that we want case conversion 
     C                   Eval      FRCB.ReqType = 1

      **  QlgCvtCase uses 0 to convert to uppercase and 1 for lower,
      **  which is passed into this procedure on the nOption parm.
      **  The parm value is copied to the FRCB.CvtTo subfield.
     C                   if        %Parms >= 2
     C                   Eval      CvtTo = nOption
     C                   endif

     C                   CallP     QlgCvtCase(FRCB : InString : 
     C                                OutString : %Len(InString) :
     C                                APIErrorDS)

     C                   return    %Subst(OutString:1:%Len(InString))
     CvtCase         E

Calling CVTCASE from RPG IV

To call the CVTCASE procedure, you need to make sure you've included the prototype for the procedure in your source code. This is best done via a /COPY or /INCLUDE (both work the same). Storing prototypes in a separate source member and /COPYing them into your code is the only correct way to use them.

Next, specify the value you want to convert as the first parameter, and optionally specify 1 or 0 for the second parameter. This controls the conversion effort. If the second parameter is not specified, '0' (convert to uppercase) is used as the default.

Here's an example of how to use CVTCASE to convert to uppercase the data in a field named USRPRF.

     C                   eval      USRPRF = CvtCase(USRPRF : 0)

Also, the second parameter is optional, so if you avoid specifying 0 or 1 for it, the subprocedure defaults to 0 (convert to uppercase). The following is an example of calling CVTCASE to convert to uppercase without specifying the second parameter.

     C                   eval      CompName = CvtCase(CompName)

This is a basic technique that creates a true conversion tool that respects the CCSID of the system on which it is running. So, for example, if it is run with the Spanish or North American CCSID, everything is converted properly.

One Final Word

To compile this procedure or any of your own applications, you will need two things. I've already mentioned that the prototype for CVTCASE needs to be included, but so does the QUSEC IBM-supplied data structure. That data structure is included in the QSYSINC library. To include it in your code, specify the following compiler directive:


If you do not have QSYSINC installed on your system, install it. If you can't install it on a timely basis, you can use the following data structure in lieu of the QSYSINC source member.

     D QUSEC           DS                  QUALIFIED
     D  ErrDS_Len                    10I 0 Inz(%size(QUSEC))
     D  ErrReturn_Len                10I 0 Inz
     D  CPFMSGID                      7A
     D  ErrReserved                   1A   Inz(X'00')

Bob Cozzi is a programmer/consultant, writer/author, and software developer of the RPG xTools, a popular add-on subprocedure library for RPG IV. His book The Modern RPG Language has been the most widely used RPG programming book for nearly two decades. He, along with others, speaks at and runs the highly-popular RPG World conference for RPG programmers.

Robert Cozzi

Bob Cozzi is a programmer/consultant, writer/author, and software developer. His popular RPG xTools add-on subprocedure library for RPG IV is fast becoming a standard with RPG developers. His book The Modern RPG Language has been the most widely used RPG programming book for more than a decade. He, along with others, speaks at and produces the highly popular RPG World conference for RPG programmers.

MC Press books written by Robert Cozzi available now on the MC Press Bookstore.

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    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericDuring this webinar, you’ll learn basic tips, helpful tools, and integrated file system commands—including WRKLNK—for managing your IFS directories and Access Client Solutions (ACS). We’ll answer your most pressing IFS questions, including:

    • What is stored inside my IFS directories?
    • How do I monitor the IFS?
    • How do I replicate the IFS or back it up?
    • How do I secure the IFS?

    Understanding what the integrated file system is and how to work with it must be a critical part of your systems management plans for IBM i.


  • Expert Tips for IBM i Security: Beyond the Basics

    SB PowerTech WC GenericIn this session, IBM i security expert Robin Tatam provides a quick recap of IBM i security basics and guides you through some advanced cybersecurity techniques that can help you take data protection to the next level. Robin will cover:

    • Reducing the risk posed by special authorities
    • Establishing object-level security
    • Overseeing user actions and data access

    Don't miss this chance to take your knowledge of IBM i security beyond the basics.



  • 5 IBM i Security Quick Wins

    SB PowerTech WC GenericIn today’s threat landscape, upper management is laser-focused on cybersecurity. You need to make progress in securing your systems—and make it fast.
    There’s no shortage of actions you could take, but what tactics will actually deliver the results you need? And how can you find a security strategy that fits your budget and time constraints?
    Join top IBM i security expert Robin Tatam as he outlines the five fastest and most impactful changes you can make to strengthen IBM i security this year.
    Your system didn’t become unsecure overnight and you won’t be able to turn it around overnight either. But quick wins are possible with IBM i security, and Robin Tatam will show you how to achieve them.

  • How to Meet the Newest Encryption Requirements on IBM i

    SB PowerTech WC GenericA growing number of compliance mandates require sensitive data to be encrypted. But what kind of encryption solution will satisfy an auditor and how can you implement encryption on IBM i? Watch this on-demand webinar to find out how to meet today’s most common encryption requirements on IBM i. You’ll also learn:

    • Why disk encryption isn’t enough
    • What sets strong encryption apart from other solutions
    • Important considerations before implementing encryption



  • Security Bulletin: Malware Infection Discovered on IBM i Server!

    SB PowerTech WC GenericMalicious programs can bring entire businesses to their knees—and IBM i shops are not immune. It’s critical to grasp the true impact malware can have on IBM i and the network that connects to it. Attend this webinar to gain a thorough understanding of the relationships between:

    • Viruses, native objects, and the integrated file system (IFS)
    • Power Systems and Windows-based viruses and malware
    • PC-based anti-virus scanning versus native IBM i scanning

    There are a number of ways you can minimize your exposure to viruses. IBM i security expert Sandi Moore explains the facts, including how to ensure you're fully protected and compliant with regulations such as PCI.



