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April 9, 2019
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February 6, 2019
2019 IBM i Champions Named: Congrats to Scott Klement, Liam Allan, Alan Seiden, Mike Pavlak, Stephanie Rabbani, Charles Guarino, Susan Gantner, Jon Paris & Paul Tuohy!
November 28, 2018
RPG & DB2 Summit heads to Charlotte, NC, with new sessions on SQL, analytics, data integration
June 5, 2018
Next Summit highlights SQL, Db2 for i, Open Source
February 6, 2018
New RPG & DB2 Summit Sessions Help IBM i Developers Achieve Big Goals

RPG-Oriented Sessions

What's new in RPG for 7.4

Find out about what's new in 7.4 for RPG including several items that were already available through PTFs for earlier releases:

  • The most exciting enhancement is variable-dimension arrays, including a type of array that automatically grows as you assign new element
Other enhancements:
  • DIM(*CTDATA) let's you soft-code the dimension of an array with compile-time data
  • The SAMEPOS ikeyword lets you define an array over repeating subfields in an externally-described data structure
  • Two new subfields for the PSDS
  • DATA-INTO opcode - similar to XML-INTO, except that it works with any type of structured data, including JSON
  • ON-EXIT opcode makes it easy to reliably clean-up when your procedure ends
  • And more

Speaker: Barbara Morris

21st-Century CL

IBM i Control Language (CL) has long been used as a language for both operations and job control. In the most recent releases of IBM i (V5R3 thru 7.2) IBM has delivered many long hoped for and long requested enhancements to CL for both environments.

Enhancements include new commands as well as new extensions to existing commands. What are these new features and functions? How can they be used? What's the very latest that CL has to offer? This session will answer those questions and more

Speaker: Ted Holt

Extending RPG with Db2 for i Functions

This session explores the wealth of non-database capabilities that SQL can do for you within your RPG programs. These range from the use of simple SQL scalar functions within your RPG (e.g., for upper/lower translations or math functions) to grabbing IFS text to executing web services - and making sense of the XML or JSON data that often comes back from them.

Learn to exploit the power of basic SQL functions, user-defined functions (UDFs) and some of the Db2 for i Services from your RPG code. It's easier than you think!

Speaker: Liam Allan

SQL Procedure Language for RPGers

The SQL Procedures Language is a database-oriented programming language that offers several benefits to IBM i professionals.

  • It provides an easy and powerful interface to the database.
  • SQL PL can be used to build functions, triggers, stored procedures, and dynamic compound statements.
  • It runs on all DB2 platforms, not just DB2 for i.
  • SQL PL implements SQL Persistent Stored Modules, an ISO standard, and is similar to scripting languages used on non-IBM platforms.
  • Programmers who know RPG, CL, or COBOL will find SQL PL easy to learn. In this session, Ted Holt presents an overview of the SQL Procedures Language. Topics covered include basic syntax, control structures, and condition handling.

    Speaker: Ted Holt

    RDi: Even Better with iSphere

    It's no secret that Susan is a big RDi fan. But even a great tool can be made even better with the help of plug-ins. If you're an RDi user and you don't have the iSphere plug-in installed into your RDi, you're missing out on a wealth of new/enhanced functionality.

    Susan will demonstrate a few of her favorite features from iSphere - things such as a better "Find String" capability, tools to make working with message files a breeze and the ability to see text for objects and members in your Remote Systems lists. She will also outline the simple installation process along with some suggestions for how to manage updating iSphere when new releases become available.

    Speaker: Susan Gantner

    Understanding Git

    Git - a version control system popular for Open Source languages - is getting a lot of attention and gaining favor with many RPGers as well. Come to this session to see what all the buzz is about.

    The companion session: "Migrating to git for RPG Apps" will describe how you can use git for your RPG application development.

    Speaker: Stephanie Rabbani

    Migrating to Git for RPG Apps

    This session is a follow-on to "Git 101: Understanding Git"

    In this session we look at what the prerequisites are for moving your source code into git and then what it takes to actually do the work. All the way from learning the workflow, to user setup, to moving the source members, to adding a build tool and continuous delivery.

    Speaker: Liam Allan

    A Nerd's Guide to DATA-INTO in RPG

    DATA-INTO has the same power and ease of use that RPGers have enjoyed with XML-INTO for years. Unlike XML-INTO, however, DATA-INTO is not limited to XML documents! With DATA-INTO, RPGers can read JSON documents, as well as other structured documents like CSV, or just about any format you can imagine.

