The RPG (the Report Program Generator) procedural programming language was first introduced back in 1959. Some now consider it a legacy language. For a language that people said was dying back in the early 2000’s, it still gets a lot of attention. There is no shortage of RPG trends and innovations for IBM Power Systems community members to discuss.
Why is RPG Knowledge Still in Demand?
The unshakable popularity of RPG comes as no surprise to us at LANSA. This is because we have provided IBM i solutions and support for IBM Power Systems users since the platform’s introduction in the late 1980s. As a result, we know quite a bit about the challenges and pain points of IBM i users. We also know which challenges directly link to RPG, the primary IBM i programming language.
1. Thousands of Existing Business Apps Are Built With RPG
IBM i maintains its position as one of the leading enterprise platforms used by large and small organizations around the globe. This is because of its regular modernization efforts, upgrades, and revisions over the years. Tens of thousands of organizations rely on IBM i to power some of their most critical operations. The majority of these companies also still use multiple RPG-based applications that require maintenance, updates, and modernization. The maintenance of apps in particular is a big headache for many organizations as the costs of maintaining them tend to increase every year.
2. Hiring New Developers is Increasingly Difficult
While the business apps ecosystem is large, the talent pool of RPG developers is rapidly shrinking. Moreover, the new generation of coders is understandably unenthusiastic about investing time and effort into the deep learning of “legacy” languages. As a result, organizations are facing the need to maintain knowledge because their business operations rely on IBM i and RPG apps.
3. New RPG Developers Require Lots of Training
Compared to newer programming languages like Java and Python, RPG is considerably more difficult to learn. The developer community is also quite small and shrinking more every year. New developers tasked with developing and maintaining code face a knowledge gap where it applies to modern requirements. Overall, this has created a pressing need for development and training today.
4. Migrating Legacy RPG Apps to Other Languages is Risky
The fact that most organizations realize they need to modernize their apps and migrate them to other, more contemporary program languages also contributes to increased interest in RPG-development. The need to modernize is offset, however, by the risks of the modernization process. Simply put, IBM i is the foundation of many crucial business processes. Companies are aware of the potentially high cost of any mistakes they make.
5. Integrating With Modern Technologies Can Be Time-Consuming.
Finally, programs that remain in use need to integrate with modern-day tools and technologies. For the reasons above this is a difficult and time-consuming process.
Finally, organizations that rely on IBM i face several serious challenges. This is why the IBM i community conference devotes so many sessions to RPG development.
LANSA Solves Your RPG Development Problems
The challenges of development can be solved using modern low-code tools. These tools let developers modernize existing business apps without migration. Visual LANSA, for example, is a cutting-edge platform that simplifies the development and delivery of new enterprise applications as well as the digital transformation and modernization of legacy tools.
LANSA is the tool that allows organizations of any size to focus on the future and leave RPG-linked problems like hiring and training new developers, allocating bigger budgets on app maintenance, as well as integrating legacy solutions with modern-day technologies behind. Ready to get started? Contact us to find out more about how we can help.