ASNA White Papers
In-depth anaylsis, examination, and observations about ASNA products and the IBM i ecosystem.
Part 1

Growing Concern for the Future of RPG Applications

Node.js, Python, and PHP may be the foundation for the future of IBM's midrange platform, but the applications of record that most IBM i-driven businesses depend on were created with RPG. Alas, IBM is carefully avoiding the critical issue of how to persist IBM i RPG applications into the future. Many of our customers express a growing concern about how they are going to maintain and enhance their legacy RPG applications. We understand those concerns and don't think they should be marginalized. This white paper provides some thoughts and guidance on the issues.

There are many IBM i shops for whom the persistence of their legacy RPG applications is a growing concern. The aging, and pending retirement, of many RPG programmers is diminishing the RPG talent pool. Many of our customers have expressed concerns about finding RPG talent. These customers are worried about how to persist their business-critical RPG applications in a world where RPG programmers are a precious, shrinking resource.

The opinions expressed here aren't based on a dislike or a disrespect for the IBM i platform itself. Our points aren't about the future of the IBM i, but rather the future of RPG and its impact on your business.

We are fans of the IBM i and think it has a great future. But the next generation of IBM i applications will not be written with RPG. They will be written with Node.js, PHP, Python, and other modern, ongoing languages. With these languages IBM is pursuing the future for the IBM i platform, but IBM isn’t doing the same for the future of its customers’ RPG applications. In fact, we don’t see much but denial and ignorance from IBM about this critical issue. Great hardware doesn’t do you much good if your critical software can’t be maintained and enhanced.

IBM i shops have a growing concern about their legacy RPG applications.

The IBM i is a great platform and we’re confident that it will be around for a long time. However, the same can’t be said for the RPG programming talent needed to keep legacy RPG systems running. Many RPG programmers are reaching retirement now and many more within the next few years—and there are very few young RPG programmers in the pipeline to take their place. Raising an awareness and an understanding of these issues is why we wrote this whitepaper.

It’s vital to your business that you give this issue some critical thought. Persisting your business hangs in the balance. Read on to learn more about RPG and how its future affects you.

Published: Nov 14, 2023