RPG Toolkit Updated for TR7 Capabilities
October 22, 2013 Dan Burger
Converting old RPG code to new RPG code is nothing new for Linoma Software. The company’s RPG Toolbox has handled conversions for thousands of IBM midrange shops since V5R1, according to company literature. The latest release of the Toolbox is version 5.0 release. The enhancements will enable fixed format RPG conversions to the free form syntax that is available with the IBM i Technology Refresh 7.
IBM’s TR7 was announced on October 7 and becomes generally available November 15. Linoma Chief Technology Officer Bob Luebbe says the RPG Toolbox 5.0 will be available by the end of November.
Luebbe explained that prior to TR7 only the C specification portion of fixed format RPG could be recompiled as free format. He estimated that millions of lines of complex RPG source code have been successfully converted to free form over the years with the RPG Toolbox.
With the V7R1 technology release, IBM is touting a major RPG enhancement by allowing the traditional H, F, D and P specifications to also be recompiled in free form syntax.
IBM also made a point of heralding an RPG conversion tool produced by ARCAD Software and co-branded with IBM Rational during the TR7 announcement. That action surprised Linoma as that company had worked with IBM on the earlier versions of the RPG Tollkit.
Luebbe said the 5.0 version of the RPG Toolbox will support all those spec conversions with an expected 100 percent success rate.
RPG Toolbox includes more than 40 options for customizing the conversion process, allowing customers to choose how operations are converted and how the syntax will be styled. Operations that can be converted to free form include left-hand indicators, right-hand indicators, calc-defined work fields, embedded SQL, MOVEAs, CALL statements, Key Lists, as wells as MOVE operations with dissimilar field lengths and types. Source can be converted to upper case, lower case or mixed case.
“Besides making it easier for RPG developers to maintain, it will be much easier for non-RPG programmers to learn this new free form syntax, since it will be more consistent with other modern language,” Luebbe said.
The RPG Toolbox can also be used to clean up old definitions and logic found within RPG source code. It can find unused stand-alone work fields, subroutines, prototypes, key lists, parameter lists and tags. By removing inactive source code, programs will compile and run faster. It will also make it easier to maintain and test these programs because developers can focus on the active source code.
All RPG Toolbox commands, including the free form converter, can be launched from an IBM i command line, whether it’s PDM or from Rational Developer for i. The command for indenting nested free form logic, making the source easier to read and maintain, is one example.
Version 5.0 of the RPG Toolbox is estimated to be available by the end of November 2013. Existing customers, who are current on maintenance, can upgrade at no additional charge.
Pricing for RPG Toolbox is processor based from $995 to $3,495, without limitations on the number of programs that can be converted. A free 30-day trial of the current RPG Toolbox can be downloaded at www.linomasoftware.com.