Angus: Against RPGOA does not mean against RPG?

The COMMON Annual conference held in Orlando was abuzz with energy. And, coming in from a week or two of internet buzz, RPG Open Access was a major topic of interest. There was a lot of misinformation being spread by a few people, some pushback against the price, some pushback against the concept of the price, and the general wailing and gnashing of teeth when IBM deliver something that does not meet the particular specifications of the complainant. 97 percent to some people represents 3 percent failure.

Aaron Bartell and I had a blog conversation where the misinformation and speculation being spread was stepped on with some actual information. It seemed that RPG OA really did stir a lot of people, and Aaron talked further about it on his blog while attending COMMON.

For me, there was some interesting perspective about my RPGOA blog entry. I had conversations with many people during the week expressing both sides of the fence about RPG OA. The general consensus was positive, with many people talking with me about how they were going to use it. The price did not feature as an issue outside of those who already complained. There were many people who said IBM was ten years late with this solution, and I do wonder how different our world would be if there had not been ten years of detractors railing against a perceived lack of native GUI capability. Other than that, many people told me they agreed wholeheartedly with my blog and they felt that LANSA and BCD had made a marketing blunder.

That led me to talk with Eric Figura from BCD and Steve Gapp from LANSA. Our conversations were passionate, and I found that the press had not represented their complete position. I am going to discuss ~my~ conversations with them, however, remember as you read this, that in writing this blog I am now acting as press. What you see on this page is my interpretation of the conversations. While I will attempt to represent the conversations fairly, this is written from my perspective.

Steve and I had a great discussion. I now understand the perspective that LANSA has, and in my opinion, it needs a better position than the one represented in the press. The architecture of the LANSA product suite supports many things that RPG OA can provide. Simply put, for them to write RPG OA handlers means they would essentially be replicating functionality contained in their own toolset. That makes sense to me, but I asked Steve if some of the other reported statements might have been more than they needed to say. I suggested that if their architecture is built in such a way, it should be an easy step to plug in anyone’s handler into their architecture. If they reached a customer who were already using an RPG OA handler, there could be an elegant integration of that existing code into the LANSA toolset. I don’t know for sure, but I swear I could see Steve’s brain working on that suggestion.

My conversation with Eric was similar, and he had two requests. First, he told me adamantly that BCD is not against RPG, and I should represent that. This was a response to the question I asked “Does this mean that they are against the future of RPG – in this case, RPG OA?” Without a previous response from them to my blog, or to other questions asked online and in the press, people were taking this question as a statement of fact, and Eric tells me that this is not true. I have worked with BCD and their toolset in the past, and do know for a fact that their support of the IBM i platform is strong. There is no question about their commitment to the customer base and the community in that regard, and with Eric’s statement, we now have a response to the RPG question.

The second request from Eric was that I publicly declare my affiliations. I will address this topic in another blog entry, but any affiliations I do have did not impact my questioning their position. When I pressed, he told me there was speculation that I had been spoonfed a position by one of his and LANSA’s competitors. While I did hear the question about being against RPG from some other vendors in this space, I can tell you categorically that my question about being against RPG was my own. Speculation among everyone I spoke with – customer, vendor, partner, independent consultants and i developers alike – was rife, and added to my confidence that it was the right question to ask. I was disappointed not to get a response, but happy to have been able to chat with Steve and Eric at the COMMON Annual Conference.

I stand by my previous blog entry. I believe the argument about state is a moot point, and can be handled with RPG OA without effort. And I strongly believe that the technical geniuses at BCD and LANSA will be able to incorporate RPG OA handlers into their architecture with ease. I would suggest, and I did to both Steve and Eric, that a simple statement such as “we can support RPG OA handlers in our architecture”, would have gone a long way to alleviate the perception that they had made a marketing blunder.

In the end, any press is good press, and the buzz about RPG OA is wonderful for IBM i. I think IBM needs more positive buzz about their contributions to our platform, along with constructive and informative debate. If we continue to rail against the efforts of IBM on our platform, our competitors will ultimately succeed. Which, in an ironic twist, would prove the naysayers correct. While I don’t subscribe to that theory, the circle of i-life continues.