    This session discusses the basics of DATA-INTO, and how it makes it easy to process structured documents in RPG. Then, it explains the basics of adding support for your own structured documents by writing your own parser.

    Speaker: Scott Klement

    Impress Your Boss with Open Source

    Open source brings ready-made solutions that can run on your IBM i, usually at no charge. Create graphics, PDFs, content management for the web, not to mention web languages that allow you to address new business needs. What's more, these open source technologies work well with RPG.

    In this business-oriented talk, learn how companies are staying ahead of the curve with open source on their IBM i. See how RPG provides the solid business logic to provide business advantage, while open source brings interfaces and capabilities up to date. Be prepared to be wowed by many examples.

    Speaker: Alan Seiden

    Configuring RDi for RPG Development

    RDi is the most versatile application development tools available today. It provides more and more functionality with each update, and the results are obvious. This session focuses on the particular

    Speaker: Charles Guarino

    What is a Modern RPG Application?

    If you were to write a new application in RPG, what would it look like? Or, what, potentially, would a modernized RPG application look like?

    In this session, Paul takes you through the design and implementation of a modern RPG application - with lots and lots of code examples. Topics covered include...

    • Overview
    • A Modern RPG Application
    • Messaging
    • A Sample Database
    • Database Layer
      • Tables, Key Constraints, Foreign Key Constraints, Check Constraints, Triggers, Indexes
    • Views (and Indexes) and External Views
      • Primary, Application and List Views
    • Development Environment
    • Data Access Layer
      • Lists, Get, Add, Update, Delete
      • Check Timestamp
      • Handling Constraint Errors
    • Service Layer
      • SL Templates
      • Get, Add, Update, Delete
      • SL Templates vs DAL Templates
    • Business Logic
    • Interface and Clients

    Speaker: Paul Tuohy

    Make your Code Testable

    When I talk about testing with many RPG programmers, they are frustrated with their ability to easily test their code due to the way the code is written. This session will try to show a process you could embark on to gradually improve the testability of your old code, and how to change your mindset to keep testing in mind so that any brand-new code is more testable. The ultimate goal is to have automated tests for nearly all of your code. You may never reach the ultimate goal, but every step in that direction will improve your ability to have confidence in your changes.

    Speaker: Barbara Morris

    IBM i Batch Processing Alternatives

    Batch workloads have traditionally been a fundamental part of IBM Midrange environments. In this session we will explore the history and evolution of batch processing in the IBM i world.

    We will discuss how modern approaches to asynchronous processing and alternatives to the "nightly run" have made shops much more nimble. All aspects of the modern batch processing world will be explored including alternatives to data backup and HA processing.

    Speaker: Mike Pavlak

    21st Century RPG Data Structures

    RPG's Data Structure capabilities have come a long way since the original introduction of RPG IV. But judging from Jon's mailbox, many programmers still struggle to exploit their full potential.

    In this session Jon will discuss modern data structure coding techniques, including the 7.4 support for dynamic arrays. He will also address one of the most common questions that he receives ... "How do I code the data structures needed for XML-INTO/DATA-INTO to process this document."

    Other topics to be covered include:

    • Nested Data Structures
    • Data Structure I/O
    • Data Structure arrays
    • Benefits of qualified data names

    Speaker: Jon Paris

    Consuming Web Services from RPG with HTTPAPI

    Discusses what a Web Service is and how the free HTTPAPI tool can be used to consume them from your RPG programs. For example, you could use a Web Service to track shipments with UPS, check Zip Codes with the US Postal Service, validate credit cards with your bank, etc.

    Speaker: Scott Klement

    Providing RPG Web Services on IBM i

    In this session, you'll learn how to provide web services using the tools that are included with IBM i. Scott will show you how to configure the HTTP servers so that they will call RPG programs, and how to write RPG code that acts as a web service. Both SOAP and REST web services will be covered.

    Speaker: Scott Klement

    RPG Free Form in a Nutshell

    Expressions and limited free-form calculations have been part of our RPG IV coding lives since the inception of the language. Most of us wholeheartedly took the next step when V5.1 introduced completely free-form logic. Then came V7.1 and with it RPG IV gained the ability for programs to be coded completely in free-format.

    Perhaps you've heard about this feature, you may even have read an article or two, or even tried your hand at writing some free-form code. But many RPGers have stumbled over "how do I ... ?" issues and wonder if it is really worth the effort. If you're in that group then come to this session and in a mere 45 minutes Jon will do his best to clear up any misconceptions you may have and show you why and how to take this next step.

