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Some server working methods were constructed to remaining the look at various of time. The IBM AS/400 is one such gadget.
The AS/four hundred (software equipment/400) turned into first brought through IBM 25 years in the past in June of 1988, and it be a gadget that continues to be alive and neatly these days in 2013. although the core server operating working equipment that constituted the AS/400 remains alive, the name AS/four hundred as a product brand isn't. In 2008, IBM rebranded what had as soon as been the AS/400 as equipment i.
"nowadays they name it the IBM i, since the 'I' stands for Integration," Ian Jarman, company Unit govt, energy techniques Lab capabilities & practicing at IBM, advised ServerWatch. "the integration operating atmosphere runs today on their newest energy programs and additionally on their newest PureSystems."
The original AS/four hundred working device turned into a mix of IBM's device 38 and system 36 that have been merged together. Jarman explained that the AS/400 became truly the identify of the hardware platform, whereas the working system become in the beginning universal as the OS/400.
The AS/four hundred working device from its birth 25 years ago has at all times been an built-in operating equipment that comprises an IBM DB2 relational database.
In Jarman's view, the largest change to the platform occurred in 2008, when the IBM i operating system changed into brought together with IBM's AIX Unix operating gadget and Linux onto the equal power server systems.php
When the AS/400 become first added the thought of open source application didn't basically exist. In 2013, open source is a truth and IBM i integrates with the open supply php language to extra lengthen the platform.
"one of the most areas of strongest increase for brand new applications on the platform is personal home page, as people use it to hyperlink out to internet and cell purposes," Jarman mentioned.RPG IV
When the AS/four hundred first debuted probably the most widely wide-spread languages for programming on it changed into the RPG IV. because it turns out, 25 years later RPG IV is additionally still alive and neatly, too.
Jarman referred to that simply as the AS/four hundred has been modified over the ultimate 25 years, so too has RPG IV.
"RPG is an incredibly efficient transaction processing language," Jarman referred to.
He brought that RPG now works smartly with different modern languages reminiscent of php and Java.
"that you can put a php entrance-end with an RPG IV backend," Jarman stated. "That aggregate is terribly normal because people that come from Hypertext Preprocessor are able to very with ease familiarize themselves with the new RPG IV."AS/four hundred, AIX, Linux
When it comes to the open nature of the vigor architecture, the IBM i, AIX and Linux working techniques can all exist on the identical server, on the equal time.
The multi-OS nature of energy is enabled by the use of the PowerVM virtualization know-how.
"The giant majority of their IBM i users these days are the use of PowerVM to virtualize their techniques," Jarman pointed out. "it be very average for people to run a mix of working methods as a result of it is the style they could power the highest effectivity."The subsequent 25 Years
while IBM is now celebrating 25 years of the AS/four hundred, it isn't resting on its laurels. there's a planned IBM i 7.2 liberate set for subsequent 12 months as construction and innovation on the platform proceed.
probably the most areas where Jarman expects IBM i to grow is on the PureSystems portfolio. The IBM PureSystems strategy itself is an integrated, storage, compute, networking and applications stack.
"PureSystems gives us the potential to run IBM i and home windows workloads or Linux on x86 workloads very successfully together," Jarman observed.
From the day that AS/400 debuted 25 years ago to the up to date day, Jarman stressed that a key component of the structure is that it has a expertise-unbiased laptop interface.
"with ease what that does is it protects you from know-how alternate," Jarman talked about. "it be tricky to foretell the longer term, except to say that in next 25 years the expertise under IBM i will fundamentally alternate."
The promise of the IBM i is that it is capable of exchange as underlying hardware adjustments. it be a promise that could see the platform survive for the next 25 years.
"i am very assured when you consider that they made a big promise of know-how independence 25 years in the past with the AS/400 and they delivered on that promise, i'm very confident that people could be working IBM i applications 25 years from now."
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT enterprise aspect network, the community for know-how experts comply with him on Twitter @TechJournalist.
follow ServerWatch on Twitter and on facebook
October 8, 2018 Alex Woodie
application modernization is a large nut to crack on IBM i. that is to assert, there are many methods to handle the problem, from the code and enterprise good judgment to the databases and person interfaces. however when it comes to the type of builders make sure to seek and how they may still spend their time, Kody Robinson has a few pointers that may be value retaining in intellect.
Robinson turned into a member of the first batch of “clean Faces” that IBM put forward in 2017 to show off the indisputable fact that younger people are building careers on the platform, and that it’s now not composed utterly of folks of their 50s. That identical yr, Robinson was named an IBM Champion, rounding out an dazzling 12 months for Robinson.
At just 25 years of age, Robinson doesn’t have the in-depth capabilities of the platform that a career IBM i knowledgeable can convey to his job. however that relative newness additionally works the other way and gives Robinson a freshness of point of view on what really matters to groups that rely on the IBM i server and the americans who make it run. And it’s enjoyable to observe a brand new generation re-find the time-confirmed merits the IBM i platform brings.
For starters, it’s clean to listen to that nowadays’s early life can admire decent platform structure. “i really like it. It’s comfortable. It’s as up to date as you desire it to be,” Robinson pointed out all the way through an interview with IT Jungle at the POWERUp convention in Texas this previous might also. “anybody who says it’s historic or out of date is lazy and uninformed. I guess that’s the satisfactory way to put it.”
Robinson turned into hired right out of college three years ago by Arkansas electric Cooperative Corp, a wholesale provider of electricity to 17 individuals that cowl greater than 60 p.c of the state. The co-op automatically set him out to be taught RPG, which the college of Arkansas at Monticello didn’t teach him.
Now, not all and sundry is cut out to be an IBM i developer, not to mention work in RPG, which continues to drop in popularity, based on the TIOBE Index. together with COBOL – another mainframe business language that many formative years spell B-O-R-I-N-G – RPG is likely one of the closing languages that a youthful developer would decide to study, if given their druthers.
however Robinson had a head beginning on the enterprise procedure, thanks partially to his computer science program at college. as a substitute of giving him excessive-degree idea for 4 years, like many laptop science majors do, the UofA required him to take accounting, enterprise, and information classes. In other phrases, Robinson became uncovered to the practical expertise that characterizes many RPG analyst/programmers in the actual world, so he changed into already ahead of the online game.