Aaron BartellMay 8th, 2010 at 3:40 pm

What are your thoughts concerning whether or not IBM should provide to the community a public statement of direction for the future of RPG? Specifically, it would be good to have more than just a “we are committed to RPG” type statement like Hayden made because that doesn’t tell us *what* they are committed to. ROA did much to make a statement that RPG *is* a modernization path vs. getting a new bif (i.e. %scanrpl).

angustheitchapMay 8th, 2010 at 3:57 pm

Aaron, I think that statement was wonderful, because we got the commitment from Rational to continue to invest in RPG. And, RPG OA shows that they are investing.

However, I think if you ask WHAT they are adding to the language, you are asking for competitive information. I know people who are external advisors to the IBM Rational team who develop the RPG language, and their input has been crucial to what is added to RPG. The CAAC and CEAC and the COMMON Requirements are also means of influencing the future of RPG. We have paths to request the enhancements we want. Regardless, what they add to the language may evolve over time, and for us to ask them to commit to something that needs to change, or evolve, would be a mistake IMO.


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davidMay 8th, 2010 at 7:08 pm

the question I asked “Does this mean that they are against the future of RPG – in this case, RPG OA?”

Maybe I missed something … but, at least from my perspective, RPG OA is NOT … because RPG OA is not part of RPG. It’s an additional product that you have to purchase to add functionality to RPG.

When RPG OA is fully embedded into the compiler and OS, without the need to buy any additional software, then it might be the future of RPG.

angustheitchapMay 8th, 2010 at 7:40 pm


RPG OA ~is~ part of RPG. Just like EXFMT is part of RPG. The part you pay for is the runtime license. This would be similar to buying a license to use a 5250 interactive session. Over some period of time, ~that~ runtime has ‘disappeared’, but you still must buy user licenses on IBM i. And the handlers will be similar to buying a license for a third party product to deliver GUI outside of the 5250 – there are a bunch of those.

From another perspective, if you need to deliver HATS, you need a runtime license for WAS and for HATS. RPG OA runtime and handlers will replace that cost, and be far cheaper.

There are so many ways where the price is simply not an issue. When comparing to many other solutions, RPG OA will be far cheaper. If you wish to compare it against ‘free’ tools like CGIDEV, it may be cheaper, but the functionality is completely different. CGIDEV delivers HTML, RPG OA delivers whatever the handler delivers.

I wish you had gone to the RPG OA sessions. There was an education there waiting to happen.


davidMay 8th, 2010 at 8:25 pm

RPG OA ~is~ part of RPG. Just like EXFMT is part of RPG. The part you pay for is the runtime license. This would be similar to buying a license to use a 5250 interactive session.

No, RPG OA is nothing EXFMT!

I can use EXFMT in a program on any IBM i system in the world … I don’t have to pay any additional licenses to get it. It’s just there. Even if I run the program on the system console.

I cannot use RPG OA on any system in the world. Only those that have the runtime installed.

And, just to be clear, I do not care one lick how much it costs … if it cost $10 it would be too much … If it’s being positioned as the future of RPG.

Of course the fact that you need a handler in order to use it effectively … you not only have to pay for the runtime … you also have to pay for the handler. Even an open source handler has costs involved (open source is free only in price, not cost).

Imagine an ISV want’s to provide a software package that uses RPG OA to interact with the web … let’s run down the costs to the customer …

1. RPG OA Runtime ($500 – $5000, depending on tier)
2. RPG OA Handler ($???, probably not cheap)
3. ISV written software ($???)

Also, the ISV might have to jack up his price a little to cover the cost of HIS license to RPG OA (yeah, probably not a lot over the life of the product, but it’s still a cost that has to be eaten).

If IBM really wants RPG OA to be the ‘future’ of RPG, then it needs to be an integral part of the compiler with the runtime included as the base OS. Including a robust sample handler would probably be a good idea too.

CGIDEV delivers HTML, RPG OA delivers whatever the handler delivers.

