Career change RPG/ILE to ASP.net

8415 pts.
Tags:
AS/400
SQL Server 2008
Visual Studio 2008
After almost 30 years of RPG (from the old RPG I days) I am making the change to .Net. I felt that ASP.net would offer more of a challenge and reflect more of today's business needs. I am still working for the same company so no real risk in the move. My question is what do you think will be the hardest obstacle to overcome making the change? Terminology? Program flow? Structure? Any feedback would be great. I continue to use this site as it seems to have many very intelligent people here who go out of their way to help. That's what a good community does. Thanks in advance

Software/Hardware used:
as/400, Visual Studios 2008, SQL Server 2008 R

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  • carlosdl
    That's a hard question to answer for someone that has only been at one of the sides involved in this move. Based only on what I have read here from people in the AS400 side, I would think that both program flow and structure could be the areas with more differences from one technology to the other one, but I don't think you will find "hard obstacles". IMO .NET is the easiest thing to learn when it comes to software development, so I'm completely sure you will be more than fine.  
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  • TomLiotta
    Terminology? Program flow? Structure?   Yes, yes and yes. And a few others. E.g., you'll find yourself wishing over and over for a joblog.   There is no easy way. Much of what's become subconscious for you will need to be suppressed. You're simply going to have to learn from a detailed level.   During the past five years, have you done any actual RPG development outside of WDSC or RAD? If not, then you have a better start. Have you used WDSC or RAD debugging (or the standalone graphical debugger) instead of green-screen STRDBG? If so, you have a better start.   Every familiar aspect will help. They'll all be different, but recognizeable. It's like a COBOL programmer who is familiar with MOVE CORRESPONDING and who runs into RPG's EVAL-CORR. Not the same, but it'll make some sense. It makes much more sense than to an old-school RPG programmer who never used anything but MOVE and MOVEL and has to learn and understand both the EVAL- part and the CORR part at the same time. The rules are different for MOVE and EVAL.   Best thing to do is starting downloading/installing all of the tools now. Dive in. Track down every tutorial and spend your spare time, or available work time, and create projects. Stick with pure fundamentals for now. Absolute rule is "Make it work. THEN make it pretty."   Will you be creating any front-end code that interacts with an AS/400 back-end?
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  • ToddN2000
    Thanks for the feedback!   I have been getting my feet wet for the last 3 weeks on small examples. The programmer who is mentoring me has given me some basic jobs and we are expanding on them. Things like GridViews, FormViews with insert/update options, DropDownLists, ComboBoxes and called functions for calculations like gross margin % for example. I'm not too overwhelmed so I guess that’s a good thing. I will start formal training at a place called New Horizons in Connecticut soon for about 4 weeks. We have the Telerik Ajax control package here which is nice but I think I'd understand more doing things the long way for now. For an example we use stored procedures for data access instead of using SQLDataSource or ObjectDataSource. I play with those options off hours. I feel it will help me understand better.   I was never a big fan of WDSC, I prefered green screen coding, but I am getting the Visual Studios debugging tool pretty good.   The only other thing I am finding is a lot of the examples I see on-line are in C#, Java and VB. We use mostly VB here but would it be worthwhile after getting a grasp on asp.net to maybe pick up c# or Java? I do have at least another 15 years till retirement... Thanks again
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  • TomLiotta
    I'd suggest C# as soon as you feel like tackling it. I'd also give Java a run once C# fundamentals are known, but not before. -- Tom
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  • carlosdl
    Once you have learned VB you will find learning C# pretty easy.  The syntax is different, but the classes and methods used are basically the same, as they come from the .NET framework and are (in most cases) not specific to any of the languages.
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  • carlosdl
    "I’d also give Java a run once C# fundamentals are known, but not before" Tom, just curious, why would you advise against learning Java before C# ?
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  • TomLiotta
    ...why would you advise against learning Java before C# ?   Because of ToddN2000's background, current work and expected future career. I'd expect C# to be useful sooner, so it makes some quick sense to learn it sooner. But some conceptual similarities and differences between C# and Java may cause unnecessary confusion during learning phases.   With a solid basis in C# already established, extending into Java could be done without interfering with any actual project work that might be happening by then in C#. Going from Java to C#, or intermixing the learning of both, could make it more difficult to keep specifics separate.   Of course, if it's thought that Java would actually be used in significant projects first, then learning it first makes more sense. I didn't see any indication of that though.   Tom
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  • carlosdl
    That makes sense.
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  • ToddN2000
    Thanks again for all the feedback. It's nice to get some serious input to real issues.Talked to my manager, he was out of the office for a while,  as to other areas to focus. He said we have very little C# here so he said my next step would be to look at Java. Before that he gave me a book on HTML 4 thats about 1200 pages.. He said learn it by lunch.. I know he's joking and I already have a pretty good feel for HTML. He wants me to learn some of the advancements in HTML4 and CSS3.. Looks like I have my work cut out for me.
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  • carlosdl
    Good news.  Learning new things is good for the brain ;-)
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  • TomLiotta
    It seems a little odd (to me) to go strongly into .NET and VB, but then skip/ignore C# in favor of Java. But if that's the manager's choice, you might as well go full ahead with it. It's certainly all valuable. -- Tom
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  • TomLiotta
    I would appreciate if you will post  on daily basis...   You clearly have no idea what this thread is about. Your comment is obviously just an anonymous spam attempt. That marks your site as unreliable and unethical. No one should trust the site.   Thank you for warning all of us to stay away.   Tom
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