An RPG Wish List

Dear Santa IBM: We hope you and your helpers in the lab are doing well. We know Christmas is still a ways off, but we've been thinking about how you can make RPG even better. We're grateful for the presents you've already given us, and we know we can't expect you to deliver so much every year. In fact, because you gave us so many more gifts than we expected in OS/400 V5R1 and V5R2, we almost feel guilty asking for more. But of course, that won't stop us. Besides-we've been really good (just ask our editor). So here are just a few things we'd like to find under the tree over the next few years.

Fixing the problems with embedded SQL was going to be first on our list, but we heard that the next release may address many of our problems. We hope so, because the message and the reality are far apart. The current SQL pre-compiler just doesn't understand many RPG IV features. But if SQL is taken care of...

I/O Enhancements
Now that we have key data structure (%KDS) support, it'd be nice if the compiler would accept a variable containing the number of key fields rather than forcing us to hard-code a literal and use a SELECT block. For example, the code at is much simpler than the code we use today.

   SetLL %KDS(ProductKeys : %Parms) ProductRec;

         When %Parms = 4;
            SetLL %KDS(ProductKeys :4) ProductRec;
          When %Parms = 3;
SetLL %KDS(ProductKeys :3) ProductRec;
         etc. etc.

Another nice touch would be to allow the use of the QUALIFIED keyword at the file level. This is much more direct that the alternative of using PREFIX.

On the subject of files, a feature we've wanted for some time is the capability to use the database alias names as field names in RPG. Now that we have support for long names, a simple ALIAS keyword on the F-spec should do the job.

The restriction that file names and record format names cannot be the same causes problems for those of us who want to use SQL to define database files. Could you possibly allow us to use our SQL-created files without the hassle of renaming the record format each time?


Jon Paris is a technical editor with IBM Systems Magazine and co-owner of Partner400.

Susan Gantner is a technical editor with IBM Systems Magazine and co-owner of Partner400.

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