CGIDEV delivers whatever the developer wants it to deliver over a web connection. Is probably going to be used to deliver stuff over a web connection.

I wish you had gone to the RPG OA sessions.

I’m sure the technology is great … and I’m sure it would be fun to play with. The whole concept, from a technical perspective, is truly interesting. But that doesn’t mater one lick when it’s got a major hurdle to overcome.

To my mind, RPG OA falls in the same bucket as EGL … cast as the greatest thing since indoor plumbing … so long as you are willing to pay for it.

angustheitchapMay 8th, 2010 at 8:35 pm

Ok, so now I understand your perspective. I see RPG OA as an indication that IBM are investing in RPG and that RPG has a future. You seem to have read something where someone said it ~IS~ the future of RPG. Given that, I don’t have a problem with the price, since I see it as one of the tools from which I can choose.

So, fire up your memory cells, and find the person/company who is advocating RPG OA as THE future of RPG. Then we can talk to them, and clear THAT misperception up.. Then, you should not have a problem with the price??

davidMay 8th, 2010 at 8:49 pm

You said RPG OA ~IS~ the future of RPG.

Does this mean that they are against the future of RPG – in this case, RPG OA?

I agree, it’s one of the tools that IBM i users can use to modernize their applications … but, since it’s pretty expensive (all things included), I don’t think it’s going to see high adoption. Especially, IMO, in the ISV space … for the reasons I stated above.

Now, truth be told, I think RPG is a lousy language to try and implement anything web based in. I would far prefer to use RPG as my back end for business rules and heavy data lifting … and use JSP or PHP for the front end. Both those languages are far better suited to web interaction.

angustheitchapMay 8th, 2010 at 9:11 pm

Ok, so now we have that resolved, and you know it does not mean that RPG OA is THE future of RPG, then the cost should not be a problem? Unless someone else is saying it?

I do not understand at all why $500 is so hard for a company to spend. Personally $500 may be a lot, but companies spend that on many things on a daily basis. This is not a showstopper.

As for ISVs, check out the VAI story. They are building a handler for their ERP product, and it will be part of their solution. I am sure that what you pay for that solution will be market price, and if that includes the cost of the handler, then their handler will be worth that much as customers buy the product. Like any good ERP solution, buying technical components is not the norm.

And why are you limiting RPG OA to web interaction? Certainly, a handler could be built to talk to new devices that are not web based. Credit card readers, bar code readers, warehouse devices, RFID devices, the list goes on and on. And even so, if you wrote an RPG OA handler to talk to PHP, you could deliver your existing and new applications using PHP. Same goes for your other favorite.

You earlier mentioned EGL, and I seriously think that is a bad comparison. RPG OA is ~in~ RPG, EGL is a complete something else – some days referred to as a language, some days referred to as a generator, some days referred to as Java. You cannot use your existing RPG skills to use EGL, but you can for an RPG OA handler.

EGL was definitely touted as a sliced bread replacement. RPG OA means you can have your toast any shade of dark.

davidMay 8th, 2010 at 10:27 pm

Unless someone else is saying it?

Someone other than you?

I do not understand at all why $500 is so hard for a company to spend.

You’re right, it’s not a lot of money for a company to spend. But it’s not JUST $500. First, it can be anywhere from $500 to $5000 (depending on processor tier). Then you have to buy a handler, unless you want to invest a lot more in writing your own.

As for ISVs, check out the VAI story. They are building a handler for their ERP product, and it will be part of their solution.

According to an IBMer I talked to, building a handler is not trivial in the least. You’re expecting all ISV’s to write their own handler?

And why are you limiting RPG OA to web interaction? Certainly, a handler could be built to talk to new devices that are not web based.

True, a handler COULD be written for other devices … but do you seriously expect them to be? I don’t.

RPG OA is ~in~ RPG

You keep saying that … and you’re still wrong.

RPG OA is only on systems where the runtime is installed.

The compiler might have support for RPG OA, but it’s meaningless if you don’t have the runtime.

RPG OA means you can have your toast any shade of dark.

As long as you’re willing to pay extra for the extra attachment so this particular type of bread will fit in the toaster.

