I was sitting here at my desk after replacing the window motor in my van pondering this thought:

“Man, I think JSF is trying to emulate the RPG cycle with it’s ‘Life Cycle’ (click here), the exact thing that so many RPGers are trying to get away from.”

Or maybe it is better stated to say I hear many wanting IBM to rid RPG of it “legacy” features. I must admit that I have held my hand high with the same chant, though now I must recant. Yeah, I know I am making a stretch to say the JSF and RPG cycles are the same, but none-the-less the Java community is trying to adopt cycles which RPG has had for how many years now?

Makes my head spin to see all the excitement in the browser framework world. Seems like we are always trying to get back to what 5250 screens have had for such a long time – ease of user interface development. No, I am not ignorant to the fact that green screens aren’t very appealing, but the reality of it remains that if RPG had a new GUI face (and maybe a syntax facelift), it could arguably take the application development industry by storm. Just look at all of the efforts by Sun, Microsoft and Adobe to make yet another, “thicker” browser with their JavaFX, Silverlight, and Flex3 respectively.

Makes me wonder how “legacy” RPG and it’s infrastructure really is. I have been with the language for about 10 years now and I left RPG for awhile to have some fun with Java. I loved Java at first because there were some really nice and flashy things that made my heart twitter (twitter would be like the first time you sit next to your future wife, but before you give the first kiss). But even when I factor in how fast you can write Java code, it still comes down to long-term support of the applications built. The Java frameworks out there are very nice, but I can’t count the hours I have spent trying to make something work in Hibernate or MyFaces that just wasn’t meant to be because the writers didn’t have forethought of how others might need to use it.

That’s what keeps bringing me back to RPG, DB2 and i5OS – the trio that just doesn’t die. It has the best framework out there, mostly because you don’t even know you are in one! I can’t help but think what would happen if the cycle was modified to work with a new GUI interface that was native on the i5. Platform independance (i.e. EGL/Java)? Phooey, that is what vendors (of which I am) say to make people think they need their product. I would much rather have “The Trio” to keep my business running efficiently and reliably at a reasonable cost. When will IBM catch on to the potential gold mine they have already built – it just needs “tweaking”. We can dream can’t we? 🙂

Well, it is time to go back to work.

Oh, and on last note, if you haven’t already, please add the following to your list of blogs to visit: iDevelop

About Aaron Bartell:
Aaron Bartell is a Java and RPG programmer for www.krengeltech.com specializing in modernizing RPG applications for web service interoperability. Aaron can be reached at aaron@krengeltech.com or visit his home page at http://mowyourlawn.com. Aaron is also lead developer for the RPG-XML Suite which can be found at http://rpg-xml.com.