Monday, August 17, 2020

Time to give RPG a new name

help make rpg for i a reality

I was talking to some friends about totally free RPG and I soon got tired having to save "totally free RPG" all the time. Then it struck me this language needs a new name!

Do not worry I am proposing we drop the name "RPG", but the time is right to give it something to show that this is a new version of the programming language. When the AS/400 was launched, 32 years ago, RPGIII from the System/38 was renamed RPG/400. 25 years ago ILE/RPG was brought forth giving us a new paradigm to programming.

Five years ago "totally free RPG" was introduced. It is not ILE/RPG. There are no columns and I can start typing in the first column of the source member, and can continue the way to the last column too. It was something new and different from its antecedents. This is a new version of the programming language and, in my opinion, it deserves a new name.

This new version of RPG runs in the IBM i operating system. IBM has already named the Db2 version that runs in this operating system "Db2 for i". Therefore, my proposed name is: RPG for i

I am not asking for the source type to be changed. Just the name that people use to distinguish "totally free form" from the older versions of the language.

How do we go about making this change happen?

Part of it is just using the new name, "RPG for i". I have been using the #RPGi hash tag in Twitter. By all means there is some "Role Playing Games" chatter with that tag, but not as much as you find using the #RPG hash tag.

The other thing you can do is vote for this change. I created a RFE with IBM. If you feel like me that it is time for change please vote for it. You can reach the request by clicking here.

You will need an IBM id to log in. It is the same one you used to download ACS. If you do not have one you can create one at the login page.

By giving RPG a new name we will no longer have to listen to AS/400 naysayers complain that we are using a 25 year old language on a 32 year old server.

Thank you in advance for you vote.

28 comments:

  1. Hey Simon,


    The only issue I can think of with the naming schema, is RPG is an IBM I exclusive. Where there is an DB2 for Z/OS, there is no RPG for anything but I.

    Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. RPG isn't exclusive to the i - I learned to program in RPG on a System/36.

      Delete
    2. There is a RPG for mainframe too.

      And several ISV have their own flavors of RPG to run on Windows.

      Delete
    3. Yeah my mistake, I even learned just now their is a RPG for Z/OS

      Delete
    4. The Z/OS version is RPG 1 and a half. It has not been updated in 30+ years and was never that big. SAA RPG (which was a flavor of RPG III without external files) only sold two or three licenses and was discontinued.

      All of which is my way of saying that to count Z/OS as a platform that runs RPG would require that we also count OS/2, Windows 3.1, etc. In other words it is silly.

      Delete
  2. Since this is IBM, the name must be something worse than it already is. Silverlake went to AS/400 and BlueMix went to IBM Cloud; neither was an improvement. (And don't get me started on the grammatical nightmare that naming something the "i" is.)
    Why don't we just call it Free or RPFree to make searching easier?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. >Why don't we just call it Free or RPFree to make searching easier?

      Yes, please. People really have to consider that naming something "for i" makes resources virtually impossible to find. When I search for RPG resources, I have to go "IBM i iSeries As400 RPG ILE" before I can start typing what I actually want.

      Delete
  3. I've been programming in RPG since the System 34 days. Since then, IBM has renamed just about everything, except RPG, to the detriment of brand recognition. Many people in this industry today, and I'm referring to sales, technical and end users, either can't tell you the correct name of their hardware or use historic names.

    To me, RPG is the one thing that could have benefited from a name change. COBOL code from 25+ years ago looks much like COBOL today. Old RPG code looks nothing like modern RPG. It's a great language that has evolved more than most, but RPG will always carry the stigma of being an antiquated language since the only people knowledgeable about its evolution are the programmers that use it.

    ReplyDelete
  4. RPG isn't just a "Report Program Generator" anymore - maybe it's time to move really on, and create a completely unique name. Even a name like "RPG for i" will be something from the past - and "our" language today looks more like PL/I than RPG/III - but please don't propose "PL/i".

