Topic
  • 7 replies
  • Latest Post - ‏2014-08-25T18:29:15Z by Jerrycan
it_jov
it_jov
7 Posts

Pinned topic EGL Vs other Tools/Languages

‏2014-08-21T14:06:18Z |

in our shop, we should decide what language to use for modernizing our application RPG (many of us have only experience with RPG);  I have made some tests with EGL and I have to say that I find it simple to use and with a lot of functionalities. Among my colleagues, some would prefer PHP and other C #; I understand that probably they are different tools from EGL, in as for the end to use PHP you have to buy ZEND and perhaps some other Framework for C #. As already says, according to me EGL is a good product, however I have these doubts:  
1 - How EGL is  diffused / used  ?
2 - IBM, for how long will it still implement him/it, will it support ?   
3 - if I made searches on sites as "iprodeveloper" or "Code400" (sites for iSeries), for PHP a lot of news is found, while for little EGL  
4 - the site http://iseriesegl.wordpress.com /, has not been updated since February 2013 anymore!! (even if there are many useful articles)  
5 - in the site http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/rational/products/egl/egldoc.html#Documentation, the most recent document, goes up again to 2008!!
 

I would be gratefull, if you,  that have more experience of me, could helpme to understand :

1 - which the advantages of EGL are in comparison to PHP (with Zend) and / or  in comparison to C # (there is anybody that has used these languages/tools in past and now   has adopted EGL?)  
2 - Which answer for  the 5 points above listed?   
 
Thanks to all for the help.

 

 

  • Jerrycan
    Jerrycan
    27 Posts

    Re: EGL Vs other Tools/Languages

    ‏2014-08-22T07:12:44Z  

    Hello, 

    Please check this website:
    https://www.ibm.com/developerworks/community/groups/service/html/communityview?communityUuid=3e2b35ae-d3b1-4008-adee-2b31d4be5c92

    this version is updated, and via this website you also can find the EGL forum with a lot of answered questions.
    We are using EGL (Rich UI) for about 3 years now and are also busy with modernizing our RPG applications. 
    Important thing is that is is very easy to call RPG Serviceprograms from EGL. So, a lot of business logic, can be re-used this way.

    Our customers are very happy with the results.
     

    Greetings, Jeroen
    amITs

  • Bram_Callewaert
    Bram_Callewaert
    116 Posts

    Re: EGL Vs other Tools/Languages

    ‏2014-08-22T07:34:01Z  

    I was in the same position as you are a few years back.

    We build our custom ERP program. It used to be all green screen tn5250 in RPG3 and we wanted to modernize the user interface and clean up our code base.

    • I first started out small with php.
    • Then switched to java server faces for the frontend and java for the back business logic.
    • Eventually we chose EGL and have been using it for about two years now.

    I don't have any experience using C#.

    I moved away from php because it required a lot of coding to get started, and the result was rather basic. I did not see a path where I could code an entire ERP application. on the other hand there are a lot of examples on the internet on using php to get you started.

    As far as technology goes, php is a server side scripting language. This means the php code runs on the web server, produces a html page for a browser to display. I found that storing data (e.g. user data, visualisation preferences, ...) across pages was complex.

    EGL for me is in a different league: logic on the back end is exposed through java web services (which can be consumed by other languages). On the front it generates javascript (client side scripting). Both can be programmed with one language which can be easily learned. If you ar missing functionality, rui can be extended with custom javascript, the web service side can be extended with java and java libraries.

    The main selling point for EGL for me is the learning curve: you don't really need to learn ajax, html, css, javascript,... to create an enterprise class application. People who have been using RPG for a long time might find learning all these other technologies difficult.

     

    As far as support goes, I don't know about IBM's plans for the future, but the IBM i Enterprise Modernization Redbook has a big chapter on EGL.

    The language is well documented by IBM. I did not have any dificulties finding answers in the online help, or in the supplied example code.

     

    As a last point I would like to mention that if you currently have RPG ILE programs there are posibilities to call your RPG code from EGL. I have not tried this because we did not use RPG ILE. It might make a migration easier.

     

  • markevans
    markevans
    2843 Posts

    Re: EGL Vs other Tools/Languages

    ‏2014-08-22T17:37:26Z  

    I was in the same position as you are a few years back.

    We build our custom ERP program. It used to be all green screen tn5250 in RPG3 and we wanted to modernize the user interface and clean up our code base.

    • I first started out small with php.
    • Then switched to java server faces for the frontend and java for the back business logic.
    • Eventually we chose EGL and have been using it for about two years now.

    I don't have any experience using C#.

