# You can do it the clumsy way, or you can do it the easy, straightforward way.

• Posted on: 8 February 2012
• By: NickLitten

I stumbled across this article with some really neat RPG tricks... I'm using one at moment so am cut/pasting it here for quick reference for myself. I've met the author (Mr Bob Cozzi) at the RPGWORLD conference back in 2009. Very smart cookie. I can tell you:

## How Do I Left-Justify Text Within a Character Field?

Clumsy Solution 1:

D Start           S              5U 0
D End             S              5U 0
D Len             S              5U 0
D MyValue         S            300A   Inz('    01234567')

C     ' '           Check     myValue       Start
C     ' '           CheckR    myValue       End
C                   eval      Len = (End - Start) + 1
C                   eval      myValue = %subst(myValue:Start:Len)

This solution uses a typical application of the %SUBST built-in function to extract just the data within the original MYVALUE field and move it, left-justified, into itself via the EVAL opcode.

Clumsy Solution 2:

D Start           S              5U 0
D MyValue         S            300A   Inz('    01234567')

C     ' '           Check     myValue       Start
C                   eval      myValue = %subst(myValue:Start)

This solution uses the assumption ability of the %SUBST built-in function. If no length parameter is specified, this code assumes you want to use all data in the field, from the starting location through the end of the field. The second solution is much cleaner than the first solution, but it's still a bit clumsy compared to the straightforward solution.

Straightforward Solution:

D MyValue         S            300A   Inz('    01234567')

C                   eval      myValue = %TrimL(myValue)

In this solution, we use the %TRIML (trim left) built-in function to remove left-side blanks from the field's value. Since EVAL copies data left-justified, if we truncate the leading blanks, the combination of %TRIML and EVAL cause the value to be left-justified. Clean, clear, and only one line of code!

## How Do I Right-Justify a Value in a Character Field?

Right-justification is a bit more challenging than left-justification. Often, people don't even know the solution exists, let alone how to apply it.

Clumsy Solution:

D Start           S              5U 0
D Start2          S              5U 0
D End             S              5U 0
D Len             S              5U 0
D MyValue         S            300A   Inz('    01234567')

C     ' '           Check     myValue       Start
C     ' '           CheckR    myValue       End
C                   eval      Len = (End - Start) + 1
C                   eval      Start2 = (%size(myValue) - Len) + 1
C                   eval      %Subst(myValue:Start2) =
C                                       %subst(myValue:Start:Len)

This solution is similar to the left-justify solution, but it uses %SUBST on both the left and right sides of the equals sign (=). By calculating the starting location for the data in the field, you can shift it to the right-justification location, provided you do the math correctly.

Straightforward Solution:

D MyValue         S            300A   Inz('01234567')

C                   evalR     myValue = %TrimR(myValue)

You knew it had to be that easy, right? The built-in function %TRIMR strips off trailing blanks for the value. Then, the EVALR (EVAL with right-justify) opcode copies the data, right-justified to the target field. So again, with one line of code, you can right-justify data within a field.

## How Do I Convert Numeric to Character?

This has been problematic since RPG IV first came out. In RPG III and even in RPG III-style RPG IV code, you can simply use the MOVE opcode to convert between numeric and character; that hasn't changed a bit. But most people ask this question in the context of the EVAL opcode or the so-called "free-format" RPG IV syntax.

Clumsy Solution:

D CustNo          S              7P 0 Inz(3741)

D MyDS            DS                  Inz
D  CstNbrA                       7A
D  CstNbr                        7S 0 Overlay(CstNbrA)
D First           S              5I 0
D Loc             S              5I 0

C                   eval      CstNbr = CustNo
C     '0'           Check     CstNbrA       First
C                   eval      Loc = 1
C                   Dow       Loc < First
C                   eval      %Subst(CstNbrA : Loc : 1) = ' '
C                   eval      Loc = Loc + 1
C                   enddo

In this solution, the packed decimal field is copied into a zoned decimal subfield of the MYDS data structure. The CSTNBR field overlays the CSTNBRA field in that data structure. So when the value is copied from CUSTNO to CSTNBR, the field CSTNBRA contains '0003741'.

The CHECK opcode locates the first non-zero position on the left side of the CSTNBRA subfield. Then, the routine enters a DO loop that replaces the leading zeros with blanks. When the loop exits, the CSTNBRA subfield contains '___3741', which you must then left-justify or do whatever it is you need to do with it.

Straightforward Solution 1:

D CustNo          S              7P 0 Inz(3741)
D CstNbrA         S              7A

C                   eval      CstNbrA = %TrimL(%EditC(CustNO:'Z'))

In this solution, the %EDITC built-in function is used to apply the 'Z' edit code to the numeric value in CUSTNO. Since %EDITC returns a character value with leading zeros replaced by blanks (that is, the leading blanks are also returned), I wrap the %EDITC built-in itself in another built-in function, %TRIML, to strip off leading blanks. The result is a left-justified numeric value stored in the CSTNBRA character field, as follows: '3741___'

If you need leading zeros to remain with the value, this second solution may be better for your situation:

Straightforward Solution 2:

D CustNo          S              7P 0 Inz(3741)
D CstNbrA         S              7A

C                   eval      CstNbrA = %EditC(CustNO:'X')

In this solution, the lightly documented edit code 'X' is used. The 'X' edit code converts the numeric value to character with leading zeros, and that's all. So you end up with CSTNBRA containing '0003741'.

