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Emulate Object-Oriented Programming in ILE RPG, Part II

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Now, we'll take the concept to the next level by using prototyped subprocedures.

 

In a previous article, we explored how nested data structures can help to emulate the way object-oriented programming languages access information. This time, I'd like to take the concept a step further by illustrating how to extend the object-oriented concept within ILE RPG by creating prototyped subprocedures that return nested data structures to the calling program. 

First, the Data

This concept is best illustrated using a data set that's probably something similar to what you work with every day, which is basic customer order data. The table below contains a list of tables that will be used in our example:

 

Example Database Tables

Table Name

Description

ORDHDR

Order header data

ORDDTL

Order line details

ORDHNOTE

Header-level order notes

ORDDNOTE

Detail-level order notes

 

This data includes header-level information such as an order number, an order date, and customer bill-to and ship-to information. This would also include detail information such as item numbers, quantity ordered, and unit price information. In addition to that, you may also have order notes at both the header and detail levels. Figure 1 contains a graphical representation of how the data in each of these tables is related. 

 

100108FaustFigure1.JPG

Figure 1: This example illustrates how our data is organized.

 

To get the full view of how the data works, see the table below for a breakdown of the file layouts for each of our sample tables.

 

Sample Table Fields

Table

Field Name

Description

ORDHDR

OHORDN

Order number

ORDHDR

OHORDT

Order date

ORDHDR

OHCUSN

Bill-to customer number

ORDHDR

OHSHTO

Ship-to customer number

ORDHDR

OHSHDT

Ship date

ORDHDR

OHSTAT

Order header status

ORDDTL

ODORDN

Order number

ORDDTL

ORLINE

Order line number

ORDDTL

ORITEM

Item number

ORDDTL

OROQTY

Order quantity

ORDDTL

ORSQTY

Shipped quantity

ORDDTL

ORUPRC

Unit price

ORDDTL

ORLSTS

Order line status

ORHNOTE

NHORDN

Order number

ORHNOTE

NHSEQN

Note sequence

ORHNOTE

NHTEXT

Note text

ORDNOTE

NDORDN

Order number

ORDNOTE

NDLINE

Order line number

ORDNOTE

NDSEQN

Note sequence

ORDNOTE

NDTEXT

Note text

 

Note that each of the tables can be related to one another by the order number, and in the case of the detail records, the order number and line number.

And Then the Code

Using current programming concepts, your programs probably access each of these files using CHAIN and/or SETLL/READE operations, like the example shown here:

 

...

/free

    Chain OrdKy OrdHdr;

  

    if %found;

      Setll OrdKy OrdDtl;

      Reade OrdKy OrdDtl;

      Dow not %eof(OrdDtl);

        // detail line processing

         Setll ordlnky dtNotes;

         Reade Ordlnky dtNotes;

          Dow not %eof(dtNotes);

              // detail notes processing

              Reade Ordlnky dtNotes;

            Enddo;

        Reade OrdKy OrdDtl;

      Enddo;

      Setll ordlnky dtNotes;

      Reade Ordlnky dtNotes;

        Dow not %eof(dtNotes);

         // header notes processing

        Reade Ordlnky dtNotes;

       Enddo;

    Endif;

/end-free

...     

 

This example uses some pretty standard RPG concepts to read the data from the order tables and perform additional processing. 

 

Wouldn't it be nice, though, to be able to deal with all of the components of your order data using a single object? This can really make your programming tasks much easier because any program that needs to access this same information can utilize a single object that will handle all of the data access for you. 

 

Implementing the "object-oriented" subprocedures that we're discussing here is really as simple as encapsulating the data access code, like that shown above, into a single service program. These subprocedures can then be called from any programs that need access to that data. For purposes of our example, let's imagine that we would create two subprocedures. 

 

  • GetOrder(orderNumber) retrieves the order data for the supplied order.
  • PutOrder(order_DS) creates or updates an order using the supplied data.

 

The GetOrder subprocedure returns a nested data structure that contains header- and detail-level data from all of our order tables using the standard RPG techniques described earlier, but it returns this data to the caller in a single step through the nested data structures shown below.

 

 

dOrdData          DS                  Qualified                        

d  Number                        8  0                                   

d  CreateDate                     d                                    

d  ShipDate                       d                                    

d  Value                        15  5                                  

d  LineCount                     5  0                                  

d  Status                        1a                                    

d  BillTo                             likeds(CustomerDS)               

d  ShipTo                             likeds(CustomerDS)               

d  Notes                              likeds(NotesDS) dim(10)          

d  Line                               likeds(OrdDtl) dim(99)           

                                                                       

dOrdDtl           DS                  Qualified                        

d ItemNumber                    15a                                    

d ItemDesc                      50a                                    

d OrderQuantity                 15  5    

d ShipQuantity                  15  5                                  

d UnitPrice                     15  5                                  

d LineValue                     15  5                                  

d LineStatus                     1a                                     

d Notes                               likeds(NotesDS) dim(10)          

                                                                       

dCustomerDS       DS                  Qualified                        

d Number                         8  0                                  

d Name                          35a                                    

d Address                       35a                         

d City                          20a                          

d State                          2a                         

d ZipCode                       10a                         

d PhoneNumber                   10a                         

                                                             

dNotesDS          DS                  Qualified             

d Text                          50           
                                                                                    

 

Notice that we've actually defined four data structures here. Three of these exist simply to be nested within the OrdData structure, which will be returned as the result of the GetOrder subprocedure. The OrdDtl data structure defines the fields that relate to the order lines. The LineValue field here is a calculated field based on the order quantity multiplied by the unit price. You'll also notice that this structure also contains a "likeds" for the NotesDS data structure, which contains note details. 