Robinson has a special role at AECC, which has been using the IBM midrange server for very nearly four decades and is within the procedure of modernizing its homegrown RPG applications. above all, he changed into brought in to function bridge between the older code and coders and the new crop of code and coders as a way to outline the IBM i platform’s subsequent 40 years at AECE.
“i was hired in to gain knowledge of RPG, to study the historic eco-friendly-display stuff, to aid these more skilled builders which are going to retire within the subsequent five to 10 years, and modernize as i'm going, type of shift the present thinking to greater contemporary and RPG free, net, etc.” Robinson says.
AECE has lots of RPG purposes, written in a mix of RPG III and RPG IV. As Robinson comes across an older app throughout the day by day route of company, he’ll open it up in his Rational Developer for IBM i (RDi) code editor, run it through an ARCAD utility code converter to transition it to free form RPG IV, and maybe generate a personal home page-primarily based interface for it the usage of Fresche options‘ WebSmart. Robinson has converted upwards of 400 programs within the remaining few years the usage of this approach.
The purpose is to birth AECC on the path to modernization, if no longer finished it. “The aim isn’t to most effective assist me bridge this studying curve, but to aid anyone they employ coming in after me, not to have them take years to be trained this old RPG code that they’re not going to make use of,” Robinson says. “They’re going to study the free-form RPG. It’s a combination of modernization, and helping any new person who comes in in the back of me kick-start their learning manner and be as effective to the enterprise as possible, inside the shortest period of time.”
Robinson realized right now that not each application must game a latest-searching GUI. “Our accounting and warehousing people, they love the green screen,” he says. “they've that 10-key memorized, one-4-six, out the door, on the truck, and get it brief.”
but on the same time, some AECC employees have taken to up to date php apps a whole lot greater willingly than Robinson would have thought. “Most americans don’t like exchange, so after they give them this satisfactory new fairly net front-conclusion, I figured they’d say no, I desire the eco-friendly screen, it’s what I’m used to,” he says. “however I haven’t had any of that to date. in order that they’ve been fairly adept to alternate and like the means it looks.”
The modernization process isn’t comprehensive at AECC. Having heaps of functions will try this to you. but the co-op has nevertheless found success in its approach, in Robinson methodical strategy to iterative improvement. in fact, AECC received an IBM Innovation Award on the regular conference in New Orleans two years in the past for the work it’s finished with its purposes.
along the style, Robinson has learned a few training. One is that getting to know fastened-layout RPG is a waste of time, principally when first rate code converters will also be had for simply a couple thousand greenbacks. while the syntaxes are similar between free-structure and stuck-format RPG, the presentation makes the entire difference on this planet.
however understanding free-layout RPG – now, that can also be a superb for job security, even for more youthful individuals. “RPG pays relatively respectable, because it’s a exchange that now not a lot of people know,” he says. “if you be aware of Java, you’re going to compete, certainly in an even bigger metropolis, with 200 or 300 individuals for that job. You’ll doubtless be competing with 5 to 10 individuals for an RPG position, and probably seven times out of ten these older individuals are more skilled, up of their 40s and 50s.”
more youthful developers who be aware of RPG should still believe their relative early life to be an skills, he says. “My very own opinion is that they wish to rent someone younger so that they can mold them to program the way they are looking to, and get 30 to 40 year out of them,” he says, “versus hiring somebody who’s greater experienced and may has a bit bit greater knowledge of RPG however is going to go away the company in 5 to 10 years and retire.”
Robinson says the readability of free-form RPG and the vigor of the IBM i existing a effective aggregate for productivity.
“It’s pretty easy and you're feeling completed rolling out an software that you simply understand your customers will love, and it’s pretty effortless to alternate the code if they say, ‘whats up I want to add on these new facets,'” he says. “On any other variety of platform, windows or Linux or another business – logic code, there’s much more nitpicky stuff that’s extra time-ingesting. in case you get into time-drinking stuff, you don’t have as a whole lot time to program and serve your clients the style they deserve to be served.”
Simplicity – in building and administration – has all the time been a trademark of the IBM i platform, however’s a characteristic that seems to get overshadowed by one of the most challenges of operating this system, like the ancient code, retiring coders, and the dreaded “legacy” label.
So it’s clean to hear somebody like Robinson, who has his complete profession in entrance of him, to recognize these advantages, to position himself to leverage them, to internalize them the manner that tens of heaps of AS/400, iSeries, device i, and IBM i builders have performed earlier than, and to share these techniques with the area.
“The previous three years I’ve grown to love the IBM i platform,” Robinson says. “It’s what I want my career to be based on. I’m green with envy of the older developers who've had their 30 years on the platform. I haven’t had one person who said they weren’t simply fully in love and proud that they had their 30 or 40 years on this platform. That’s what I wish to make my influence on the world on the IBM i.”linked studies
IBM energy Champions: showing ardour For The Platform
A formative years circulation For IBM i Champions
formative years, ability, Creativity Ported To IBM i
Free kind RPG ratings IBM i Innovation Award
lots of you have got heard about probably the most oldest programming languages, COBOL, and you have additionally heard that COBOL programmers are a whole lot requested for nowadays to preserve historic legacy code. There’s one more ancient-timer which few find out about and which remains in use and should be in use for rather ages for purposes in a lot of certain fields (i.e. finance, banking, and many others.). Its identify is IBM RPG.as soon as upon a time…
RPG is a high-degree programming language for enterprise purposes. it is an IBM proprietary programming language and its later models are available only on IBM i- or OS/four hundred-primarily based programs.
RPG has been around for more than half a century. via the end of the 1950s, IBM had built an important variety of electromechanical contraptions referred to as tabulating machines. The final industrially produced tabulator model become the IBM 407 Accounting laptop:determine 1. IBM 407 at U.S. military’s Redstone Arsenal, 1961
by the way, this tabulator rented from $800 to $920 per thirty days ($8100 to $9300 per thirty days in 2016 dollars), depending on the mannequin. They have been withdrawn from advertising on December 17, 1976.