Straightforward Solution 3:

D CustNo          S              7P 0 Inz(3741)
D CstNbrA         S              7A

C                   eval      CstNbrA = %Char(CustNO)

If you prefer a simple solution that doesn't have a lot of thinking behind it, use the %CHAR built-in function. This wonderful built-in function converts numeric values to character and strips off leading zeros, all in one action. The beauty of this built-in function is that it doesn't do anything extra that would need to be managed. If you simply want a numeric value in character format, which is often needed for CGI and EDI applications, %CHAR is the right choice for you.

After the EVAL operation is performed, the CSTNBRA field will contain the value '3741___'.

Suppose you have a field that contains a decimal. For example:

D Sales           S             11P 2 Inz(002133.50)
D SalesA          S             15A

C                   eval      SalesA = %Char(Sales)

After this solution is performed, the field named SALESA will contain the value '2133.50' plus the trailing blanks, of course. That is, the %CHAR built-in function correctly inserts the decimal notation for the value; it does not insert thousands notation. Also, if the value is negative, a minus sign (-) is embedded for you automatically.

## How Do I Convert Character to Numeric?

What about the other way around? What if you need to move a value that is stored in plain text to a numeric field? How do you get that to work?

Clumsy Solution:

D CustNo          S              7P 0
D CSTNBRA         S             12A   Inz('  3741')
D ZEROS30         S             30A   Inz(*ZEROS)
D MyDS            DS                  Inz
D  Alpha                        30A
D  Numeric                      30S 0

C                   evalR     Alpha = ZEROS30 + %TrimL(CSTNBRA)
C                   eval      CustNo = Numeric

In this solution, a literal containing 30 zeros is concatenated with the field containing the numeric value. The %TRIML built-in function is used to ensure that no leading blanks are detected. Then, the EVALR (EVAL with right-justify) opcode is used to cause the text to be copied to the ALPHA field, starting with the rightmost characters. That way, the leading zeros from ZEROS30 are truncated, filling the ALPHA field with a neat, zero-filled value. Then, using the NUMERIC subfield that overlays the ALPHA field within the data structure, the numeric value is copied to the packed field.

While I've attempted to make this as least clumsy as possible, it is still quite clumsy.

Straightforward Solution 1:

D CustNo          S              7P 0
D CstNbrA         S              7A   Inz('3741')
D Sales           S             11P 2
D SalesA          S              7A   Inz('1200.32')

C                   eval      CustNo = %int(CstNbrA)
C                   eval      Sales = %Dec(SalesA:11:2)

In this solution, the %INT built-in function is used to convert the plain-text value in the CSTNBRA character field into a numeric value.

This solution uses the %DEC built-in function to convert the plain text to numeric. The primary difference between %DEC and %INT is that %DEC allows the use of decimal places, whereas %INT only works with whole numbers (integers).

One major problem with this solution is that it doesn't appear until V5R2. A year ago, I wouldn't even have shown this solution since virtually no one was even on V5R1 at that point. But today, most people are moving off of OS/400 V4 onto V5R2 (often skipping V5R1 in the process). So I believe it to be a viable solution.

There are a couple of other options as well, however.

Straightforward Solution 2:

H  BNDDIR('XTOOLS')
D/INCLUDE XTOOLS/QCPYSRC,CHARTONUM
D CustNo          S              7P 0
D CstNbrA         S              7A   Inz('3741')
D Sales           S             11P 2
D SalesA          S              7A   Inz('1200.32')

C                   eval      CustNo = CharToNum(CstNbrA)
C                   eval      Sales = CharToNum(SalesA)

In this solution, the RPG xTools' CHARTONUM procedure is used to convert between character and numeric. CHARTONUM doesn't care what format the input value is in; it can be an integer or a decimal value in plain text, and it converts properly. The benefit of CHARTONUM is that it works as far back as V4R4 and works just as fast as or faster than the built-in functions that are available in V5R2.

Straightforward Solution 3:

H  BNDDIR('QC2LE')
D/INCLUDE RPGLAB/QCPYSRC,CPROTOS
D CustNo          S              7P 0
D CstNbrA         S              7A   Inz('3741')

C                   eval      CustNo = atoll(CstNbrA)

This solution is a bit more limited, but it's actually the preferred technique when whole numbers (integers) are being converted. It converts the plain-text numeric value into an integer and then assigns it to the CUSTNO field.

The solution uses the C language runtime library. The atoll function converts a text string containing a number into a numeric integer value. The EVAL copies that value to the target, and you have the conversion. The downside to this technique is that it will not work when decimal values are involved. It only works with whole numbers.

## Taking It Easy

The bottom line is that programming with RPG IV can be as complicated as you want to make it, or it can be easy. I choose the easy road and embrace the simple life. I hope you will, too.

Bob Cozzi is a programmer/consultant, writer/author, and software developer. His popular RPG xTools add-on subprocedure library for RPG IV is fast becoming a standard with RPG developers. His book The Modern RPG Language has been the most widely used RPG programming book for more than a decade. He, along with others, speaks at and produces the highly popular RPG World conference for RPG programmers.