    ReplyDelete
  5. Yes absolutely. I posted using RP/M as an idea to keep it short, there are smarter more inventive folks than I who could do better than this.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Also, Modern RPG is the most productive language I have used to date. It would be the biggest win ever if it could be decoupled from the IBM and could work on the IBM as well as a stand-alone programming language. Just another two cents worth.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Most programming languages do not change there name when new versions of them come out. PHP / Perl / COBOL / etc.
    Now VB did tack on .Net for a few years, but I think even that has been dropped.

    What does change for them is a Revision number. PHP 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. At one point we did have RPG IV. But that was throw to the way-side for some reason.

    Actually we have been getting consistent updates lately, so , why not follow the OS. RPG 7.3??
    You could even add to that to include the TR releases. RPG 7.3.2 :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Having the operating system in the name would not work as we would have RPG 7.3 and RPG 7.4, which are exactly the same.

      Unlike a lot of other languages and operating system we have backward compatibility going back decades! The current version of IBM i will let you use everything from System/36 compatible RPGII all the way to modern fully free RPG.

      Plain "RPG" does not work as which "flavor" of RPG do you mean?

      ILE/RPG or RPGLE or RPGIV name does not help as the code I am writing today looks nothing like the ILE/RPG we were writing 25 years ago.

      Delete
    2. Ok. don't 'tie' it to the OS. My main point is that there needs to be a version/revision number of some sort. Otherwise when the next big update comes out how do you tell the difference with "RPG for i"?

      Delete
  8. Yes and provide a community license for RDi to encourage young people to start programming.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That would be brilliant. Most new developers don't know the language even exists.

      Delete
  9. Could be anything like FRPGScript, FRPGCode, TFIBMCode, TF-RPG, NSRPGCode?

    FRPG - Free RPG
    TF - Totally Free
    NS - Non Structured

    What are you thinking about them?

    ReplyDelete
  10. Tack on just the version number; RPG5, RPG6, RPG7, etc. And change the underlying words. Instead of Report Program Generator try Rational Power Gold or Grid or whatever G-word works best. Go with Rational Productive Gibberish if nothing else.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Instead of Report Program Generator ..."

      RPG IV (aka ILE RPG) has never used the "Report Program Generator" label. It was a deliberate action to try and drop the association as it was meaningless. That was 25 years or so ago.

      Delete
  11. I'd call it RPX. eXtended, eXtreme, you name it!
    "X" adds a scifi flavour to the product.

    ReplyDelete
  12. RPGNext1.0 could be an alternative to RPGi.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Why not dump RPG from the name completely and call it iBOL. Standing for Interactive Business Oriented Language or IBM Business Oriented Language. And it sounds like eyeball.

    ReplyDelete
  14. One time during a conference at the IBM briefing center in Rochester, someone in the audience suggested RAMPAGE as a new name for RPG. I secretly wished it would become a thing., that would be a cool language to program in.

    ReplyDelete
  15. How about something cool, and little rip off of the base language, and Call it I+ or I++. IMHO Anyone and everyone outside the community immediately thinks old and tired when they here anything with an RPG in it... and most still call in an AS/400, also need a new branding there...

    ReplyDelete
  16. I am of the opinion that we do not need to change the name. Having the history and reliability of the system and the language should not be something we are embarrassed about, but something that we embrace. The improvements we see and the evolution in the way we use the language is admirable. For, what's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Let's not change it. PHP stands for "Personal Home Page" and I don't see any pressure to change that. I agree with other posters that IBM has utterly cocked up by renaming the machine as IBM i. (All because some marketing genius decided that renaming IBM's product lines as the "p", "i" and "e" looked clever). My spellchecker consistently capitalizes the "i" and I have to correct it.

    Nothing to be ashamed of: RPG *was* a report program generator but eventually blossomed into the full-featured modern language we have today.

    ReplyDelete

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