Free RPG400 code editor for windows – Visual RPG Express

I’m a big fan of WDSC7 (Websphere Development Studio Client for Windows) for my RPG/CL/DDS/SQL/whatever coding when I’m using windows.. but there are a few others out there. I would love to use IBM’s RDi (Rational Developer for IBM i) but while IBM insist on charging around $900 for the program it puts it firmly out of my wallet range. Quite frankly, its such an utterly ridiculous price for a piece of software I cant ever see myself championing it.

I found this article over at Midrange News:

Visual RPG (aka “CodeStudio”) is a PC Windows XP-based editor for RPG IV, DDS, and other languages. It was original sold to AS/400 developers as a “CODE/400 for Windows” product when there was no Windows-based “CODE/400” (they only did an OS/2 version). Later it was renamed to “CodeStudio” and that trademark was purchased by a multi-national corporation and the product name was changed back to its original “VisualRPG” and provided at no-charge with no support. It uses FTP to pull down the source from the host and save it back up to the host, hence the source statement change dates are lost.

Here are the instructions (over a decade old but if they help someone out then TADA!)

Last Build: 10-June-2003

Visual RPG Express comes in one .ZIP file (compressed folders on Windows 98 Plus). The ZIP file contains the necessary Visual RPG Express installation/setup files. Two files are copied to the C:\Windows, C:\Winnt or C:\Windows\System32 directories if those files are not already on your machine. The product is tested on all Windows versions except Windows NT (although we have heard of few issues with Windows NT). This product is fully tested (and developed) under Windows 2000 Professional and Windows XP. Visual RPG Express is not tested under Windows NT 3.xx and do I not expect it to work properly.

Visual RPG Express is an RPGIII, DDS and RPG IV editor for Windows. It automatically uploads and downloads source between the AS/400/iSeries and Windows using FTP. You must have FTP started on your AS/400/iSeries/i5 to make this work properly. Visual RPG Express does not do syntax checking, but it does have both line prompting and full-screen positioning of RPG and DDS source similar to CODE/400.


After you download and install your copy, it will ask you for a license key the first time you launch Visual RPG Express. The public domain license key that anyone may use is as follows:
Public domain license key: 17616-41723-20867-37358-48892

After downloading, unzip the contents to a working directory and run the Setup

Running SETUP

Once extracted , Visual RPG Express can be installed on your PC by running the SETUP.EXE program from within the director in which you copied the setup files.

To launch Visual RPG Express, double click on the SRCEDIT.EXE file in the codestudio subdirectory.

Once installed, run srcedit.exe (select it from the START | Programs | Visual RPG Express menu option).

The registration panel, as follows, will appear:

codestudio product registration

If you have a Product Registration number, enter it now, and press Continue. If not, press the Purchase button to order and register your copy of Visual RPG Express. Alternatively, press Continue Evaluation to continue to use the product without registering or ordering a license.

The panel similar to the following should be displayed:

By default, new source members use the RPG IV source editing routines. So by pressing the TAB key or moving the cursor over to column 6 and typing in a specification type (such as C, D or F) the color of the characters change and you’re on your way!

Connecting to an AS/400 Host System

If you are connected to an AS/400, type in a source file and library name in the dialog fields on the left, then press Refresh List. You’ll be prompted for a sign on (user ID and Password) and the IP address of your AS/400.

If you are not connected to the AS/400 or to the Internet or LAN please establish a connection prior to attempting to sign on with Visual RPG Express. Visual RPG Express is not designed to automatically launch the connection routines for you.

You must be connected to the Internet or your local network running TCP/IP in order for Visual RPG Express to properly connect to the AS/400.

FYI, during the release candidate program, an informational banner containing “Visual RPG Express” and the URL for the Visual RPG Express support site is displayed. Click on the URL to go directly to the support page. This information cannot be removed during the Beta program. In addition, the Trial/Student edition of Visual RPG Express will display this information permanently. The retail/production release (purchased licensed copies) will have the option to hide the Informational Panel.


UPDATE DECEMBER 2014: I have lost my old version of RPG EXPRESS 🙁

MY RECOMMENDATION – RDi is the best RPG code editor out there. Pony up some $dosh or convince your Boss to buy it.

MY SECOND RECOMMENDATION – Check out WDSC7 as a free and much improved version of RPG EXPRESS.

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