As you comprehend, scientific and technological growth become striding forward at the time, and the conclusion of the Nineteen Fifties noticed the birth of the first transistor computer systems. the primary IBM laptop of this class turned into IBM 1401 built in 1959:determine 2. IBM 1401 on the Endicott historical past and Heritage center
The computing device history Museum has one working unit. Take a look at the way it all labored — that’s actually entertaining (I particularly like the phrase “We want a little bit of cooling” at four:41):
To facilitate ease of transition for his or her consumers to the brand new transistor computer systems, IBM developed two equipment in 1959 to copy punched-card processing on computer systems: FARGO (Fourteen-o-one computerized record generation Operation) and RPG (file application Generator). each languages’ syntax resembled that of the guide language of electromechanical tabulators. FARGO and RPG additionally replicated a crucial feature of tabulators: cyclic processing mode (customary because the application cycle), during which tabulators examine punched playing cards, summarized their contents, and printed a outcomes. IBM still keeps backward compatibility with the program cycle even within the latest dialect, RPG IV.
besides the fact that RPG turned into developed below a whole lot have an effect on of FARGO, it took RPG just a few years to replace its predecessor as a extra superior language. The subsequent equipment to acquire RPG guide became mainframe IBM gadget/360 model 20:figure 3. IBM system/360 model 20 at the Deutsches Museum
a couple of years later (at the conclusion of the Nineteen Sixties), IBM released the next dialect, RPG II, for midrange computer device/three:determine 4. Midrange desktop IBM gadget/three mannequin 10 and the operator at work
RPG has considering that developed into an HLL reminiscent of COBOL and PL/I. Its distinctive feature (in contrast to modern languages) was the so referred to as mounted-layout syntax, so classes have been intricate to read devoid of a distinct debugging template.
An RPG software as soon as typically began off with File specifications, checklist all files being written to, read from, or up to date, adopted via facts Definition Specificationscontaining program points such as information buildings and dimensional arrays, a whole lot like a “Working-Storage” part of a COBOL program or “var” statements in Pascal. A variable is defined with a fixed-format Definition Specification. within the Definition Specification, denoted through a letter D in column 6 of a source line, the records type character (see the table below) would be encoded in column forty. also, if the facts classification personality is not noted, this is, left clean, the default will be A if no decimal positions are distinctive. in any other case, the default may be P.
further the Calculation requisites were given, which might be the listing of commands for execution. Output specifications might additionally comply with, they decided the layout of other info or reviews.
the following is the description of all of the requirements forms:
Now, right here’s a small illustration that you can observe reading RPG courses (F and D necessities are omitted):* Asterisk (*) in column 7 defines a remark line * In column 6, you write a character denoting* the specification classification to be used. The type of specification* defines what the source line does (i.e. definitions part,* calculations section, and so on.).* "C" spec (calculation) describes calculations to be accomplished.C HOURS IFLE 40C HOURS MULT rate PAYC ELSEC cost MULT forty PAY 72C HOURS SUB forty OTIME 30C expense MULT 1.5 OTRATE 94C OTRATE MULT OTIME OTPAY 72C ADD OTPAY PAYC conclusion
This code appears complicated, doesn’t it? And that’s just an easy payroll tax calculation for an hourly worker (employees get time and a half for hour labored beyond the primary forty).
In 1978, IBM delivered midrange computer device/38 and a brand new RPG dialect, RPG III, for it:determine 6. Midrange desktop IBM device/38
From that moment on, IBM changed into gradually abolishing the limitations of the language; programmers had been allowed to jot down requisites in free form:/free If Hours <= forty; Pay = Hours * rate; Else; Pay = (40 * rate) + ((Hours — 40) * (expense * 1.5)); EndIf; /conclusion-free
finally, the closing version, RPG IV (aka RPGLE, ILE RPG), was released in 1994. Its three prominent elements are built-in functions, processes, and free-kind programming. until November 2013, the free format applied solely to the calculation specifications. With the V7R1 TR7 upgrade to the language, the “/free” and “/end-free” calculations are no longer fundamental, and the language has ultimately broken the ties to punched playing cards.
I also recommend this doc the place IBM demonstrates the drastic alterations made to the language. RPG is still a popular programming language on the IBM i operating device, which runs on IBM power i platform hardware:figure 7. IBM energy i server collection
All in all, the RPG programming language has been used on 1401, /360, /3, /32, /34, /36, /38 AS/400 and gadget i systems. There have additionally been implementations for the Digital VAX, Sperry Univac BC/7, Univac gadget 80, Siemens BS2000, Burroughs B700, B1700, Hewlett Packard HP3000, ICL 2900 sequence, Honeywell 6220 and 2020, four-part IV/70 and IV/90 series, Singer gadget 10 and WANG VS, in addition to miscellaneous compilers and runtime environments for Unix-primarily based programs, akin to Infinite36 (formerly Unibol 36), and PCs (baby/400, Lattice-RPG).
today, RPG IV is a higher language. editing can nevertheless be accomplished via SEU, the simple green-display editor:figure eight. eco-friendly-screen editor
besides the fact that children, a long progression of equipment has been developed over time. Some of these have protected visual Age for RPG, which turned into developed by IBM and promoted via Jon Paris and others. presently the favorite enhancing platform is IBM’s Websphere building Studio customer, now named RDi (Rational Developer for i), which is a customized implementation of Eclipse:determine 9. Rational Developer for i
there is also an RPG compiler for Microsoft .web. This version consists of extensions to RPG IV past that of the bottom IBM compiler. These extensions give Microsoft home windows and .net hooks in the Native and system 36 environment, as smartly because the means to port DB/2 information to Microsoft entry and Microsoft SQL Server databases by the use of ODBC.Conclusion
however RPG is fairly an unique language, it's a undeniable fact that there exists a big quantity of code written in it in selected fields reminiscent of finance, banking, and so forth. The language is reasonably distinct: it comprises four dialects and helps both fastened- and free-form programming. The deserve to preserve old legacy code and write new code drive corporations to seek RPG builders, who appear to be on the crimson checklist for threatened species. Given the instances, extra code-exceptional control tools similar to static analyzers are a great deal referred to as for.
