he room was full; more seats had to be brought in. In conference jargon – we had a “blow out session”! Why? Because everybody wanted to learn about it. Everybody (in the room, at least) wanted to know about its impact on the AS/400! How would it interact with the machine? Will it be available soon? Would it replace the current RPG language?
While some would say it’s a good cup of coffee, others would say it’s a new craze in computer programming languages, and everyone would be right. At our latest meeting of members, on March 19, we were served Java – the computer language. Our speaker for the session was Eli Javier, Manager, AS/400 Strategy & Planning, IBM Toronto Lab. Eli introduced us to the language that was officially presented to the general public by Sun Microsystems Inc. on September 26, 1995.
Java is the ”OO” (object oriented) programming language, based on C++ and Small Talk but much easier to learn. It is becoming known as “the computing language paragon - the ideal model on which software developers can build mission critical applications such as accounting, asset management, databases, human resources and sales” – the bread and butter applications of most companies.
Eli explained how Java applications work, and why Java is hot (as good coffee should be). He talked about the TRUE portability of the language across ALL computer platforms (much better than even the C language).
Think about what happened between late 1995 and today, less than two years after its introduction. Java got accepted so quickly that programmers around the world built serious applications and took the language to a stage where COBOL had taken ten to fifteen years to reach. Java is the centerpiece of Network Computing (including THIN client, and Network Stations).
Everybody was listening to Eli with such concentration that very few questions were asked during the presentation. The flood of questions then came after the session, during the social hour.
For those of you who missed this session, or if you were there but would like a refresher on the topic, Eli wrote an excellent article on Java in the previous issue (Volume 12, Number 4) of the TUG News-Magazine. If you cannot put your hands on it, or if you want a printed copy of the article, visit the TUG web-site at http://www.tug.on.ca and follow the directions that will take you to the News-Magazine back-issues section and click on the desired article(s).
Until Java for the AS/400 is released later this year, life goes on; and many people will never make the move to Java. However, RPG is getting better and stronger every day. To prove it, George Farr and Claus Weiss teamed up to present and demonstrate the latest version of the RPG language: VisualAge RPG (VARPG for short). What a robust language RPG has become! George and Claus know their material and can demonstrate it easily. For our session, George was the “teacher” and Claus was the “lab technician”, (i.e. George explained the language and Claus demonstrated it).
The topics covered during the session include: the differences between a procedural language and an event-driven language; the GUI designer; the LPEX editor (similar to Code/400); the compiler; and the debugger.
The session was highly appreciated by the audience and even though it lasted almost two hours, most of the comments received on the evaluation sheets were that it was too short. Here are some of the comments collected after the meeting: “Wish there was more time”, “Time too short, for so much material”, “Good session, should be a double”, “Very down to earth — Great”, “Wow! What a tool!”, “Excellent topic! I want VARPG!” and on, and on....
It looks like those two topics (Java and VARPG) will be back on our meeting schedule soon.