Consultant Greg Bohannon insisted recently that RPG is indispensable for many midrange enterprises, and we have dug up some arguments to back his assertion. While Windows and the Web have cast doubt on RPG's utility in the e-business arena, its proponents note that RPG code is mission-critical for many AS/400 shops that are resisting wholesale conversion to Java and other languages.
RPG III/IV programmers are also holding their own against other IT workers. ComputerJobs.com's salary surveys find that RPG programmers are pulling in $58,000 annually, only $1,000 less than Java programmers. Free agent RPG programmers, meanwhile, earn almost $22 per hour more than their Java coding counterparts.
Still, AS/400 industry pundits, such as Midrange Computing's Ted Holt, encourage programmers to keep sharp by learning C++, object-oriented programming (OOP) and the Integrated Language Environment (ILE).
Below are some links to check out for more information on RPG and RPG programmers:
Editor's favorite links for RPG III/IV programmers: Midrange Computing says that rumors of RPG's passing have been greatly exaggerated; The Cross/400 RPG Virtual Machine puts RPG applications on Windows 95/98/NT, Unix and more.
Moving to Integrated Language Environment for RPG IV. This IBM Redbook covers RPG IV and ILE in detail. It will help experienced programmers and analysts to use ILE CL to modularize and better manage their existing AS/400 applications.
ComputerJobs.com posts hourly updates to its ongoing AS/400 salary survey, and it has live links to user groups around the country.
IGNITe/400 reports that IBM no longer considers Java to be "the end-all solution to developing the worlds systems." Instead, IBM now favors the integration of RPG, C++ and Java to create better solutions.------------------------
About the author: Mark Baard is a contributing editor in Milton, Mass.
This was first published in November 2000