You should have already guessed what the cause of writing this article is and what we're using at. You’re appropriate: they are actually on the grounds that the concept of creating a static code analyzer for the RPG language. I trust such an analyzer can be a great aid to folks that still retain and boost RPG programs. but they haven’t come to a decision yet. for sure, it’s quite a selected niche.
That’s why they want you to inform us in case you desire PVS-Studio analyzer to develop into a device that could detect bugs in RPG courses. dear potential users of PVS-Studio RPG, they are trying to find you. Don’t hesitate to e-mail us!
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October 8, 2018 Alex Woodie
Application modernization is a big nut to crack on IBM i. That is to say, there are many ways to tackle the problem, from the code and business logic to the databases and user interfaces. But when it comes to the type of developers you should look for and how they should spend their time, Kody Robinson has a few pointers that may be worth keeping in mind.
Robinson was a member of the first batch of “Fresh Faces” that IBM put forward in 2017 to showcase the fact that young people are building careers on the platform, and that it’s not composed wholly of folks in their 50s. That same year, Robinson was named an IBM Champion, rounding out an impressive year for Robinson.
At just 25 years of age, Robinson doesn’t have the in-depth knowledge of the platform that a career IBM i professional can bring to his job. But that relative newness also works the other way and gives Robinson a freshness of perspective on what really matters to companies that rely on the IBM i server and the people who make it run. And it’s fun to watch a new generation re-discover the time-tested advantages the IBM i platform brings.
For starters, it’s refreshing to hear that today’s youth can appreciate good platform architecture. “I love it. It’s secure. It’s as modern as you want it to be,” Robinson said during an interview with IT Jungle at the POWERUp conference in Texas this past May. “Anybody who says it’s old or outdated is lazy and uninformed. I guess that’s the nice way to put it.”
Robinson was hired right out of college three years ago by Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp, a wholesale provider of electricity to 17 members that cover more than 60 percent of the state. The co-op immediately set him out to learn RPG, which the University of Arkansas at Monticello didn’t teach him.
Now, not everybody is cut out to be an IBM i developer, let alone work in RPG, which continues to drop in popularity, according to the TIOBE Index. Together with COBOL – another mainframe business language that many youth spell B-O-R-I-N-G – RPG is one of the last languages that a youthful developer would choose to learn, if given their druthers.
But Robinson had a head start on the business process, thanks in part to his computer science program at college. Instead of giving him high-level theory for four years, like many computer science majors do, the UofA required him to take accounting, business, and statistics classes. In other words, Robinson was exposed to the practical know-how that characterizes many RPG analyst/programmers in the real world, so he was already ahead of the game.
Robinson has a unique role at AECC, which has been using the IBM midrange server for nearly four decades and is in the process of modernizing its homegrown RPG applications. Specifically, he was brought in to serve as bridge between the older code and coders and the new crop of code and coders that will define the IBM i platform’s next 40 years at AECE.
“I was hired in to learn RPG, to learn the old green-screen stuff, to help these more experienced developers that are going to retire in the next five to 10 years, and modernize as I go, kind of shift the current thinking to more modern and RPG free, Web, etc.” Robinson says.
AECE has thousands of RPG applications, written in a mixture of RPG III and RPG IV. As Robinson comes across an older app during the daily course of business, he’ll open it up in his Rational Developer for IBM i (RDi) code editor, run it through an ARCAD Software code converter to transition it to free form RPG IV, and possibly generate a PHP-based interface for it using Fresche Solutions‘ WebSmart. Robinson has converted upwards of 400 programs in the last few years using this approach.
The goal is to start AECC on the path to modernization, if not complete it. “The goal isn’t to only help me bridge this learning curve, but to help anybody they hire coming in after me, not to have them take years to learn this old RPG code that they’re not going to use,” Robinson says. “They’re going to learn the free-form RPG. It’s a mixture of modernization, and helping any new person who comes in behind me kick-start their learning process and be as valuable to the company as possible, within the shortest amount of time.”
Robinson learned quickly that not every program needs to sport a modern-looking GUI. “Our accounting and warehousing people, they love the green screen,” he says. “They have that 10-key memorized, one-four-six, out the door, on the truck, and get it quick.”
But at the same time, some AECC workers have taken to modern PHP apps much more willingly than Robinson would have thought. “Most people don’t like change, so when they give them this nice new pretty Web front-end, I figured they’d say no, I want the green screen, it’s what I’m used to,” he says. “But I haven’t had any of that so far. So they’ve been pretty adept to change and like the way it looks.”
The modernization process isn’t complete at AECC. Having thousands of applications will do that to you. But the co-op has still found success in its approach, in Robinson methodical approach to iterative improvement. In fact, AECC won an IBM Innovation Award at the COMMON conference in New Orleans two years ago for the work it’s done with its applications.
Along the way, Robinson has learned a few lessons. One is that learning fixed-format RPG is a waste of time, especially when good code converters can be had for just a couple thousand dollars. While the syntaxes are identical between free-format and fixed-format RPG, the presentation makes all the difference in the world.
But knowing free-format RPG – now, that can be a good for job security, even for younger folks. “RPG pays pretty good, because it’s a trade that not a lot of people know,” he says. “If you know Java, you’re going to compete, especially in a bigger city, with 200 or 300 people for that job. You’ll probably be competing with five to ten people for an RPG position, and probably seven times out of ten those older people are more experienced, up in their 40s and 50s.”
Younger developers who know RPG should consider their relative youth to be an advantage, he says. “My personal opinion is they want to hire somebody younger so they can mold them to program the way they want to, and get 30 to 40 year out of them,” he says, “versus hiring somebody who’s more experienced and may has a little bit more knowledge of RPG but is going to leave the company in five to 10 years and retire.”
Robinson says the readability of free-form RPG and the power of the IBM i present a potent combination for productivity.
