Why can’t I make the leap from RPG to Synon?

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RPG
Synon
AS/400 RPG programmer (8 yr) and COBOL (22 yr). New job uses Synon extensively. I feel like I'm drowning - I can't seem to make the leap from RPG to Synon. I can't visualize where to look or what to do when given a task. Changes that would take a day or two in RPG are taking 10 times longer, and I still need my hand held. Why can't I make the leap mentally? And I consider the HORSE Tutorial a waste - I feel like it says, "Do A, then B then C", without doing a good job of explaining WHY. Plus of course, it really doesn't address maintenance programming at all. At least not in my humble opinion. Someone please make the light come on for me, before I am out of a job.
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  • ToddN2000
    Wish I could help. It's tough learning something new at times. I went from almost 30+years of RPG to the VB.NET world. Just keep trying. I don't think there is a magic bullet to make the light turn on.
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  • aceofdelts

    I never worked with SYNON but I did spend time on another code-generator.

    One thing to remember is that it is not as precise as directly written code. So you'll hit an occasional step that it just can't do.

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  • philpl1jb

    I'm not a SYNON programmer so I have limited experience.

    maintenance programming -- is done by the same process as initial programming. You never touch the RPG or COBOL code you change the rules.

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  • TheRealRaven
    You haven't said how long you've been using Synon. The length of time with RPG/COBOL is somewhat irrelevant.

    A more useful time comparison would be if you'd been familiar with REXX for 8 yrs (and used it regularly), but then had to switch to using ObjectREXX. Making a switch like that is more representative of the paradigm shift to using an "application generator".

    And it should be noted that Synon is an "application generator" rather than just a "code generator". A "code generator" is more like writing and compiling a SQL stored proc. You write the SQL for the proc, and a form of C program is generated.

    But Synon wants to work at a higher level. It's like if you use iNavigator to drill down to your database to generate a complete database map. It can include tables, views, constraints -- all the parts that describe your database. Once you have that map (diagram) generated, that's the level where Synon works (but for your application rather than database).

    If you could draw new lines in the database diagram to indicate new relations, and perhaps erase some previous lines, add or remove some of the entities, and finally save the newly changed diagram, you might imagine that your entire database could be recreated to match that diagram. That's kind of what Synon does with the "model" of your application that you work with.

    As for why you're not getting it, it's just a matter of time. It's not quite expected that Synon is easy or that you can grasp it quickly. It's value is more in the integrity of the generated application. Rules are automatically enforced. Programmers can't simply ignore handling errors or take other shortcuts.

    The value is in what it can do for the business, not what it can do for you as a developer. For you, you simply have to keep plugging away. Every time you do a task, it'll be a little more automatic. At some point, more and more parts will start to make sense.

    And don't worry if a task takes longer. After a while, that won't be true simply because you'll start to know what steps to take.
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