Latest version of RPG is RPG7.1 right?

AS400

Nov 13

RPG is not a Rocket Propelled Grenade

RPG2 is that Logic Cycle Thing

RPG3 is the System/38 version

RPG400 is the revamped RPG3 that came with AS400

‚Äčeverything after that is RPG… unless its ILE then its RPGLE or sometimes RPG4, or its free format so its RPGLE /Free… or its SQL so its RPGSQL or SQLRPGLE… or as many people call RPG/Free – RPG FIVE….. aaaargh

Why doesn’t IBM just have a simple version number for each iteration of the wonderful IBM RPG programming language?

IBM i 7.1 Technology Release 7

I love the enhancements to RPG with IBM i V7.1.7. RPG finally looks and reads like a normal modern language. With the advent of this latest version of IBM i, RPG has been neatly upgraded to be a fully free format language. This is a long overdue and a significant change to the language itself.

So should it still be called RPG4?

If we keep the same name how do we know if its the column based RPG4, the partially free format RPG4 or the (latest) fully free format RPG4? So what do we call this new version… erm release… erm thing of RPG? After scratching my head I think I’ve found an obvious and very simple idea for solving this RPG naming mess: Associate the OS version with the version of the RPG code that’s being written. Then just like the rest of the software world, its clear which version of the language we are using and as each version has its own new and improved operation codes we will know exactly what to expect when we look at the code. Makes perfect sense right?

So, this current and most modern version of RPG should be called RPG 7 – or RPG 7.1 TechRelease 7 for those sticklers for accuracy.

the endif is nigh for Latest version of RPG programmers who dont evolveThis makes so much sense to my poor overworked programmers brain. Maybe it needs the idea to be planted for it to grow…. Just like the #IBMiSTEPUP campaign maybe we should have an #RPGStepUp campaign at the same time.

  • RPG1 was this mysterious thing with paper cards with holes in them and Robby the Robot waving his arms.
  • RPG2 is that wonderful old quirky cycle based language from the System 36
  • RPG3 is the slightly less quirky version that came with the System 38
  • RPG400 arrived with the AS400
  • RPG4 or RPGLE was the ILE version of the language that arrived around version 3 of OS400 (back in 94?) and introduced some /freeformat
  • RPG5 is the free format ILE version of the language from IBM i V5. Lots of tweaks arrrived with IBM i version 5.
  • RPG6 is the free format ILE version of the language from IBM i V6, even more functions (like the cool XML parsing) added in this release but language is still limited by some column based specifications: F, D, O, P etc
  • RPG7 is our latest and greatest free format version. Finally fully free format with many new functions From IBM i V7 onwards…

As I’m typing this I’m thinking… this is going to start a flame war amongst my fellow gray haired senile RPG programmers… people wont like the ‘technical’ inaccuracies of the versions. Then I realized that it is this level of bickering that is destroying the language itself.

It’s the very heritage of this superb business language and the way its grown over the years that makes it so strong. But it’s the poor marketing from IBM and the even poorer marketing from us (the programmers) that have talked down RPG’s capabilities. If business users don’t realize that RPG is a completely different, modern, integrated, web capable and evolving language and is not the old green screen report generator from the eighties then we are effectively writing our own obituary as software developers. It’s up to us to promote the capabilities of this language.

I am RPG.

I have been assimilated.

RPG7 is the dogs bollocks, and I’m proud to call it my friend.

#RPGStepUp

EDIT MARCH 2014: Just in case you don’t know the correct name for this programming language – it really is called RPG4. RPG4 is a modern free form programming language, which is always evolving. At the current time, the latest iteration of RPG4 now includes freeformat ‘F’ and ‘D’ specs and is called RPG/4 Technology Release 7

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About the Author

IBM i Software Developer, Digital Dad, AS400 Anarchist, RPG Modernizer, Alpha Nerd and Passionate Eater of Cheese and Biscuits. Nick Litten Dot Com is a mixture of blog posts that can be sometimes serious, frequently playful and probably down-right pointless all in the space of a day. Enjoy your stay, feel free to comment and in the words of the most interesting man in the world: Stay thirsty my friend.