“It’s pretty straightforward and you feel accomplished rolling out an application that you know your customers will love, and it’s pretty easy to change the code if they say, ‘Hey I want to add on these new features,'” he says. “On any other kind of platform, Windows or Linux or any other business – logic code, there’s a lot more nitpicky stuff that’s more time-consuming. If you get into time-consuming stuff, you don’t have as much time to program and serve your customers the way they deserve to be served.”
Simplicity – in development and administration – has always been a hallmark of the IBM i platform, but it’s a feature that seems to get overshadowed by some of the challenges of running this system, like the old code, retiring coders, and the dreaded “legacy” label.
So it’s refreshing to hear somebody like Robinson, who has his whole career in front of him, to recognize these advantages, to position himself to leverage them, to internalize them the way that tens of thousands of AS/400, iSeries, System i, and IBM i developers have done before, and to share those thoughts with the world.
“The past three years I’ve grown to love the IBM i platform,” Robinson says. “It’s what I want my career to be based on. I’m envious of the older developers who have had their 30 years on the platform. I haven’t had one person who said they weren’t just absolutely in love and proud they had their 30 or 40 years on this platform. That’s what I want to make my impact on the world on the IBM i.”RELATED STORIES
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Many of you have heard about one of the oldest programming languages, COBOL, and you have also heard that COBOL programmers are much asked for nowadays to maintain old legacy code. There’s another old-timer which few know about and which is still in use and will be in use for quite a while for applications in various specific fields (i.e. finance, banking, etc.). Its name is IBM RPG.Once upon a time…
RPG is a high-level programming language for business applications. It is an IBM proprietary programming language and its later versions are available only on IBM i- or OS/400-based systems.
RPG has been around for more than half a century. By the end of the 1950s, IBM had built a huge number of electromechanical devices called tabulating machines. The last mass-produced tabulator model was the IBM 407 Accounting Machine:Figure 1. IBM 407 at U.S. Army’s Redstone Arsenal, 1961
By the way, this tabulator rented from $800 to $920 per month ($8100 to $9300 per month in 2016 dollars), depending on the model. They were withdrawn from marketing on December 17, 1976.
As you know, scientific and technological progress was striding forward at the time, and the end of the 1950s saw the birth of the first transistor computers. The first IBM computer of this type was IBM 1401 built in 1959:Figure 2. IBM 1401 at the Endicott History and Heritage Center
The Computer History Museum has one working unit. Take a look at how it all worked — that’s really interesting (I especially like the phrase “We need a little bit of cooling” at 4:41):
To facilitate ease of transition for their customers to the new transistor computers, IBM developed two tools in 1959 to replicate punched-card processing on computers: FARGO (Fourteen-o-one Automatic Report Generation Operation) and RPG (Report Program Generator). Both languages’ syntax resembled that of the instruction language of electromechanical tabulators. FARGO and RPG also replicated an important feature of tabulators: cyclic processing mode (known as the program cycle), in which tabulators read punched cards, summarized their contents, and printed a result. IBM still maintains backward compatibility with the program cycle even in the latest dialect, RPG IV.
Even though RPG was developed under much influence of FARGO, it took RPG just a few years to replace its predecessor as a more superior language. The next system to receive RPG support was mainframe IBM System/360 Model 20:Figure 3. IBM System/360 Model 20 at the Deutsches Museum
A couple of years later (at the end of the 1960s), IBM released the next dialect, RPG II, for midrange computer System/3:Figure 4. Midrange computer IBM System/3 Model 10 and the operator at work
RPG has since evolved into an HLL equivalent to COBOL and PL/I. Its distinctive feature (in contrast to modern languages) was the so called fixed-format syntax, so programs were difficult to read without a special debugging template.
An RPG program once typically started off with File Specifications, listing all files being written to, read from, or updated, followed by Data Definition Specificationscontaining program elements such as Data Structures and dimensional arrays, much like a “Working-Storage” section of a COBOL program or “var” statements in Pascal. A variable is defined with a fixed-format Definition Specification. In the Definition Specification, denoted by a letter D in column 6 of a source line, the data type character (see the table below) would be encoded in column 40. Also, if the data type character is omitted, that is, left blank, the default will be A if no decimal positions are specified. Otherwise, the default will be P.
Further the Calculation Specifications were given, which are the list of commands for execution. Output Specifications could also follow, they determined the layout of other files or reports.
The following is the description of all the specifications types:
Now, here’s a small example for you to practice reading RPG programs (F and D specifications are omitted):* Asterisk (*) in column 7 defines a comment line * In column 6, you write a character denoting* the specification type to be used. The type of specification* defines what the source line does (i.e. definitions section,* calculations section, etc.).* "C" spec (calculation) describes calculations to be done.C HOURS IFLE 40C HOURS MULT RATE PAYC ELSEC RATE MULT 40 PAY 72C HOURS SUB 40 OTIME 30C RATE MULT 1.5 OTRATE 94C OTRATE MULT OTIME OTPAY 72C ADD OTPAY PAYC END
This code looks complicated, doesn’t it? And that’s just a simple payroll tax calculation for an hourly employee (employees get time and a half for hour worked beyond the first 40).
In 1978, IBM introduced midrange computer System/38 and a new RPG dialect, RPG III, for it:Figure 6. Midrange computer IBM System/38
From that moment on, IBM was gradually abolishing the limitations of the language; programmers were allowed to write specifications in free form:/free If Hours <= 40; Pay = Hours * Rate; Else; Pay = (40 * Rate) + ((Hours — 40) * (Rate * 1.5)); EndIf; /end-free
Finally, the last version, RPG IV (aka RPGLE, ILE RPG), was released in 1994. Its three prominent features are built-in functions, procedures, and free-form programming. Until November 2013, the free format applied exclusively to the calculation specifications. With the V7R1 TR7 upgrade to the language, the “/free” and “/end-free” calculations are no longer necessary, and the language has finally broken the ties to punched cards.