I suspect most people will stick with white bread.

angustheitchapMay 8th, 2010 at 10:40 pm


I think it comes down to this. As we have spoken about, you and I are in different businesses. I work a lot with IT Strategy and moving forward. I teach and guide modernization efforts. I am asked these questions all the time, and the businesses I work with are not afraid of $500 or the cost of a handler when the ROI is large. RPG OA, with the correct strategy, ~will~ provide ROI, there is no doubt. RPG OA offers a path forward that previously was not seen to be available from IBM. It leverages existing RPG skills, and allows companies to indulge in modernization with their existing applications, and with a very very small investment in their skill sets. For a company who has been searching for what modernization path to choose, RPG OA has been desired for a long time, and now it is here.

I see the $500 as no wall at all, and I am in the business where it will be used. You see it as a major hurdle. Time will certainly tell about RPG OA, and I am much more positive about its future and the impact on our industry.

Mikhaleff JeanMay 9th, 2010 at 1:19 am

RPGOA doesn’t add any functionality at all. RPGOA is able to hide complexity which is great for business developper. Once you have RPGOA you don’t have any Web UI. You must work at least six month or so to build the implementation which is a real operating system. Not anyone is able to make a controler to manage sessions, persistence etc… so, once you have payed for RPGOA you have no other choice: you have to pay for LookSoftware or Profound Logic solution to get Web UI.

Jean MikhaleffMay 9th, 2010 at 6:59 am

Against RPGOA means to be against Profound and Look. I quite agree with Angus: $500 is nothing. To get Look or Profound solution you have to pay at least $50000 or $60000 for 20 users happy to have native Web UI. VAI solution will be ready next year which means one year of hard work to have implementation added to the Handler. IBM is investing for some big editors and not to reinvigorate RPG. I am quite sure architects and some editors will succeed. IBM is not speaking about the future of RPG at all but the future of some editors. This is quite different. This is why we have no roadmap from IBM for RPG as Aaron Bartell noticed. Facts are facts.

Aaron BartellMay 10th, 2010 at 8:21 am

>However, I think if you ask WHAT they are adding to the language, you are asking for competitive information.

Ha! And what language is RPG competing against? Who else in any language on any platform could have gained competitive advantage over knowing RPGOA was coming down the pipe in 3 to 5 years time? In my mind the rest of the world pays very little attention to RPG and it is simply a burp on the TIOBE list (

In my mind, having an “RPG Futures” document that outlined where IBM was taking the language would provide huge benefit in the next 5 years as it would stop the current exodus to Microsoft .NET. They don’t have to continue doing “RPG Futures” once RPG is back in the saddle and they actually have something to lose by publicizing it’s future, but as of right now I think it would be quite instrumental.

Aaron BartellMay 10th, 2010 at 8:24 am

>To get Look or Profound solution you have to pay at least $50000 or $60000 for 20 users happy to have native Web UI.

Jean, are those actual numbers that you received from them? The reason I ask is because, as a vendor, I hate it when my product gets quoted more than it actually costs which leads people away.

What’s interesting is that if Profound plays their cards right and continues to develop patterns for ease of development, well, a shop of 5 developers could actually save that much in a years time concerning RPG+Web development because they wouldn’t have to care (as much) about learning HTML+CSS+Javascript.

angustheitchapMay 10th, 2010 at 8:35 am


The announcement and commitment is far more than an editor. Facts may be facts, but when you are making them up or speculating, they are not facts.

Here: both the language AND the tools to develop with the language are mentioned.

It says: “IBM® has a strong history of providing compilers and development tools for applications on IBM i. In his “Power of i” letter, Ross Mauri, IBM Power Systemsâ„¢ General Manager, outlined IBM’s solid and unchanged commitment to our IBM i clients. We at IBM Rational® would like to echo this by confirming our commitment to support and enhance our ILE RPG and ILE COBOL compilers on IBM i and our application development tools.”


angustheitchapMay 10th, 2010 at 8:39 am


I agree with you on the price discussion. Speculation about a price can cause all sorts of crap for a vendor. Even $500 being represented by industry pundits and other speculators as 1565. Or, does IBM not count as a vendor?