 

By including the dim(10) keyword, we identify that each order line can have up to 10 note lines. This same data structure is included in the OrdData data structure to store the order header note data.

 

We include two copies of the CustomerDS data structure. These will be used to return bill-to and ship-to customer data. Note that the name and address fields are not part of the data we defined earlier. These fields, along with the ItemDesc field on the order detail data structure, are retrieved from master files.  This means that when all is said and done, our subprocedure is actually returning data from at least six database tables in a single statement.

 

We also include several other calculated fields, including the line count and order value fields.

 

Note that each of our statements includes the "Qualified" keyword to indicate that all access to the fields contained within that data structure needs to be specified in a fully qualified manner.   

 

To associate our newly defined OrdData structure with the GetOrder subprocedure, we use the following prototype:

 

dGetOrder         PR                  likeds(OrdData)

d OrderNumber                8  0       

 

The likeds keyword identifies that the value returned by this subprocedure should mimic the OrdData data structure.   

 

The result is that, within a program that utilizes the GetOrder subprocedure, we can load all of our order data in a single statement, as shown below:

 

 /free

    Order = GetOrder(OrdNum);

 /end-free

 

In this example, the Order variable would first be defined as a data structure with the likeds(OrdData) keyword on the data structure definition. Once that's done, after calling the GetOrder subprocedure, we can access the order data using the variables shown below:

 

order.number          

order.orderdate       

order.value           

order.shipdate        

order.billto.number   

order.billto.name     

order.billto.address  

order.billto.city     

order.billto.state    

order.billto.zipcode  

order.shipto.number   

order.shipto.name     

order.shipto.address  

order.shipto.city     

order.shipto.state    

order.shipto.zipcode  

order.linecount

order.notes(x).text

order.lines(x).itemnumber

order.lines(x).OrderQuantity

order.lines(x).ShipQuantity

order.lines(x).UnitPrice

order.lines(x).ItemDesc

order.lines(x).LineValue

order.lines(x).notes(y).text

 

Each order line and/or note line can be accessed by providing a value within the parentheses that reflects the line number and/or sequence number related to the specific detail line or note sequence to be retrieved.

 

Similarly, the PutOrder subprocedure is used to create the data in all of these tables. The difference here is that we provide the OrdData data structure as the input parameter to the subprocedure and allow the subprocedure to disassemble the order data and create/update records in each of the database tables. Below is an example of how this subprocedure would be called to create a new order: 

 

dNewOrder         DS                  likeds(OrdData)

/free

    Clear NewOrder;

    NewOrder.BillTo.Number = 12345;

    NewOrder.ShipTo.Number = 12346;

    NewOrder.LineCount = 1;

    NewOrder.Line(1).ItemNumber = 'ABC123';

    NewOrder.Line(1).OrderQuantity = 24;

    NewOrder.Line(1).UnitPrice = 9.95;

    NewOrder.Line(1).Notes(1).Text = 'Ship this item right away!';

  

    PutOrder(NewOrder);

 /end-free

 

In this example, we define our data structure NewOrder to be a copy of the OrdData data structure. We start by clearing this new data structure, and then we populate the required data. Remember that we assume that the PutOrder subprocedure will contain all of the logic to determine whether this is an existing order or a new order and to react accordingly in each circumstance.

 

Note that this routine would also need to have data validation logic built in to verify that the data provided was valid and followed business rules.

 

Below is another example that shows how the GetOrder and PutOrder subprocedures might be combined to update an existing order by adding a line:

 

D Order           DS                  likeds(OrdData)

/free

    Order = GetData(OrdNum);

    Order.Line(LineCount + 1).ItemNumber = NewItem;

    Order.Line(LineCount + 1).OrderQuantity = NewQty;

    Order.Line(LineCount + 1).UnitPrice = ItemPrice;

    PutOrder(Order);

 /end-free

Again, this example assumes that the PutOrder subprocedure will include logic to realize that this is an existing order (probably based on the fact that our data structure includes an order number). It then updates that order rather than create a new one. 

Finally...the Fine Print

The biggest caveat when implementing this concept is the 65535 character limitation for a data structure. Since ultimately an RPG data structure is handled like a giant character field, you can only define a data structure whose largest possible size (including all possible array elements) is no more than 65535 characters. In the case of our example OrdData data structure, we are just under that limitation at 62763 characters. That issue aside, utilizing this concept can completely change the way you write applications by changing from a "data file-centric" approach to an object-oriented approach to how your applications access data.

Mike Faust

Mike Faust is a senior consultant/analyst for Retail Technologies Corporation in Orlando, Florida. Mike is also the author of the books Active Server Pages Primer, The iSeries and AS/400 Programmer's Guide to Cool Things, JavaScript for the Business Developer, and SQL Built-in Functions and Stored Procedures. You can contact Mike at mikeffaust@yahoo.com.


MC Press books written by Mike Faust available now on the MC Press Bookstore.

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    • The basics of Git and tools to help those new to it
    • Using NodeRun.com as a pre-built development environment

     

     

  • Inside the Integrated File System (IFS)

    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.

     

     

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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.