I also recommend looking at this document where IBM demonstrates the drastic changes made to the language. RPG remains a popular programming language on the IBM i operating system, which runs on IBM Power i platform hardware:Figure 7. IBM Power i server series
All in all, the RPG programming language has been used on 1401, /360, /3, /32, /34, /36, /38 AS/400 and System i systems. There have also been implementations for the Digital VAX, Sperry Univac BC/7, Univac system 80, Siemens BS2000, Burroughs B700, B1700, Hewlett Packard HP3000, ICL 2900 series, Honeywell 6220 and 2020, Four-Phase IV/70 and IV/90 series, Singer System 10 and WANG VS, as well as miscellaneous compilers and runtime environments for Unix-based systems, such as Infinite36 (formerly Unibol 36), and PCs (Baby/400, Lattice-RPG).
Today, RPG IV is a more robust language. Editing can still be done via SEU, the simple green-screen editor:Figure 8. Green-screen editor
However, a long progression of tools has been developed over time. Some of these have included Visual Age for RPG, which was developed by IBM and promoted by Jon Paris and others. Currently the preferred editing platform is IBM’s Websphere Development Studio client, now named RDi (Rational Developer for i), which is a customized implementation of Eclipse:Figure 9. Rational Developer for i
There is also an RPG compiler for Microsoft .NET. This version contains extensions to RPG IV beyond that of the base IBM compiler. These extensions provide Microsoft Windows and .NET hooks in the Native and System 36 environment, as well as the ability to port DB/2 files to Microsoft Access and Microsoft SQL Server databases via ODBC.Conclusion
Although RPG is quite an exotic language, it is a fact that there exists a large amount of code written in it in specific fields such as finance, banking, and the like. The language is quite diverse: it includes 4 dialects and supports both fixed- and free-form programming. The need to maintain old legacy code and write new code force companies to seek RPG developers, who seem to be on the Red List for threatened species. Given the circumstances, additional code-quality control tools such as static analyzers are much called for.
You must have already guessed what the reason for writing this article is and what they are driving at. You’re right: they are now considering the idea of creating a static code analyzer for the RPG language. I believe such an analyzer would be a great aid to those who still maintain and develop RPG programs. But they haven’t come to a decision yet. Needless to say, it’s quite a specific niche.
That’s why they need you to tell us if you want PVS-Studio analyzer to become a tool that could detect bugs in RPG programs. Dear potential users of PVS-Studio RPG, they are looking for you. Don’t hesitate to email us!
In this installment of ROM Developer Spotlight, they ask Chad Goodman of Anthrax-Kernels.us a little bit about himself and his development life. For those who are not familiar with Chad, he’s written many kernels for the HTC EVO line of phones, along with some that work on other devices.
For the past year or so, Chad has had a running history of being one of the most interesting developers to watch – both on the development front, and in clashes with other developers.
For their readers who don’t know who you are in the development community, how would you introduce yourself?
My Name is Chad. My programming experience started out on AS/400 systems running COBOL, RPG-IV, CICS. I never got into the Java side of things. My experience grew into C and C++ while working on closed-source kernels for IBM AS/400 systems. They did not have an open source community to “cherry pick” from, so they were forced to do real development instead of relying on the work of others.
I also have experience as a network engineer, a data center manager, and I hold various Microsoft and hardware certifications. Prior to my career in information technology, I was in retail management for 5+ years, as well as an auto mechanic (until a back injury).
Have you ever developed ROMs? If so, which ones?
In the past, I did basic theming – no actual development. I have been working on a project over the last month or so, and I released it the other day. I released the first (and only) fully Linaro optimized CM10-based ROM with -O3 optimization for a HTC device. I searched high and low for any Linaro optimized AOSP or CM10 rom for any HTC device, and have not found any. Today, they have a Shooter (HTC EVO 3D) version.
Can you give a quick rundown of what Linaro and –O3 mean to the end user?
Linaro is a group of open source developers. They develop toolchains (compiler), as well as AOSP ROMs and kernels. They are known for having the most optimized and cleanest code, as well as the best performance. Most of my learning was from reading their commits and patches.
Compiling with Linaro will generate errors and warnings on most kernels; its a “strict” compiler, so to speak. There are two ways to approach this: either just fix the code causing the error (what most developers do, including my public kernel source), or optimize the code where the errors/warnings exist, as is done in the Linaro repo (this is what my close source kernels do – some of this took a long time to do, since linaro kernels are now at linux 3.6 vs linux 3.0 used in my kernels).
-O is an optimization level. There is -Os (optimize for size), -O1, O2, -O3 (most optimization), and, depending on your toolchains, there is -Ofast. -O3 is the highest level of optimization. -O3 is also known to cause issues if the source itself is not optimized, but on clean source, end users report a noticeable increase in performance.
How did you get started in kernel design?
I did it for a living for closed source hardware. While it was not Linux, it was similar. I decided I wanted to make a kernel for my phone, and add features no other kernel had – features such as audio enhancements, better audio streaming over Bluetooth, and just massive optimization, to increase battery life and performance without the need to increase clock speed. I did this, gave it to a few friends who pushed me to post it on XDA, and it just took off from there. I do want to thank ziggy471 for getting me started on the basics of Linux development, as well as showp1984 for introducing me to the Linaro toolchains. It took me a while to make a -O3 compliant kernel using Google’s NDK toolchains to work with Linaro toolchains, but the effort was well worth it.
How did you get involved in the EVO community?
I started in the EVO 3D community because it was the device I owned. My kernels were started as a personal project to run on my phone; I did not intend for it to be available to the masses.
The products you release currently require signing up for your website and becoming authorized before downloading. Would you mind explaining a bit about what lead to this?
This has to do with the requirements to be GPL compliant. The GPL states that kernels released within a private organization are not required to comply with GPL, unless the kernels are released to the “general public”. My keeping my site a “private organization” allows me to, from a technical point, be 100% complaint with GPL’s policies and rules.
Some wonder why I am against releasing source, and I want to clarify some things on this. Prior to me posting kernels on XDA, I got the approval from XDA’s administrative staff to post without complete source, as some code was released to me under a NDA. Just like the kernels for the HTC EVO 4G LTE do not contain the WiFi drivers from HTC, my kernels omitted source for some audio drivers produced by Beats Audio (Monster Audio). An employee that represented these companies released the source to me under a NDA, so I made use of it (with XDA’s permission).