    In this session, Jon will explain:

    • Why free format RPG is important
    • What are the rules
    • Just how free can you go?
    • Are there any likely gotchas?
    • Are there tools available to convert fixed format code easily?

    The session will include a brief refresher on free format logic, but will focus primarily on the new free-form declarations (i.e. the replacements for H, F, D and P specs) as well as the ability to use as many columns for your RPG logic as you need - starting in column 1 if you want!

    Speaker: Jon Paris

    SQL Aggregation without Aggravation

    SQL provides powerful ways to retrieve detailed data and format it the way users need to see it. SQL can summarize data, giving users the information they need to make informed decisions. But what do you do if the user asks for both detailed and summary information in the same query?

    You attend this session.

    Ted Holt has successfully dealt with this struggle. In this presentation, he shares techniques you can use to combine details and summaries to satisfy the needs of those whose jobs depend on your system.

    Topics include:

    1. The necessity of UNION ALL
    2. Extensions to GROUP BY
    3. How to "roll" totals by hand and when you should do so
    4. How to count. (Yes, you read that correctly.)

    Speaker: Ted Holt

    Programming RPG With Style

    In this session, Paul discusses the what and why of standards and guidelines for modern RPG development. Topics include:-

    • Make Use of the Tools
    • RPG is FREE
    • Modern RPG Programs and Subprocedures
    • What's in a Name?
    • Comments
    • Structuring Code
    • Use Templates and Qualified Data Structures
    • Qualify Wherever Possible
    • Strings
    • Subroutines
    • Out With The Old
    • Embedded SQL
    • Global Definitions
    • Parameters, Prototyping and Procedure Interfaces
    • The Integrated Language Environment
    • Roll Your Own

    Speaker: Paul Tuohy

    Access Client Solutions (ACS) for Programmers

    Access Client Solutions is a powerful tool for programmers. ACS replaces and enhances much of the functionality originally supplied by Navigatorfor i.

    This session discusses how ACS can be used by programmers; including

    • System Configuration
    • 5250 Emulator
    • SSH Terminal
    • Integrated File System
    • Printer Output
    • Schemas
    • Run SQL Scripts
    • SQL Performance Center

    Speaker: Paul Tuohy

    Jon's Favorite RPG Tips

    Over the years Jon has gathered a number of "handy dandy" RPG tips and techniques. In this session he will share some of his favorites, old and new. Topics to be covered include:

    • Useful control (H Spec) options
    • Using compiler directives
    • Searching and Sorting Arrays
    • Using dynamic memory, including teraspace
    • Record Locking techniques
    • Using Data Structures on I/O operations
    • Improved alternatives to KLISTs
    • Using named indicators
    • FEOD without the performance impact
    • And as many more as w have time for!

    Speaker: Jon Paris

    ILE: Procedures, Modules & SRVPGMs by Example

    ILE brought with it the topics of procedures, modules, service programs, binding directories and binder language - not to mention activation groups. It can get confusing!

    In this interactive session, Susan will walk through a step by step demonstration of the following topics. In the process, we'll discover some of the problems that can occur - what they look like and how to fix or avoid them.

    • Creating a (very) simple RPG procedure in a module
    • How (and why) to put that module into a service program
    • How (and why) to create a binding directory and
    • How to use the binding directory to create programs to use our procedure
    • Add a new procedure to the same module and service program
    • Pointers for testing procedures in service programs
    • How to maintain the service program over time - including how to use binder language to avoid signature violations!

    Speaker: Susan Gantner

    What's New in RDi? Including 7.4 News

    It can be hard to keep up with what's happening with new releases of our favorite products. This is especially true with RDi, which tends to be on a slightly different announcement schedule from the other IBM i software. With the IBM i 7.4 announcement, some new features in RDi were also announced.

    RDi V9.6 and all its follow-on "fix packs" added some of Susan's new favorite features. Come to this session to learn about some of the latest features in RDi. Susan will demonstrate some of great new enhancements in V9.6. She'll also highlight a few features that arrived in the various V9.5.x releases that you may have missed.

    Stay up to date and keep your productivity increasing by using the latest that RDi has to offer.

    Speaker: Susan Gantner

    This session covers Barbara's take on:

    • The features of ILE RPG that allow you to write "modern" code
    • Which old features to avoid
    • How using service programs can modernize your development, both new function and maintenance
    • How to improve the performance of your call operations

    Speaker: Barbara Morris

    Building a Web App in One Hour

    Yes - really.