    I moved away from php because it required a lot of coding to get started, and the result was rather basic. I did not see a path where I could code an entire ERP application. on the other hand there are a lot of examples on the internet on using php to get you started.

    As far as technology goes, php is a server side scripting language. This means the php code runs on the web server, produces a html page for a browser to display. I found that storing data (e.g. user data, visualisation preferences, ...) across pages was complex.

    EGL for me is in a different league: logic on the back end is exposed through java web services (which can be consumed by other languages). On the front it generates javascript (client side scripting). Both can be programmed with one language which can be easily learned. If you ar missing functionality, rui can be extended with custom javascript, the web service side can be extended with java and java libraries.

    The main selling point for EGL for me is the learning curve: you don't really need to learn ajax, html, css, javascript,... to create an enterprise class application. People who have been using RPG for a long time might find learning all these other technologies difficult.

     

    As far as support goes, I don't know about IBM's plans for the future, but the IBM i Enterprise Modernization Redbook has a big chapter on EGL.

    The language is well documented by IBM. I did not have any dificulties finding answers in the online help, or in the supplied example code.

     

    As a last point I would like to mention that if you currently have RPG ILE programs there are posibilities to call your RPG code from EGL. I have not tried this because we did not use RPG ILE. It might make a migration easier.

     

    Hi,

    The others have provided very good answers on why EGL is a good language to use.

    Being the RBD Product Manager, I can tell you that we have several hundred EGL customers across multiple runtime platforms and application styles.  This ranges from very large development shops (+100 developers using EGL) to 1 developer EGL shops as well as customers with thousands of mission critical program/applications across banking, finance, insurance, government, and other industries.     On support going forward, there are no plans to end support and our goal is continue to provide support, currency, and customer requested enhancements going forward.

    Mark Evans

  • canutri
    canutri
    357 Posts

    Re: EGL Vs other Tools/Languages

    ‏2014-08-22T21:00:18Z  

    Hi,

    I agree to all points made above with EGL.  With a long background in RPG complimented by many other languages, databases and tools over the years I began creating my first web applications consuming IBM i (formerly known as AS/400, et al) databases using VB and/or ASP.  As trends moved towards the browser, ASP was used until 2004 when we learned we had access to WDSC v6.0.  A switch was made to java and JSP's to utilize a single development tool for web-based and green-screen development.

    After completing several JSP applications we realized that the learning curve would be too great for others and adopted EGL around 2006.  The language is easy to learn and the syntax is similar to java, c++ and VB.  Wizards with the language enable rapid application development.  Our first EGL application connected our IBM i ERP application with a distribution partner's SQL Server database in which we used the Data Access Application wizard (Redbook p510) to generate data access methods and JSF ui.  In 15 minutes we had a CRUD application ready for enhancements.  Unfortunately RUI applications are not generated by the wizard.  But we continue to use it to generate services for data access.  However, having the data parts created by the wizard lends itself to rapidly creating RUI pages (Redbook p526) - so we are still very pleased with the ease and outcome.

    RUI has been an exciting addition to EGL.  Prior to EGL, when working with JSP's, incorporating AJAX was cumbersome; naturally so as this was early in our web application learning phase.  That being said, EGL's inherent use for web services makes it a snap!  EGL RUI also handles client-side javascript functionality.  As mentioned by Bram above, with EGL there's no need to learn CSS, JavaScript, AJAX and the rest of the alphabet soup that comprises today's web 2.0 application landscape.

    I understand that you're an RPG shop - as many are - so this may not be of significance for you.  What hasn't been mentioned is that EGL can also be used to generate IBM i native program objects.  However, this is done using COBOL which should not be considered a disadvantage as COBOL is a good language and the source would be maintained as EGL.  Just as EGL is generated to java and then to bytecode.

    Our legacy ERP application is too monolithic to lend itself to using EGL to call RPG programs directly.  We have few opportunities to directly call *PGM or *SRVPGM objects; the later being the easiest in my mind.  For out best practices and future-proofing our development efforts, we've standardized on creating database stored procedures and views (Redbook p37).  This helps keep business rules in the database where it belongs and not spread throughout our application layer.  We then can retrofit our RPG code, where and when necessary, to use the stored procedures and views; thusly, gradually decoupling our legacy application over time while we utilize EGL for our modern ui.  It's the best of both worlds for us.