In my first kernels, I was mainly pulling updates form source code form other devices, and my focus was 100% on audio. Some GPU and performance changes I made came mainly from the Vigor (HTC Rezound). Other developers at this point knew my Bluetooth and audio drivers were superior to anything XDA had to offer, so some accused me of kanging their source. The source that was in question was GPL drivers; that was a line-for-line match to the Rezound drivers at htcdev.com at the time. It was later discovered that the false accusations against me was an attempt to force me to release full source to prove I did not kang. Due to the amount of drama this caused, I decided I would actually pull all my work from XDA and not share anything, mainly due to the community standing behind the other developers.
You’ve been one of the most polarizing developers in the EVO community. What’s it been like being seen as both the bad guy and the good guy to scores of people, depending on who managed to spin it?
Its actually quite irritating. When all this drama started, staff members on XDA decided to hide posts, screen shots, and other evidence that I was innocent of what I was accused of, yet posts accusing me of wrong doing were allowed to remain. I feel some of the staff at XDA is biased.
People who defended me got “infracted,” or even banned. While people talking trash against me got “warned,” the punishment was far harsher for those in favor of defending me.
I was even called a “c***,” “idiot,” and “scum” by an elite recognized developer who had no business even being in HTC EVO 3D section on XDA, and XDA’s staff thanked that post. That tells me no warning or infraction was issued. That post was reported and no one removed it. It took two days after the main XDA forum administrator was asked to address the issue.
Someone said “Chad had that first, how did Chad kang you?” and got infractions within minutes. Google’s cached pages were my proof of innocence, but these are only available for six months, so today, most are gone. People who openly admit they witnessed the drama are label “liars.”
While XDA probably matters some due to the large developer and test-bed audience, has being away from the place adversely affected your development efforts?
Being away from XDA has not really affected me. While most think I was banned from XDA, I want to make it clear that I asked to have my account, my work, and all my threads removed from XDA several hours before the general population thought I was “banned.”
As I stated earlier, I do this for me, not for the users. I do it to prove to myself that I can do things no other developer on XDA has been able to do (fixing things and making things work without source to work from). What I made, I use. Feedback from users just helps me improve things. While I created and invented the modification that allows you to control the sweep2wake modifications, it was a request from an end-user that made me create this modification.
You had a long and very public fight with another developer that evidently involved a third party launching an attack on your website with police involvement ensuing. Can you go into any detail on that?
One of the administrators of my site is a forensics investigator for a nationwide internet service provider in their network security department. I myself also have a few years experience in network security. Together, they were able to get the IP addresses of people who attempted DoS attacks on my sites.
Using their connections with various internet providers, as well as a lawyer I am personal friends with, they were able to translate this IP address to a account name and address, and for domestic accounts, they filed charges.
Some investigations are still on-going, so I can not go into further detail on this at this time, other than to say there have been several arrests, and some of the arrests turned in to “guilty” pleas in a court of law.
Not to go into detail, but the reason that at least one post was required before people could download is to get their “real” IP address. When a user registers – they track and log their IP address, but this IP address may be that of a proxy server.
We have a script that will pull both the “real” IP address as well as the IP address of the proxy server, if a user is connecting via a internet anonymous proxy server, or using some other method of hiding their “real” IP address.
What do you think is the greatest misconception about you?
Other developers have told the community that I am in fact breaking GPL, and that I have kanged their work. Due to how “popular” and “well known” these other developers are, the community, as well as some staff on XDA, labeled me as a kanger (one who uses code from other people, and claims it as their own).
This “label,” as well as all the false information being posted about me has caused issues in real life, mainly with getting a job as a software developer.
I wish people would do their own research on kanging and GPL policies and not just find me guilty, because “developer x” is a “big developer” or more well known, or a long time favorite of the community.
To this day, a team of develoepers is still pushing the community to label me a kanger, yet no one can prove it. There is proof that I did in fact have the kernel first, but some people decided to hide this from the general public.
I actually had someone who stole from me and give credit to someone else say, “I got it from them, and they are a big developer, so you kanged them” – when I had the feature in the hands of end users three to four months prior in this specific example.
It seems people also refuse to look at date and time stamps, as well as actual discussion of the work taking place in my threads days to months before someone else invented the same modification.
Where does someone start if they want to do what you do?
I would find a developer who commits their changes to a public repo, and describes what the commit (update/change) is actually doing. Some develoeprs just say “updating,” so if someone is attempting to learn from that developer, it’s not gonna happen.
We have a public version of my Shooter/Shooter_u kernel. It does not have any of my “written from scratch” work, and most of the patches are just common sense changes. If you were to look at the description of the commit, I am very detailed in what the change does. People should be able to learn from git repos like this.
What do you enjoy doing that’s completely not development related?
I like working on cars, watching Adult Swim, and just hanging out. I also fix computers as a hobby, and I have a 1/8 scale on-road gas powered RC car that does about 75MPH … just gotta find a new place to run it.
Everything else is kinda development related – doing new things, seeing how I can improve my current work.
I managed to miss the cease fire between you and another developer. Has the old XDA drama finally died down as a result of that, or does it still go on?
There is still drama. Other developers trash talk on Google+ or Twitter. But the trash talking on XDA itself seems to have died down.
I’m still accused of kanging, and people are still upset I don’t release source. Once in a while (mainly in the HTC Sensation forums), people out of no where start accusing me of software piracy and distributing warez due to the fact I do not release source.
I just wish XDA’s moderation team would educate these users on ALL aspects of the GPL. General users assume GPL means source is posted. There is a lot more to it that that.
Looking at GPL’s requirements, I would say less than 5% of kernels on XDA are 100% compliant, and in the eyes of the law, you are either compliant or you are not. I think if the general public had a better understanding of ALL of the GPL requirements, they would back off.
What’s your current motivation in making these kernels – has it paid off for you?
I still mainly make them for me. Everything I build, I run. There are a few exceptions. My 8660 series kernels are universal, using the same source I use to build for the HTC EVO 3D, I can build for the Sensation, GSM EVO 3D, Rezound, Amaze, and Vivid devices. I made patches similar to this that allow one source tree to work on different devices depending on what default configuration file you pick.
