CL vs. COBOL vs. RPG

Profile: kodurivb123
CL Program
I'm new to AS/400. I have basic knowledge regarding AS/400 and CL, so my doubt is how to start. Which one is the easier thing to learn and is there any link with these 3 programming languages. Give me some suggestions. Thank you.

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  • azohawk

    CL Programs are program with CL commands that primarily interact with the OS to: accomplish a specific task, prepare a program, control the flow of mutiple programs together, etc.

    COBOL and RPG programs are primarily for interacting with the database on the system (CL is rather poor at this).

    In 20 years on the system, I have only encountered 2 system running COBOL applications (and both were running the same ERP). While a good programming language, rarely used in this environment.

    RPG is widely used. But there are a variety of flavors of RPG: RPG II, RPG III, RPG IV, RPG/Free.  While there are similarities, they are very unique.  (And before someone says "why do you mention RPG II?" Last week I ran into an RPG II progra m on our system)  Today most people are writing new code w/ RPG /free, but being familiar with older versions of RPG.  Many modern RPG programs even send CL commands eliminating the need for some of the CL programs we used to write routinely.   Note also, IBM is encouraging stronger use of SQL to accomplish tasks and SQL code can be included in an RPG program. 

    If you don't have a nearby college you can take courses at, I recommend getting books that Jim Buck has had a hand in and Robert Cozy's "Modern RPG Language" (check for which version you are learing) book.  There are a number of good books on RPG, the system, even CL programiing, I just think that these are good for getting started. I use Cozy for reference when I can't recall the syntax for something. Bucks books will give give you a good understanding of how command and RPG logic work together.  There are also a number of references to webpages else where on this list that have good starter information.


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  • ToddN2000
    CL is the control language that manages the RPG programs work flow. RPG has become easier to code in since the early days of RPG 1 back in the early 1980's. I have only seen Cobol in one job I have had back in 1982. Cobol might be easier for some as it is very lengthy and easy to read. Almost like a book. You can make variable names much longer and easier to follow when coding.
    With RPG, there is a lot of functionality with new technology for things like XML and CGI (developing web UI interfaces). I do not know if this is available in Cobol. I have not worked with it since 1982. 
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