    Mark Evans confirmed IBM's plans to continue support.  EGL has a long history having roots with CSP which spans back 25+ years (I believe - Mark can correct me here).  There are many options available for modernization and as you mentioned PHP and C# are viable solutions.  I've hear AS/400 "old head" evangelists being critical of EGL while others sing its praises.  Developers want to invest their time to learn something that is marketable, so sure PHP would be mentioned.  However, EGL lends itself so well for legacy RPG programmers that it should not be overlooked.  If nothing else, it should be considered as a simpler solution to distributed software development tools.  One final note, EGL not being OO is unfortunate, but its procedural base makes it transferable to the RPG programmer.  If OO is needed, there's always java for which EGL can be a starting point.  This is moot anyway since we're writing business application and not OS system kernels.

    EGL is an IBM product,  I like that!  Isn't RPG an IBM language, too?  Well at least I haven't heard RPG mentioned much outside of the IBM world in a long time.  I like knowing that if I have an issue with front-end/back-end integration, I've got IBM support to lean on and the confidence they know what RPG and the IBM i (AS/400) database are all about.  EGL can also play in a non-IBM i world, too. The EGL Forum has been a great resource for us over the years and the community is quick to provide help.  I follow it regularly as many posts have offered insight to application solutions I've not yet encountered or considered.

    Good look in the search for the right modernization tool.  Here's a link for the IBM i Modernization Redbook mentioned above. 

    Daron
    (wow!  Sorry for such a long post)

    Updated on 2014-08-22T21:35:23Z at 2014-08-22T21:35:23Z by canutri
  • it_jov
    it_jov
    7 Posts

    Re: EGL Vs other Tools/Languages

    ‏2014-08-24T16:36:14Z  

    Hi

    Many thanks to all for your reply

    our boss would like to use ASP.NET ; the idea was that to write the interface and then re-use more possbile RPGLE program batch,  RPGLE Srv Pgm nd SQL fro update datbase on iSeries; questions:

    1. for who knows ASP, which diffucult we can have for this choice that we avoid if we would use EGL ?

    2. with ASP: we have to learn HTML JAVA SCRIPT and other that with EGL is not necessary ?

    3. ASP program run only on MS Server and not in iSeries ? 

    4. with ASP we need necessarily another server besides iSeries ?

    Thanks again

     

  • Bram_Callewaert
    Bram_Callewaert
    116 Posts

    Re: EGL Vs other Tools/Languages

    ‏2014-08-25T08:31:47Z  
    • it_jov
    • ‏2014-08-24T16:36:14Z

    Hi

    Many thanks to all for your reply

    our boss would like to use ASP.NET ; the idea was that to write the interface and then re-use more possbile RPGLE program batch,  RPGLE Srv Pgm nd SQL fro update datbase on iSeries; questions:

    1. for who knows ASP, which diffucult we can have for this choice that we avoid if we would use EGL ?

    2. with ASP: we have to learn HTML JAVA SCRIPT and other that with EGL is not necessary ?

    3. ASP program run only on MS Server and not in iSeries ? 

    4. with ASP we need necessarily another server besides iSeries ?

    Thanks again

     

    I have not yet used asp.net so I can not evaluate.

    I can confirm dat no HTML or Javascript is required to create EGL Rich UI programs. If you would choose to you can extend the components with javascript if you like. I have only needed if to create a drag and drop file upload component.

    Can you start RPGLE batch programs and RPGLE service programs from ASP.NET?

  • Jerrycan
    Jerrycan
    27 Posts

    Re: EGL Vs other Tools/Languages

    ‏2014-08-25T18:29:15Z  
    • it_jov
    • ‏2014-08-24T16:36:14Z

    Hi

    Many thanks to all for your reply

    our boss would like to use ASP.NET ; the idea was that to write the interface and then re-use more possbile RPGLE program batch,  RPGLE Srv Pgm nd SQL fro update datbase on iSeries; questions:

    1. for who knows ASP, which diffucult we can have for this choice that we avoid if we would use EGL ?

    2. with ASP: we have to learn HTML JAVA SCRIPT and other that with EGL is not necessary ?

    3. ASP program run only on MS Server and not in iSeries ? 

    4. with ASP we need necessarily another server besides iSeries ?

    Thanks again

     

    About point 1: I think it's a lot harder to let ASP.NET talk with RPGLE. Only thing you can do (i think) is use stored procedures or User Defined Functions.

    About point 2:  For reading for example dataqueues you have to use the Java toolbox, so you have to learn Java. To determine, for example, the clients resolution you have to use Javascript.  And if you want to style your own components you also have to learn CSS and something about HTML.
    Still that doesn't mean it's hard to learn. You can find good tutorials on http://www.w3schools.com/ for most of these things.

    About point 4: yes you need another server, while using Websphere Application Server the database and applications are on the same server.