Krengel Soothes RPG to XML Integration Needs
February 4, 2014 Alex Woodie
When RPG was first created more than 50 years ago, XML was not even a twinkle in a Web developer’s eye. A lot has changed since then, including the emergence of XML as the lingua franca for commerce on the Web. Despite the difference in age, you can, in fact, use XML with your RPG applications. And with the latest release of Krengel Technology‘s RPG-XML Suite version 3.0, the connection between RPG and XML gets stronger than ever.
RPG-XML Suite is a collection of RPG service programs and APIs that enable IBM i apps to compose, transmit, and parse XML documents. Whether IBM i shops want to expose their RPG logic via XML-based Web services or they want to consume Web services from third parties (such as UPS, eBay, Salesforce, and e-payment gateways) within an RPG application, the RPG-XML Suite can handle it.
With the latest release of the product, Krengeltech has bolstered the technical innards of the IBM i-based product to provide more polished capabilities. For starters, Krengel offers full support for 16 MB fields (on IBM i 6.1 and higher). This is important because it enables Web services developed with RPG-XML Suite to be able to handle large XML documents with in-memory storage.
Support for 16 MB fields is critical because it eliminates the need to use stream files for larger files, which is a hassle, says Krengeltech developer Greg Bissey. “It’s very common for an order in the real world to occasionally exceed the old 64K limit, and that used to mean an IFS file was mandatory since you have to code for the largest possible amount of XML, even if most orders were smaller,” he tells IT Jungle via email. “Now size is not really a concern since up to 16 MB of XML can be processed directly in-memory. And since it’s in memory and not using an IFS file, performance when processing the XML is better as well.”
Today’s commercial Web services commonly make use of binary files, such as PDFs and image files. However, prior to this release, IBM i-based Web services were primarily restricted to alphanumeric data. With the new Base 64 encoding feature, RPG-XML Suite can now support the transmission of binary files, such as PDFs, within the actual XML document itself.”
“More and more Web services have the requirement to send binary data that is already in a final binary format,” Bissey explains. “This requires a way to preserve the binary value of the data within XML documents that mostly contain the characters A-Z and 0-9. Base64 encoding is the industry standard method for enabling the data to be preserved during its transfer within an XML document and while using characters that are universal.”
The World Wide Web is a global phenomenon, but all too often, the Web services used by North American companies are geographically limited due to the fussy little details of character sets. With the advent of full UTF-8 support in RPG-XML Suite version 3, Krengel is enabling IBM i shops to do business with a bigger group of international customers, who have largely standardized on UTF-8.
The new version brings enhancements to data security as well through support for industry-standard forms of hashing, including MD5 and SHA256. That will enable IBM i shops to feel secure in knowing their passwords and files are not exposed in the open.
RPG-XML Suite version 3 is available now. The software requires IBM i 6.1 or higher and may require the Apache Web server depending on how you’re using Web services. At no time will it require Java, WebSphere, or any of that funny business. For more info, see www.rpg-xml.com and www.krengeltech.com.