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    Tips for Hiring RPG Developers for IBM iSeries Application Development

    IBMi, previously known as OS400, is a venerable operating system. In its current avatar of version 7.4, the OS provides more innovative services under the hood for RPG developers. This operating system has all the trappings of a future-proofed system. From enhanced security to integration support, new-gen tech and simplified systems administration, the system is ready to give a smooth experience in terms of handling operations at the workplace.

    How IBMi OS and IBM Power Systems are Leveraged by Organizations?

    Customer-facing Applications

    Various critical applications are used by companies, and they need high availability of services, due to this they use the IBM Power Systems server series. Such business applications are used by end-users such as insurance agents, for example, to submit their client’s claims. They may also need to adjust the policy dynamically.

    Furthermore, banks, and financial consultants have constant need of high-throughput applications and RPG development services can fulfil this need of yours. It helps keep their business on the clock and employees productive. Such clients use IBM Power Systems and the iSeries Platform ecosystem to build their web assets.

    Resilient Applications Providing High Assurance

    Applications that have closely integrated disaster recovery strategy and high availability use the IBMi Platform. As an example, the IBM PowerHA from the IBM Power Systems family is used by RPG developers for provisioning high-availability clusters. Companies with backup, storage, high availability, and cluster computing needs can rely on the RSCT (Reliable Scalable Cluster Technology) enabled PowerHA. Resiliency-critical applications can now function as high-assurance apps with no data loss and seamless integration with a DR environment.

    Role of RPG developers in IBM iSeries Application Development

    Before answering this question, it is essential to take a step back and discuss the RPG module to understand how it relates to the whole IBMi ecosystem and for hiring RPG developers. RPG is no different from any other high-level programming language, but that’s only in theory. In practice, by implementation and based on the internal mechanisms of the programming language, RPG is a domain-centric programming language. RPG solely belongs to the IBM ecosystem, so it can only be used to program and deploy IBM business applications by RPG development services.

    RPG IV as an Integrative Programming Language

    RPG IV is the current stable version of this programming language. RPG currently run on the IBMi operating system. RPG developers create applications in the RPG programming language. These applications are used on IBM Power Systems (AS400 systems  /Server i series).

    RPG has for long been amongst the most reliable programming language for developing commercial business applications. RPG 2 was the long-standing RPG version before the birth of modules such as advanced integrated RPG or ILE.

    RPG 2 powered mid-range to small IBM systems such as 1130, system3, system4, system36, and system370. The quality of being fixed format was RPG 2 because the code and its elements relied on the correct ordering concerning the columns to generate non-error output. It ensured developer productivity, high program fidelity, optimized code, and efficient applications.

    RPG 3 came shortly to run applications for system38 systems, which were more significant. RPG 3 supported newer programming constructs and loops for RPG developers. Subroutines, IF END statements, Make Loops, and IF conditions found their way into the RPG module with RPG 3.

    RPG IV or RPG ILE (Integrated Language Environment) is the latest version. It is an enhancement over RPG 3. RPG IV supports more powerful programming techniques along with all the loop and conditional constructs that RPG 3 offers. It is achieved by way of longer field names that allow more code density per line of execution. Source level debugging, free-format expressions, additional data types, built-in APIs, and case tolerance let RPG IV be as good as some other commercial general-purpose programming languages for RPG developers.

    RPG IV and the Benefits of ILE

    RPG IV’s main distinguishing feature is that it is ILE compliant. ILE provides an overarching set of tools for RPG developers on OS/400 or IBMi operating systems. RPG ILE programs are compiled by one of the ILE family of compilers specifically designed for RPG. There exist other ILE compilers for other programming languages. These are, namely, ILE C++, ILE COBOL, and ILE CL.

    ILE offers a range of benefits for RPG developers, binding, modularity, reusable components, standard runtime services, coexistence with existing apps, source debugger, better control over resources, more control over language interactions, and enhanced code optimization.