I really am disappointed that all the effort from IBM in regard to IBM i 7.1, RPG, RPG OA, etc has just been slammed. They have strongly committed to the future of our platform and our language, and all we can do is pick the tiniest little holes in it. I repeat “97 percent to some people represents 3 percent failure”. Sad, really.


Jean MikhaleffMay 10th, 2010 at 9:46 am

Prospects are asking to have native web interfaces for more than ten years. More than 50% leaved the platform I because of that. To have native web interface is a priority to survive. Your are speaking of Rational but I don’t know who is Rational. I only know IBM. For example when Franck Soltis was speaking he always said *IBM*. So, now we have native web interfaces. Thank you very much. Look and Profound are great companies with great marketing and great products. I am very happy they succeed a lot with handlers. I have no problem at all with that. If I want native web interfaces I have to pay $500 + $50000 to $100000 dollars depending on the number of users behind, but that really worth it as Aaron said. Again thank you very much IBM. I am on my knees. Look and Profound really deserve to get a lot of profits and $500 or $1000 for IBM is really a tip. Well done. Thanks for your time.

Jean MikhaleffMay 10th, 2010 at 10:57 am

Ave IBM morituri te salutant!

Aaron BartellMay 10th, 2010 at 1:20 pm

Again, are those verified numbers (i.e. $50,000 to $100,000) and who’s numbers are they?

Jean MikhaleffMay 10th, 2010 at 1:33 pm

That’s an average price in France. But if a company has to pay less to get native UI, I will be happier than ever about Handler solution to reinvigorate RPG.

davidMay 10th, 2010 at 4:04 pm

I would be very interested in seeing solid numbers regarding how much the various handler vendors are going to be charging. IIRC, I think IBM is going to have a handler available also (I could be wrong about that though).

So, while $500 – $5000 might not be a large amount for most companies to spend on the RPG OA runtime, the price is clearly not just $500 – $5000.

Chris HirdMay 10th, 2010 at 4:09 pm


“a shop of 5 developers could actually save that much in a years time concerning RPG+Web development because they wouldn’t have to care (as much) about learning HTML+CSS+Javascript.”

Shouldn’t that shop be doing that anyhow? I thought the new way forward was about splitting the business logic and data from the UI? Why would that be an impediment when those skills would be very useful on other projects and cross platform integration?

I like what LookSoftware have done with their approach, its not just about getting a new UI on IBM i data but more about taking what you have and enhancing it with a new GUI PLUS adding a lot of cross platform integration capabilities. They provide the ability to bring in other data streams and merge it into the same output as the 5250 stream. If this is just about a pretty interface screen scrapers will do what you need. The benefit is going to be gained when you integrate the IBM i data with others, my opinion is that will need those same skills you say are a replacement for the cost of the new technology!

LookSoftware are providing handlers which will improve their existing screen scraper technology because it is no longer going to be restricted by the 5250 layout yet it will also provide the ability to add those external data streams using Javscript HTML and CSS in many cases to bring it all together.

I am not an RPG programmer yet I see it has a great place in the IBM i development environment, my opinion about the recent announcement and its significance is however a little less euphoric than many others. Yes it is a big announcement for those who are developing new products which run on the IBM i, but for those with old applications and little skills to get in and replace the UI calls, its not going to make any difference to them at all. My fear is the ratio of those that will benefit based on that, will be a lot less than we need for the platform to see a new lease of life. Many struggle with moving their existing 5250 applications to use the screen scraping technology.

I don’t think the majority of smaller shops running the IBM i will see this as a must have technology. Add the cost of the runtime, the handler and the cost of updating your code to call the handler and many will simply stick with what they have. Personally 5250 works, its not pretty but it works!

Trevor, this is not a negative response, its a personal view on what the recent announcement will mean for the majority of IBM i users (small P05/P10 users). I have been dealing with a lot of small customers recently and spending on other more important technologies such as system security and systems management tools gets a thumbs down at costs which are much less than have been quoted here. Asking for the permission to spend $500 on the runtime would certainly pass easily, but the cost of the handlers and cost of changing all of their code just to get a new UI (their view in many cases as integration is a non starter) will not pass muster.

