OpenLegacy Blog

RPG: A Dead End or Path to Mobility?

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Every good Mainframe/Mid-Range Administrator knows the value of RPG – the “official language” of backend application development. Originally released in 1959 for modifying punch card machines, RPG has evolved alongside back office technology, allowing managers to develop custom applications to augment baseline functionality overtime. Still viable today, many organizations rely on multiple RPG-based applications to support critical business functions.

But what happens when you run into problems making these solutions accessible to websites and mobile devices? How do you easily modify existing applications written years ago without an in-depth understanding of exactly what it does, which customer segment it serves or how it supports key business objectives? Just because a project was started in RPG, does that mean it has to be finished in it – regardless of how long it takes, how much it will cost or the number of specifications left unmet?

As Systems Administrators strive to provide mobile access to reliable, back end -based services, they often arrive at a fork in the road – do they (A) continue fighting a difficult battle hoping that a workaround will surface; (B) abandon existing application programming development work and restart from scratch or (C) find a new “technical path” to extend the work already completed.

At OpenLegacy, our mantra remains: use every legacy resource you have and find a simple, elegant way to enhance existing capabilities when they feel dead-ended. To help, our solution offers an auto-discovery function that analyzes screens, RPG business logic and database calls to generate new Java APIs. The intelligence is captured within a graphical development environment designed to shortcut the remaining steps for creating Java-based access to mobile/cloud environments. In this way, existing applications can be deployed online in just days and stymied, incomplete projects can be revived instantly.

When the technical roadblocks are removed, System Administrators are free to make more practical decisions about mainframe/mid-range “modernization”. Say a business manager is looking to make their existing applications accessible via mobile devices. Rather than spending hours sifting through RPG code created long ago to rewrite it in another language or code additional integration paths, administrator can simply make the existing logic accessible to modernized applications via APIs. In this way, administrators can salvage application development work when they run into integration and other technical issues with RPG.

Repurposing or transforming existing code is also a great way to leverage in-house skill sets. RPG experts can develop the application logic and then use OpenLegacy to enable the “last mile” in mobile, web and/or cloud connectivity.

While there may be other methods for revitalizing RPG applications, the point remains: administrators do not need to rewrite every piece of legacy code, they simply need to extend it for new environments, by encapsulating the legacy access through a REST based JAVA object. Cultivating a set of options for overcoming specific technical issues is an important step towards mobility. From there, System Administrators can more accurately answer the “Can we…” questions Business Managers across the organization are always asking.

Is your company looking for mobile access to RPG applications? Let us know which strategies you use and which you think are best suited to enable that connectivity.



Tags: Mainframe, Legacy Modernization

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