    RPG ILE or advanced integrated RPG enables RPG to be object-oriented, reusable, and modular. It enables real-world modelling entities as classes and objects. Code reuse enables accelerated development cycles across multi-developer environments. Binding support with other languages increases the versatility of RPG. Irrespective of whether there are COBOL, C++, and CL applications, RPG can easily interact with applications developed in non-RPG languages via ILE. Despite high levels of integration, static binding, and inclusion of new features, RPG applications are fully backward compatible.

    A high-level Outline of RPG Programmer Tasks

    RPG programmers perform a wide variety of tasks. They create new codes, maintain existing regulations, upgrade codes to new RPG versions, etc. At a high level, the following are the activities performed by RPG developers:

    • An RPG programmer will analyze, design, develop, and maintain IBM i software applications or iSeries RPG web services written in any or all these programming languages – RPG, RPG ILE, SQL, and RPG-FREE.
    • Note that RPG ILE or advanced integrated RPG refers to RPG IV, the two terms are used in lieu of each other, but they are the same. RPG/400 programs can be transitioned to RPG ILE program codes.
    • RPG Free or RPG Free Form is a version of RPG ILE that allows RPG developers to write the logic in free format. Because there is an efficient use of space, it is easier to code in this format, and reading
    • Free Form RPG is also one of the reasons why developers of other programming languages move over to RPG. New-gen RPG developers love the flexibility of RPG Free Form and prefer it to write business applications.
    • Read through functional specifications. Produce code documentation and supporting literature such as design documentation. Develop algorithms or pseudo-codes for advanced integrated RPG applications.
    • Create RPG applications, iSeries RPG web services, add security for existing ones, fix existing RPG applications or transform existing RPG applications.
    • Business process troubleshooting for issue diagnosis. Debugging software to identify and rectify software defects. Implement fixes or patches to resolve bugs.

    Tips for Hiring RPG Developers

    IBM i OS and IBMi platform is the default choice for high load business applications. The presence of ILE enables iSeries app development by RPG developers to leverage the ILE to be a versatile application development platform. It has ensured that iSeries is not restricted to data-heavy applications but also lightweight applications. iSeries can develop web applications, interactive applications, low-code Lansa apps, Synon2/E apps, etc.

    Banks, healthcare organizations, the manufacturing sector, and government agencies also use RPG ILE app development because of its leading-edge technologies. AI, ML, and IoT application development are underway for all these sectors on the iSeries platforms.

    Given this enormous potential and problem domains that exist, the need to hire RPG developers is pertinent. Hiring RPG developers from a custom software services and solutions firm is the best way to go about it. The following are some of the salient points to consider at a high level when hiring RPG developers.

    • Hiring RPG developers from universities or open markets may not be a good idea. RPG development is a specialized skill. Because it is restricted to IBM power systems, the pool of quality RPG development personnel’s is shrunken. RPG developers who have worked on real projects are hard to find. Getting such talent on one’s own is impossible. The best approach is to work with a software development services firm to outsource iSeries app development and iSeries RPG web services application development activities.
    • Ability to manage RPG code in a heterogeneous environment– An IT environment is complex and comprises multi-various technologies. An RPG developer should be able to understand such settings and implement new integrations. It means that they should know how to leverage interoperability frameworks to make cross-programming language resource invocations. They must know how to work with new data formats, integrate them, and store such data.
    • Web services knowledge– Modern day applications are completely micro-serviced and have web-enabled interfaces. RPG development services firms must know how to use XML and JSON to create web services that can work with RPG applications and multi-programming language applications.


    Integrative Systems provides expert RPG developers to help clients develop mission-critical, highly optimized, and resilient, business applications. If you are looking for a partner to help you in IBM iSeries AS400 application or if you need a RPG developer for your next project, you can count on us. Feel free to share all your requirements at [email protected] and some from our team will connect with you soon.

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