IBM has provided a GUI in various guises for the AS/400 – IBM i, developers have implemented the technology in fits and starts based on whats new today but nothing has stood out as being the definitive approach for developing the GUI, perhaps RPG OA will be the one which gains better traction? The jury is still out!


angustheitchapMay 10th, 2010 at 4:25 pm


What if an open source handler was available to use for new development. Since you have already spent your $500, wouldn’t you choose to use that – for free??

The difference is simple. If you want a tool to help reduce your time spent building new applications, you will pay for a handler, and the time saved will be part of your ROI. If you want a tool that integrates your existing applications with new applications, as Chris suggested, you can buy that tool as well.

The answer is simple. It is NOT about the $500, or the cost of the handler. It is a business decision to be made, based on the ROI you can achieve. There are some compelling business reasons that IT developers tend to forget when a $500 wall is thrown up in front of them. I would suggest that part of the reason that we have lost so many IBM i shops is because all they did was look at the TCA – total cost of acquisition, rather than the TCO – total cost of ownership. We complain about that decision, since we know that IBM i is so much cheaper to run than comparable UNIX or Windows solutions. Yet, here we are, playing the same game about the ‘cost’.

I encourage you to put on your business hat, and check out the TCO and ROI.

davidMay 10th, 2010 at 5:01 pm

What if an open source handler was available to use for new development. Since you have already spent your $500, wouldn’t you choose to use that – for free??

Depends … does it do what I need it to do?

Handlers are vendor specific … they aren’t generic service libraries that can provide the same functionality with a slightly different look.

Plus, as I’ve mentioned before (possibly on another blog), Open source is not without cost. You just don’t have to pay any $’s for it … and you usually get the source code. The real cost comes from the fact that it’s up to you to handle support.

The answer is simple. It is NOT about the $500, or the cost of the handler. It is a business decision to be made, based on the ROI you can achieve.

This is ABSOLUTELY true.

I’m sure all the handler vendors will be happy to provide free trials for their products. That’s just good business sense. MKS does that all the time.

Problem is, you have (at least now) to pay $500 – $5000 in order to get that free trial.

TCO & ROI cannot be evaluated until the tool has been looked at. Maybe the handler does provide low TCO & good ROI, but are you willing to pay $500 – $5000 just to find out?

Think of it this way: Would you pay $200 to test drive a car?

Chris HirdMay 10th, 2010 at 6:07 pm


I think you can get 70 days out of any IBM LLP?? Maybe they changed the rules on this one? Not sure how they are going to package the LPP so until thats clear you could trial the handlers for free for 70 days MAYBE? The question is will 70 days be enough, you may have a lot of work to implement the technology successfully? Maybe the vendor whose handlers you want to trial will have smaller trial license periods?

I would rather see the OA licensing dropped, that way I could test out handler development at a time which suits me?? Once I install it (if the licensing is the same as the OS) I get 70 days to determine if I can use it to generate my own handlers, if I decide I can and I go forward I will need the license to allow me to support customers running the handlers! Open source handlers may be a non starter for this same reason, unless you have the ability to develop them without incurring cost why make them free? Then how do you support them??


Jean MikhaleffMay 11th, 2010 at 1:51 am

…and I confirm that Look also have a great product, I know some clients in France that have Look and they are very happy. That really worth it. No doubt about that. However, I think that Scott Klement alone has done much more work over the past two years than %scanrpl. To make a new function like %scanrpl would take around 30 days or so. Scott has done 10 times that at least for free. Thank you Scott.

davidMay 12th, 2010 at 2:27 pm

Chris Hird said:

I think you can get 70 days out of any IBM LLP??

At COMMON I heard, from a very reliable source, that there is no trial for the RPG OA runtime. That could be wrong, but I nobody from IBM has given a definitive answer in that respect.