That specific patch there allows Buttered Toast to work on GSM and CDMA devices, so any changes made to non-board specific files apply to both devices. Using patches like that, my kernels support many devices, so I build for the Sensation, GSM, and CDMA as it really requires no additional work from me and there is a high demand for them.
I also build for the EVO 4G LTE, as I now have one of these. To be honest, if I did not own a device, or use my own work, I would not build for it. No matter how large the demand, due to the amount of back stabbing and drama, the pay off is proving to myself as well as the community that I can do things without source.
I had fixed the GB HTC EVO camera issue for the 2.17 EVO 3D base before HTC released source for the 2.17 OTA, I had stable and working WiMAX in the Linux 3 kernels for the 3D long before HTC released source; where other developers had WiMAX, it was not stable, and caused reboots.
You also could not turn them on, then off, then back on. My WiMAX builds were as stable as the HTC builds are today.
Has restricting your kernel to members only limited the base, or do you find that people are flocking to your site to get it?
I never asked for donations, and actually refused donations for the longest time, so I’m not sure. I also don’t track downloads.
When I did release on XDA, I was average 3000+ downloads of each build. I do not have this many active members on my site, so the user base is most likely reduced. I also know people are unaware I even still develop. I get a lot of “wow, I found you,” PMs on my site.
Without naming names, could you tell us a bit about how some people are getting credit for stolen kernel work?
I have several git repos located on bitbucket, and one day, I created a new one, and uploaded some source to it, but forgot to make it private. This source was 100% public for about two days.
I got an email from someone thanking me for making my work public. At this point I realized the error, and fixed it. This “leaked” source contained my gingerbread kernel source, and a few branches within the repo for Linux 3.0.8 and 3.0.16.
Some of the tweaks and modifications to this source are in use today all over XDA, and others are claiming credit for it. Since I do not make my work public, and I am no longer on XDA, the general users have no idea who truly had what first. What I will say is there were features in my Gingerbread kernels three-four months before others had them.
I have also helped other developers on G-Talk for hours, giving them fixes, and sharing source with them to help them get started. These developers are active on xda-developers today, and they are claiming credit for work I produced, and they have the nerve to tell the community I kanged them, yet – prior to me teaching them how to even compile a kernel – one of the two developers had no clue.
It comes down to money. I never asked for donations, and I actually refused donations for several months. Other developers are claiming credit for my work, and asking for donations from their users.
I am not the only victim of this. I recently discovered a well known developer is pulling patches from either kernel.org, CAF, or Linaro, applying the patch as it existed upstream, then claiming they had to modify it for HTC, or modify it for Linux 3.0. In reality, the patch is 100% line for line identical to the upstream patch.
Then these developers openly accuse me of kanging this same exact patch from them, when in fact I got it from CAF or Linaro (or kernel.org). If you look at the change log in my OPs, you can see each change has credit to someone. I do give credit to the person or place I got the change from, but this may or may not be the person who created the patch or modification. (I just don’t have the time to research where something really came from.)
Is there any way for an average user to tell when someone’s kanging kernel components?
The easiest way is to watch the developers, and see who releases what first. Watch what features are being discussed in the threads. For example, a user requested a specific feature on my forum. They wanted programable start and end points for the sweep2wake mod. I told them I would have it soon. Within the week, I released it, and asked for feedback.
The day after people started providing feedback for it, another developer came up with the same tweak to sweep2wake, but his was just start point, not end point. This developer then told everyone he invented it, and it was his original idea he came up with on his own.
The next day, he added code to allow the end point to be configured. Since I am not on XDA, users there believe this other developer truly invented this, due to the fact they are 100% unaware it was in the hands of my users days prior. I also had this repo public until this other developer claimed credit for my work, so a developer could get the patch for Buttered Toast.
Another way to check for kangs is to look at KMSG logs. In the past i had put code in various parts of the kernel that would display “ANTHRAX” in the KMSG logs, but when you searched the source code, you would not see anthrax in plain text.
When I did this in a public repo, there are at least three other developers who had “anthrax” in their KMSG logs, yet they denied kanging me, and claimed I kanged them. The developers have caught onto this recently, and the ones who did have “anthrax” in their KMSG logs got it removed within a few hours – but they still got caught. Most users do not know how to read source code, or download github repos, but I have “easter eggs” hidden in parts of my code, even in Buttered Toast.
Have you ever considered measures that an end-user could see to protect your kernel code such as a 4-fingered downward swipe would display the AnthraX logo Easter egg? That way everyone would know what the deal was and not just developers.
Stuff like this would be more userspace (ROM-side) mods. I managed to hide KMSG messages in open source versions of my kernel. The best protection is not releasing source. I have become super aware of the status of my bitbucket repos now, and I double check new ones before I upload the source.
Who are some other developers or what are some new developments that are out that you think people should be aware of?
Just like I had two kernels in the past – one for XDA with full source disclosed, and one for InfectedROM without source disclosed – ButteredToast is the equivalent of my GPL compliant kernels of the past. So, on XDA, these would be the kernel of choice for GSM and CDMA EVO 3D devices. They do not contain the audio drivers, Bluetooth drivers, the SMP driver, and CPU tables and drivers I use in Anthrax, but it is the closest you can get to the original. There are other “un-authorized” copies of anthrax/Buttered Toast out there – but users should support the “original” and not wanna-be copies.
What do you hope for the future of development? Of XDA? Of AnthraX-Kernels.us?
I will personally continue to develop on devices I personally use – and provide a drama-free place for other developers to share their work.
As far as XDA, it is what it is. It was my choice to leave there – not theirs. The only downside to me not being on XDA is that the general user base is 100% unaware that I still work on kernels, and this kinda makes it hard to prevent the kanging going on.
If my kernels were still on XDA, people would see that I did in fact have the features I’m accused of kanging long before other developers.
As far as anthrax-kernels.us – it is a drama free place – anyone is welcome to join. First sign of drama, and you’re gone.
If you have any questions for Chad, feel free to post them below.
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