IBM Opens Up the EGL Cafe, But Will People Stop By?
July 21, 2008 Timothy Prickett Morgan
I know, I know. The last thing in the world you want to hear about is the need to learn a new programming language. Or, if you are an IT manager, to pay in terms of time and money to get your programming staff trained on a new language. But this is what IBM is asking customers to do with Enterprise Generation Language (EGL), the heart of Web application development in its recently upgraded set of Rational tools.
Half the battle of getting companies to even look at a programming language, much less using it, is to convince programmers that the skills that they have already spent years learning cannot in some way be deployed for the task at hand. As we all know by now, there are a zillion ways to get legacy RPG and COBOL applications running on midrange and mainframe gear Web-enabled, and whole new programming languages like Java and C# in which to code applications from scratch. What IBM wants customers to do this time around with the Rational tools is to take those RPG and COBOL applications and put them through a code generator that can kick out COBOL or Java applications automagically, and more importantly for i5/OS and i shops, to use the Rational tools to extend RPG and COBOL applications with SOA-style extensions that are themselves created in EGL and then rendered in Java. (I am not going to get into the EGL theology question here. You can check out our coverage of EGL in the Related Stories section below.)
In any event, IBM has opened an online community and resource center called the EGL Cafe for programmers to go to download code and learn about EGL from IBM and each other. The site includes trial downloads for the core Rational Business Developer V7.1 tool as well as for Rational Developer for System z V7.1 and Rational Developer for System i V7.1. The site also includes a download of the pre-release alpha for EGL Rich Web Support, and has a facility called the EGL Exchange that allows programmers to submit EGL snippets for reuse by their peers. There are also tutorials and documentation put together by Jon Sayles, a programming expert within IBM’s Software Group.