Jean MikhaleffMay 12th, 2010 at 7:03 pm

The RPGOA price is the first problem, David, and a BIG problem because this is the problem of integration. If the platform i is not going to have free integrated web UI, the plateformi will die. Everyone knows that. You have 1,8 billion users on the web and all the humanity is going there. We absolutely need web UI integrated for persistent programs for free like 5250 to survive. Sadly, the price of RPGOA is only 1% of what we are going to pay to have native Web UI. So called Rational is trying to disintegrate the IBMi into pieces. Probably IBM gets a lot of profits from mainframes with caracter mode screens. Possibly IBM doesn’t want them to migrate if IBMi is going to have native Web UI. I don’t know whether IBM will prefer to kill the platform i slowly”¦ That’s another big question. That’s my opinion.

Jean MikhaleffMay 13th, 2010 at 1:51 am

Someone has to explain one day why IBM, a worldwide company with over 407000 employees, second most profitable information technology and services employer, that have earned five Nobel Prizes, and more patents than any other US companies with eight research laboratiories worldwide is not able to provide to its loyal IBM i clients even simple integrated Web UI for free. A small company like Profound Logic is able to provide native Web 2.0 UI. There is a reason somewhere. One day someone has to tell us.

Jean MikhaleffMay 13th, 2010 at 2:21 am

I really don’t understant IBM’s policy if you consider that the mainframes of tomorrow are in China and India. If small companies are buying Microsoft or Oracle today they don’t even know that IBM has the best integrated platform ever for small and big companies. No, I don’t understand.

Jean MikhaleffMay 13th, 2010 at 12:49 pm

With RPGOA YOU DON’T ADD NEW FUNCTIONNALITY, so the Web UI prices from editors are going to be the same. The value of RPGOA is that now you are able to hide complexity which is great for business developers. Not less, not more. For example, Profound Logic had native Web 2.0 interfaces of great quality BEFORE handler and they have exactly the same AFTER handler. The difference is that now you don’t have to call procedures in RPG statements but instead you have classical I/O and the keyword Handler added, which is great. Whether the IBMi clients are expecting low cost for native web UI, the deception will be big.

angustheitchapMay 13th, 2010 at 1:13 pm

Jean, You seem to have taken over this blog entry!

However, you seem also to be misinformed. If you have a handler that can deliver what YOU want it to deliver, then RPG OA ~will~ ADD NEW FUNCTIONALITY. This will apply to existing code, and new code.

What you seem to be talking about are the tools that some vendors are providing. Those are focused on delivering UI, and are focused on taking existing DDS to other locations – primarily web. In that case, and ONLY for those solutions, can you claim ‘no new functionality’.

RPG OA opens more than UI, more than existing DDS, more than telnet, and more than browser.


angustheitchapMay 13th, 2010 at 1:27 pm


From what I understand, there is no “trial VERSION” of RPG OA. With some PC-based tools, you can get a version that you can download and try, with limited functionality. That is what your ‘reliable source’ apparently was referring to.

Since RPG OA is a standard licensed IBM i program, it should be, and I have no 100% confirmation for this, it should be subject to the standard 70 day license key expiration – essentially, an ‘unlicensed’ or trial period for a licensed product.


Jean MikhaleffMay 13th, 2010 at 1:31 pm

OK I agree with you Trevor.

davidMay 13th, 2010 at 1:41 pm

From what I understand, there is no “trial VERSION” of RPG OA. With some PC-based tools, you can get a version that you can download and try, with limited functionality. That is what your “˜reliable source’ apparently was referring to.

Not as I understand it.

I do expect the handlers to be available on a trial basis. Most enterprise level software is.

Since RPG OA is a standard licensed IBM i program, it should be, and I have no 100% confirmation for this, it should be subject to the standard 70 day license key expiration – essentially, an “˜unlicensed’ or trial period for a licensed product.

This is what I would expect too … but, and I’m getting this 2nd hand, with RPG OA this is not the case.

I could be wrong.

angustheitchapMay 13th, 2010 at 1:41 pm


The only issue is, that there are a few people spreading the word about those particular ‘limitations’ of RPG OA. And the most difficult part is to spread the KNOWLEDGE so that this misinformation is not carried around like a virus. This is not even missing information – this is a lot of false information.