  • Fight Cyber Threats with IBM i Encryption

    SB PowerTech WC GenericCyber attacks often target mission-critical servers, and those attack strategies are constantly changing. To stay on top of these threats, your cybersecurity strategies must evolve, too. In this session, IBM i security expert Robin Tatam provides a quick recap of IBM i security basics and guides you through some advanced cybersecurity techniques that can help you take data protection to the next level. Robin will cover:

    • Reducing the risk posed by special authorities
    • Establishing object-level security
    • Overseeing user actions and data access




  • 10 Practical IBM i Security Tips for Surviving Covid-19 and Working From Home

    SB PowerTech WC GenericNow that many organizations have moved to a work from home model, security concerns have risen.

    During this session Carol Woodbury will discuss the issues that the world is currently seeing such as increased malware attacks and then provide practical actions you can take to both monitor and protect your IBM i during this challenging time.


  • How to Transfer IBM i Data to Microsoft Excel

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_Generic3 easy ways to get IBM i data into Excel every time
    There’s an easy, more reliable way to import your IBM i data to Excel? It’s called Sequel. During this webinar, our data access experts demonstrate how you can simplify the process of getting data from multiple sources—including Db2 for i—into Excel. Watch to learn how to:

    • Download your IBM i data to Excel in a single step
    • Deliver data to business users in Excel via email or a scheduled job
    • Access IBM i data directly using the Excel add-in in Sequel

    Make 2020 the year you finally see your data clearly, quickly, and securely. Start by giving business users the ability to access crucial business data from IBM i the way they want it—in Microsoft Excel.



  • HA Alternatives: MIMIX Is Not Your Only Option on IBM i

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericIn this recorded webinar, our experts introduce you to the new HA transition technology available with our Robot HA software. You’ll learn how to:

    • Transition your rules from MIMIX (if you’re happy with them)
    • Simplify your day-to-day activities around high availability
    • Gain back time in your work week
    • Make your CEO happy about reducing IT costs

    Don’t stick with a legacy high availability solution that makes you uncomfortable when transitioning to something better can be simple, safe, and cost-effective.



  • Node Webinar Series Pt. 1: The World of Node.js on IBM i

    SB Profound WC GenericHave you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application.
    Part 1 will teach you what Node.js is, why it's a great option for IBM i shops, and how to take advantage of the ecosystem surrounding Node.
    In addition to background information, our Director of Product Development Scott Klement will demonstrate applications that take advantage of the Node Package Manager (npm).
    Watch Now.

  • The Biggest Mistakes in IBM i Security

    SB Profound WC Generic The Biggest Mistakes in IBM i Security
    Here’s the harsh reality: cybersecurity pros have to get their jobs right every single day, while an attacker only has to succeed once to do incredible damage.
    Whether that’s thousands of exposed records, millions of dollars in fines and legal fees, or diminished share value, it’s easy to judge organizations that fall victim. IBM i enjoys an enviable reputation for security, but no system is impervious to mistakes.
    Join this webinar to learn about the biggest errors made when securing a Power Systems server.
    This knowledge is critical for ensuring integrity of your application data and preventing you from becoming the next Equifax. It’s also essential for complying with all formal regulations, including SOX, PCI, GDPR, and HIPAA
    Watch Now.

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  • Backup and Recovery on IBM i: Your Strategy for the Unexpected

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Robot automates the routine tasks of iSeries backup and recovery, saving you time and money and making the process safer and more reliable. Automate your backups with the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution. Key features include:
    - Simplified backup procedures
    - Easy data encryption
    - Save media management
    - Guided restoration
    - Seamless product integration
    Make sure your data survives when catastrophe hits. Try the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Manage IBM i Messages by Exception with Robot

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Managing messages on your IBM i can be more than a full-time job if you have to do it manually. How can you be sure you won’t miss important system events?
    Automate your message center with the Robot Message Management Solution. Key features include:
    - Automated message management
    - Tailored notifications and automatic escalation
    - System-wide control of your IBM i partitions
    - Two-way system notifications from your mobile device
    - Seamless product integration
    Try the Robot Message Management Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Easiest Way to Save Money? Stop Printing IBM i Reports

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Robot automates report bursting, distribution, bundling, and archiving, and offers secure, selective online report viewing.
    Manage your reports with the Robot Report Management Solution. Key features include:

    - Automated report distribution
    - View online without delay
    - Browser interface to make notes
    - Custom retention capabilities
    - Seamless product integration
    Rerun another report? Never again. Try the Robot Report Management Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Hassle-Free IBM i Operations around the Clock

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413For over 30 years, Robot has been a leader in systems management for IBM i.
    Manage your job schedule with the Robot Job Scheduling Solution. Key features include:
    - Automated batch, interactive, and cross-platform scheduling
    - Event-driven dependency processing
    - Centralized monitoring and reporting
    - Audit log and ready-to-use reports
    - Seamless product integration
    Scale your software, not your staff. Try the Robot Job Scheduling Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • ACO MONITOR Manages your IBM i 24/7 and Notifies You When Your IBM i Needs Assistance!

    SB DDL Systems 5429More than a paging system - ACO MONITOR is a complete systems management solution for your Power Systems running IBM i. ACO MONITOR manages your Power System 24/7, uses advanced technology (like two-way messaging) to notify on-duty support personnel, and responds to complex problems before they reach critical status.

    ACO MONITOR is proven technology and is capable of processing thousands of mission-critical events daily. The software is pre-configured, easy to install, scalable, and greatly improves data center efficiency.