    In this session Liam will be taking his life in his hands and building an application live in front of your very eyes using the power of Node.js. He'll start from a simple login page and work his way through to a CRUD application that allows for the display and editing of data from Db2.

    There will be lots of questions and audience interaction along the way.

    Speaker: Liam Allan

    Accessing RPG and i from Other Systems

    IBM i is not the silo that the AS/400 once was. This highly diversified system hosts the lion's share of data and business logic which, when properly enabled, can be consumed by all areas of the organization. This survey level session will explore the many ways IBM i content can be accessed and provisioned from simple ODBC to full on web services so that your IBM I remains the "System of Record" today, tomorrow and beyond.

    We'll put together a list of pro's and con's of each approach and help identify the key components of a successful target architecture where IBM i participate faithfully and fully.

    Speaker: Mike Pavlak

    Processing XML with RPG

    In this session we'll look at RPG's native support for XML processing, including the latest enhancements. We'll also include a brief overview of the Data Structure features added in V5R2 that are critical to understanding how the XML support works.

    Whether you are using XML for web services or data interchange, dealing with XML in RPG can be challenging. V5R4 brought welcome relief in the form of new RPG language support that greatly simplified parsing XML within your programs. While useful, there were issues that IBM subsequently addressed in enhancements released in V6 and 7. The result is a powerful set of XML processing capabilities that are also easy to use once the basics are grasped.

    Speaker: Jon Paris

    Embedded SQL in RPG - Beyond the Basics

    You have been using embedded SQL in RPG. You have mastered the syntax, tried a few selects, declared a cursor, performed an update - you may even have tried some dynamic SQL!

    Time to take it to the next stage and see what you can do with embedded SQL - beyond the basics

    Topics covered in this session include:-

    • Discussion of the key points in writing powerful embedded SQL
    • What tools should you use to write and test SQL prior to embedding it?
    • Controlling CRTSQLRPGI
    • SQLCA and SQLCODE considerations
    • Getting data without SELECT - GET DIAGNOSTICS and VALUES INTO
    • Talking to Watson with Embedded SQL
    • Accessing SQL Functions
    • Identity Columns
    • Mastering Multi Row Fetch
    • SQL Exception Handler
    • Dynamic SQL with SQL Descriptors
    • Handling NULL

    Prerequisite: This session assumes you are familiar with the topics covered in Embedded SQL - the Basics

    Speaker: Paul Tuohy

    RPG Open Access - By Example

    This session introduces you to the fundamentals of RPG 's Open Access (OA) by taking you through the process of designing two simple Open Access handlers that present different challenges.

    OA provides a mechanism that allows you to simplify how an RPG program interacts with interfaces that the RPG language does not natively support. For example things such as web services, the IFS, data queues, spreadsheets, browsers and more. By using a suitably designed OA handler, your programmers can access such interfaces through native RPG I/O operations (such as READ, WRITE, CHAIN, UPDATE, etc.). They don't have to understand the underlying mechanics, they can simply use their existing RPG skills.

    In this session we will start by introducing you to a template that forms the foundation for all the OA handlers that we write. Next we will look at how choosing an appropriate architecture can simplify the design of the OA handler and ensure that using it "feels like RPG".

    Speaker: Jon Paris

    Working with JSON in RPG Using Open Source Tools

    JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) is quickly becoming an important document format for business data interchange, so what's the best way to process it from RPG? JSON provides the same benefits as XML, but is smaller (and so transmits over a network more quickly) and is much more efficient than XML to work with in web applications. Naturally, this means that your RPG business applications need to learn how to speak JSON in order to talk to many of the newer web services or exchange data with many tech-savvy business partners.

    In this session, Scott will explain how the open source YAJL tool can be used from an RPG program to process or generate JSON in an efficient manner.

    Speaker: Scott Klement

    Handling the Weird Stuff in RPG Programs

    In this session, Paul offers a practical guide to handling some of the more esoteric problems in RPG programs (whether using native I/O and Embedded SQL) such as

    • Messaging in a multi client environment
    • Trigger Failures
    • Nulls
    • Constraint Violations
    • Commitment Control
    • And other bits and pieces...

    Speaker: Paul Tuohy

    Calling Watson's AI APIs from RPG

    We're always hearing about the amazing things that you can do with Watson, but did you know that it's available to anyone to use? In fact, you can incorporate Watson's technology directly into your RPG programs.

