ASNA White Papers
In-depth anaylsis, examination, and observations about ASNA products and the IBM i ecosystem.
Part 3

Avoid Your IBM i RPG Crisis with ASNA

ASNA has provided IBM midrange solutions for more than 25 years. We deeply understand the IBM i's unique migration challenges. Our IBM i migration products enable you to persist your decades-old RPG application well into the future.

The custom processes and workflows that ensure your business delivers its unique business value to your customers and business partners are locked inside your RPG application. Without this application it’s nearly impossible to persist your business. The RPG source code (the tangible component your RPG programmers wrote) for this application is one of the most valuable assets your business owns.

Rarely, if ever, are these critical RPG applications formally documented. Rather, the secrets, the work-arounds, and the data flows that keep your business ticking are locked inside the heads of your RPG programming team. And the folks that have all this knowledge are very near retirement. However, your RPG source is the irrefutable single source of truth for how your business application’s workflows, database access, and processes work.

What’s a business to do

Source code is the tangible, human-readable artifact that produces the binary instructions a computer runs (ie, an application). Your RPG source code is your key for unlocking the future of your business-critical RPG application.

In [another article in this series], we dig into why rewriting your mission-critical RPG application or replacing it with a canned package are almost always bad choices. At ASNA, we think the rational path out from under the IBM i and RPG’s pending decade of reckoning is to transform your RPG into C#. The benefits of this path are:

  • High fidelity. Your RPG business logic and database is mechanically transformed (using your RPG source code as input) into C# ensuring the new C# application has high fidelity with the business rules and workflows in the original RPG application.

  • Giant programming talent poll. It’s estimated that there are at least 6 million C# programmers in the world today. This provides a giant talent pool of younger programmers to whom you can pass the reigns of your critical business application.

  • Knowledge transfer. Your RPG coders will be actively engaged in this language transformation and can transfer their community knowledge to your C# programming team.

  • The cloud beckons. Microsoft’s Azure has established itself as a leader in cloud computing. Migrating your RPG to C# and your IBM i DB2 database to Microsoft SQL Server provides a first-class path to get your most critical business application to the cloud. Microsoft’s cloud offerings are scalable and reliable.

  • Business workflow persistence. Migrating your existing RPG application ensures that your critical business workflows not only persist, but persist as your organization expects them to. You’ll have no troublesome business challenges to resolve as you struggle to adapt to a new system because this new system faithfully does business the way your old system did.

About ASNA

ASNA has provided the IBM midrange community with solutions to business challenges since 1982. Our product milestones include:

ASNA Product Timeline
Figure 1. ASNA Product Timeline

ASNA’s migration solutions

Since the 90s, we have focused on IBM i RPG modernization, enhancement, and migration. Having delivered products and services for the IBM midrange for so long, we deeply understand the unique challenges the IBM i provides. We listen carefully to our customers and are invested in their success.

ASNA has provided IBM midrange solutions since 1982. We deeply understand the IBM i’s unique migration challenges.

With primary offices in Barcelona, Spain and San Antonio, Texas, our global team of migration engineers can effectively help you plan every step of your application migration. Our team will be engaged from design to deployment.

ASNA application migration

Migrating a large IBM i RPG application is a big job. We’ve been doing it for more than 15 years and have learned a lot along the way. Fully explaining our products, our processes, and our methodologies is beyond the scope of this document. However, the following provides a broad overview—which provides a good background for the other articles in this series.

If you’d like to have a deep discussion with us about your potential migration project, please call us at 800.289.2762 or 210.408.0212 in the US, at +34 902 365 787 in Spain, or email us at .

Our two migration-based products are:

  • Monarch. Monarch provides a rich suite of application discovery and migration features. Monarch migrates hand-written RPG to Microsoft C#. Beyond transforming RPG to C#, Monarch also includes a robust analytical component that provides dependency charts, call diagrams, and other information needed for a successful migration.

  • Synon Escape. Synon Escape, a superset of our Monarch migration suite, migrates Synon-generated applications. Generated applications provide special challenges for migration. Synon Escape’s model-driven approach produces readable and maintainable C#.

    There is much more to a successful application migration than simply converting source code [we cover that in more detail here]. However, understanding migration sources and targets helps make tangible the otherwise amorphous nature of application migration.

A key component of an ASNA RPG application migration ASNA is our collection of “migration agents.” These agents are specialized translation components perform the translation of source and objects from the IBM i to the target platform. An overview of these migration agents is shown below in Figure 2:

ASNA Monarch migration agents
Figure 2. ASNA Monarch migration agents
  • IBM i display files are converted to HTML5 Web pages hosted in a C# Website.

  • Message files are converted to XML.

  • RPG sources (ILE RPG or RPG/III – RPG 400) are converted to C#.

  • Print files are converted to DataGate Print Files.

  • IBM i DB2 database is converted to SQL Server.

Migration targets and what they produce are critical things to understand. While our translation processes are an important part of our migration suites, they are just one step in ASNA’s sophisticated and proven application migration methodology.

Don’t believe claims that C# is a legacy language and that Node.js is the better and safer choice for IBM i shops. This is ridiculous. Node.js is JavaScript and JavaScript predates .NET and C# by seven years!

The articles that follow drill into more details about the issues and challenges of a successful IBM i application migration.

Published: Dec 27, 2023