We need to combat the false information with the truth of what RPG OA can do. Maybe then, we will add to the growing list of converts – even David 🙂


angustheitchapMay 13th, 2010 at 1:47 pm


I have 100% confirmation. RPG OA is subject to the normal rules of an IBM i LPP. We can throw out those old secondhand stories now!


slatekenMay 13th, 2010 at 3:09 pm


I’ve painted a good number of rooms over the years. I’ve been in that state of panic just after I’ve applied the first coat and the paint is still wet: The shade is not what I picked out at the store! Every flaw in the wall is glaring! I wanted satin, not semi-gloss – this looks too glossy! Then I settle down, let the paint dry, work with it a little – apply a second coat. Once it cures, it is the perfect shade of Blue in a lovely satin. The walls look perfect, as if brand new.

I suggest that we settle down, give the community some time to spread a few half-gallons and see how it looks. Let the paint dry… It may end up being exactly what we wanted.

Angus, God Bless You. Patience is truly a virtue.

GaryTMay 17th, 2010 at 6:09 pm

No one ever answered the question about the cost of Profound UI. While I would prefer not to comment with specifics of the quote they gave us (we are a customer of RPGsp) I can assure you the cost of a “normal” P10 is far less than $50K.

While I know everyone expects all things i to be free / included, consider what has happened with WDSC / Rational Developer over the past few years as a clear indication of what is to come. The less we pay for hardware the more we pay for software and services. Just a fact of business life!

If you were willing to pay for a program generator / report writer / name your tool, why is paying for the handler so different? While I would love to see the native UI provided at no additional charge I don’t think that is a reality of today’s software world, no matter the vendor (anyone priced Oracle?). Consider that Microsoft charges for their development platform then, as I understand it, requires their web server ($$), their database ($$), and I’m sure the list goes on.

RPGOA, I believe, will prove to be a significant turning point for RPG and i. Only time will tell.

Jean MikhaleffMay 18th, 2010 at 11:05 am

Gary, with Microsoft, do you have to modernise something?

GaryTMay 18th, 2010 at 1:19 pm


Cute response, but I won’t participate in political posturing. We can argue all day long about MS vs IBM and it won’t change anything. If you love MS, that’s your choice and your world. This comes down to which ecosystem you invested in and getting the most from that decision. RPGOA allows us to get much more from our chosen platform without the cost of a massive conversion. IBM i is still the most cost-effective platform for medium to large businesses.

Jean MikhaleffMay 18th, 2010 at 2:22 pm

Gary, I agree with you about RPGOA and IBM i.

GaryTMay 18th, 2010 at 4:44 pm


Just in case I misinterpreted your post… Any software requires a “modernization” at some point in its life cycle. MS application development has been around long enough to be considered “legacy” and in need of modernization. I read an article over 10 years ago that called MS VB “legacy apps” – not an original idea on my part.

But the term “modernization” generally refers to changing from a green screen to GUI. You could use the same label for changing from “fat client” to browser-based. Our choices of clients (fat, thin, browser, Eclipse, mobile) continues to grow, as must our skill set as developers. So any “middleware” that makes that change (or additional support) easier on the developer is a good thing – read, less cost to our business. Thus, the ultimate goal (I believe) of RPGOA.

Jean MikhaleffMay 19th, 2010 at 12:56 am

Gary, in that case, the ultimate goal of RPGOA is to be good knews.

Fred ManteghianSeptember 7th, 2010 at 9:23 am

Hi Angus,
I’m definitely late to this discussion, but wow! Some people are really skinflints! I hope RPGOA costs $15,000-$20,000 all told because then 1) IBM will have to include enough features for us to to justify spending the money 2) we’ll all be inclined to use it immediately to show good results instead of it turning into shelfware aka (fill in the screenscraper of your choice) and 3) it will give IBM more incentive to develop and more money to re-invest in RPG’s future!

I can’t believe how cheap this community can be! No wonder IBM isn’t dishing out the goods!
Fred Manteghian
O&G Industries, Inc.

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