    This session takes a look at some of the various Watson APIs that are available as well as how to call those APIs, which are implemented as web services, from an RPG program.

    Note: To get the most out of this session, attendees should first attend the session "Consuming Web Services from RPG with HTTPAPI" unless they already have knowledge of the basics of consuming web services from RPG.

    Speaker: Scott Klement

    ILE Activation Groups

    In this session, Susan tackles the tough topic of Activation Groups - what they are, what they can do for you and what they can sometimes do to you! She'll provide some tips to help make their impact on your applications a positive one - including the concept of scoping and some default parameter values you should probably avoid.

    At the end, there's a simplified "cookbook" of what parameters you should use if your goal is to have your ILE applications function as closely as possible to what your non-ILE versions of those applications did. But hopefully by then you will also understand some of the reasons for the suggestions in the cookbook.

    Speaker: Susan Gantner

    Refactoring RPG: What, Why and How

    Refactoring is rewriting source code in such a way that the new code behaves as the current code does, but is easier to read, understand, modify, enhance and debug. Refactored code takes advantage of features that were not available, or were ignored, when the code was written.

    This presentation, which is geared toward the RPG programmer, is given by Ted Holt, who has been writing RPG programs since 1982 and has programmed in RPG II and every version since then. Ted explains what refactoring is and is not, why you should refactor, when you should not refactor, and how to refactor RPG. If you have old RPG code in your shop (and who doesn't?), this presentation is for you.

    Speaker: Ted Holt

    RDi and Git - The Easy Way

    What are the steps to getting your source code stored in a Git repository, be it on IBM i or externally, such as on GitHub? We will go through the entire process step by step and get you on your way. Attend this session and you will see how to implement RDi and Git - The Easy Way!

    Speaker: Charles Guarino

    Building Reusable APIs

    When should I use an API? What are the benefits of writing APIs? This talk will cover when to use Web APIs to access your data, as well as some tips on how to write a Web API that is flexible and designed to last.

    Using code examples in RPG, PHP, and Python, Steph will also share lessons recently learned from working on a large integration project with Salesforce.

    Speaker: Stephanie Rabbani

    Node.js & Db2 for i - Best friends

    Interested in how you can use Node.js to create a service layer? How about using Node.js to create a web application? How about both of those, using data from your Db2 for i database? This technical session will show you exactly how to achieve that.

    Speaker: Liam Allan

    (C D I R)? Introduction to Error Trapping and Recovery

    How many times have you received a phone call AFTER a well-intentioned user responds to an error message? “Don’t worry, I pressed ENTER, a “C” appeared and the error went away.” NOOOO! Take charge and eliminate this frustration! It’s YOUR job to make sure your users learn that “C” is for Cookie, not Continue! From trapping runtime errors to controlling job logs, it is your responsibility as the developer to have an error trapping system in place.

    In this session we’ll cover several techniques to put error management back where it belongs - in the developer’s hands. Learn how to empower your programs to anticipate, positively react and respond to error messages. In addition, there is a lot of job information available about your running programs when an error occurs. Why risk not being about to retrieve and analyze it to eradicate these situations before they occur again in the future?

    Speaker: Charles Guarino

    Creating Web Services With IBM's IWS

    "We need to supply a web service! Can you build one?"

    If you face this question there's no need to panic. Every IBM i comes with tooling that can make it easy for you to get started in building web services with nothing more than your knowledge of RPG and the help of the wizards in IBM's Integrated Web Services Server (IWS).

    In this session, Jon will introduce you to the basics of constructing and deploying REST web services with IWS. He will also introduce you to the latest support that allows you to simply deploy an SQL statement as a web service.

    In addition to creating web services Jon will also discuss how to test your new creations,

    Speaker: Jon Paris

    Debugging with RDi

    Into each programmer's life, a some bugs must fall. In this session, Susan will cover how to use the debugger that's built into RDi - Rational Developer for i.

    If you've tried using the debugger that's integrated with the RSE tool for editing code and struggled with making it work, you may find that 3 little words can make all the difference: Service Entry Points. Come here to see how to use SEPs when debugging your programs. We'll also cover how (and why) to create and use debug configurations for those occasions when SEPs may not be the best choice.

    Speaker: Susan Gantner

    This session intentionally left blank

    Due to travel schedules etc. attendance at the last session of the conference is always lower. So in order to help the final sessions gain the audience they deserve we've made the decision to only run three sessions in the final slot.


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