What is the Purpose of RPG Programming Language?

iTechnolabs-What is the Purpose of RPG Programming Language

The RPG programming language, also known as Report Program Generator, was initially designed for creating business applications on IBM mainframe computers. It was introduced in the late 1950s and has since gone through several updates and versions.

One of the main purposes of RPG is to simplify the process of developing applications for business use. It provides a structured and efficient way of writing programs that perform data processing tasks such as calculations, file handling, and report generation.

RPG is best suited for handling large amounts of data and performing complex calculations. This makes it ideal for business applications that deal with financial transactions, inventory management, payroll processing, and other similar tasks.

Another purpose of RPG is its ability to integrate with other programming languages and systems. RPG programs can call programs written in other languages or access data from external sources, making it a versatile tool for developers.

What Is RPG Programming Language?

Report Program Generator (RPG) is a high-level programming language primarily used for developing business applications on IBM mainframe computers. Originally designed in the 1960s, RPG has a long history and has evolved significantly over the years. It is known for its simplicity and efficiency in handling data processing tasks, which makes it a popular choice among businesses for generating reports and managing transactional data.

The language is particularly appreciated for its straightforward syntax and ease of use, allowing developers to write code quickly and efficiently. Over the decades, multiple versions and updates have been released, each enhancing its capabilities and keeping it relevant in the ever-changing landscape of information technology. Modern iterations of RPG, such as RPG IV, have introduced advanced features and improved integration with contemporary programming environments, ensuring that it remains a valuable tool for enterprise computing needs.

Also Read: The Leading Object-oriented Programming Languages for 2024

What Is The Use Of RPG Programming Language?

As mentioned earlier, the primary use of RPG (Report Program Generator) is for developing business applications on IBM mainframe computers. This includes tasks such as financial transactions, inventory management, payroll processing, and other similar functions critical to business operations. The language’s strength lies in its ability to handle large amounts of data efficiently and perform complex calculations accurately, making it an ideal choice for industries that require robust data processing capabilities.

Additionally, RPG is commonly used for generating detailed reports and creating user interfaces for data entry and display. Its simple syntax makes it ideal for creating interactive screens that can be easily navigated by users without technical expertise. This user-friendly aspect is crucial in environments where employees need to input or retrieve information quickly and accurately without extensive training.

Another important use of RPG is its integration capabilities with other programming languages and systems. This allows developers to leverage the strengths of different languages and systems to create more robust and comprehensive applications. For instance, RPG programs can call programs written in other languages such as Java or C, and can also access data stored in relational databases and other external sources like XML files or web services. This interoperability makes it a versatile tool for enterprise computing needs, enabling businesses to adapt their IT infrastructure to meet evolving requirements without discarding existing systems.

Why Learn RPG Programming?

Learning RPG programming can offer many benefits, both for individuals and businesses. Here are some reasons why learning RPG might be a valuable skill:

1. RPG Developer Demand:

Despite its long history, there is still a high demand for RPG developers in various industries such as finance, manufacturing, and healthcare. Many businesses continue to rely on legacy systems that require RPG programming skills for maintenance and updates. As these businesses modernize and incorporate newer technologies, the need for RPG expertise will only increase.

2. Job Opportunities:

With the demand for RPG developers, there are ample job opportunities available for those with this skill set. This can result in stable and well-paying careers for individuals who learn and specialize in RPG programming.

3. Versatility:

As mentioned earlier, RPG’s integration capabilities with other languages and systems make it a versatile tool for enterprise computing needs. This versatility makes it a valuable skill to have in today’s technology landscape where businesses often rely on multiple systems and platforms.

4. Connection to IBM I:

RPG is the primary language used on IBM i, a popular server platform for businesses. By learning RPG, individuals can gain an in-depth understanding of this platform and its unique capabilities, making them valuable assets to companies that use IBM i.

5. Effortless Use:

RPG’s English-like syntax and simple coding structure make it relatively easy for beginners to learn. Its straightforward nature allows new programmers to quickly grasp the fundamentals without feeling overwhelmed by complex concepts. This makes RPG an attractive option for individuals looking to enter the world of programming or to add new skills to their repertoire. Additionally, the language’s robust community and extensive documentation provide ample support for learners at all levels, further enhancing its appeal as a starting point for aspiring developers.

6. A Robust Community:

Despite being a niche programming language, RPG has a dedicated and active community of developers who are passionate about the language. This community provides a supportive environment for sharing knowledge, discussing best practices, and helping each other overcome challenges in their coding journey.

7. High Pay:

Due to its niche nature and the specific demand from businesses that use IBM i systems, RPG developers often command higher salaries compared to programmers with skills in more mainstream languages. This is because RPG (Report Program Generator) is a specialized language primarily used in legacy systems and finding proficient developers can be challenging for companies reliant on IBM i. Consequently, this scarcity drives up the value of RPG expertise. For individuals aiming to boost their earning potential, learning RPG can be a smart career move. It not only opens up opportunities for companies needing to maintain and upgrade their IBM i systems but also positions individuals as valuable assets in a niche market. Furthermore, expertise in a less common but critical language can provide job security and the possibility of career advancement in specialized roles.

Read More: Programming Languages Compatible with Flutter

History of RPG Programming Language

RPG (Report Program Generator) was created by IBM in 1959 to develop reports for business applications. It has since undergone several updates and revisions, evolving into a robust programming language used in enterprise systems. RPG’s development was heavily influenced by the dominant punch card technology of that era. The language initially lacked looping constructs and relied on columns to indicate program flow, adopting a top-to-bottom approach instead of conventional control structures like IF-ELSE or WHILE loops.

  • 1959: IBM created RPG (Report Program Generator) to facilitate report generation for business applications. This initial version aimed to simplify the process of producing business reports, which were crucial for decision-making and operations.
  • 1960s: Early versions of RPG were heavily influenced by punch card technology, relying on a column-based approach for indicating program flow. This method was rigid, but it was effective in the context of the technology available at the time, ensuring that data processing tasks could be automated to a certain extent.
  • 1970s: The introduction of RPG II marked a significant evolution, enhancing the language with features such as file handling and improved data processing capabilities. This allowed businesses to manage their data more efficiently and perform more complex operations, thus expanding the scope of what could be achieved with RPG.
  • 1980s: The release of RPG III brought with it modern control structures like IF-ELSE statements and program modularity. These advancements made the language more versatile and powerful, enabling programmers to write more sophisticated and maintainable code. It also made RPG more accessible to those familiar with other programming languages.
  • 1990s: During this decade, RPG IV (also known as ILE RPG) emerged, offering a more readable syntax and integration with other programming languages in the IBM i environment. This version of RPG was designed to be more user-friendly and to support modern programming practices, making it easier for developers to create robust applications.
  • 2000s: The evolution towards Free-Form RPG allowed for free-format code entry, significantly improving readability and ease of use. This change made the language more flexible and aligned it more closely with other modern programming languages, which helped attract a new generation of developers to RPG.
  • 2010s: Continuous enhancements were made, focusing on web services, XML processing, and integration with modern technologies. These updates ensured that RPG could be used in contemporary application development, supporting new business requirements and technological advancements.
  • Present: RPG remains a critical language for legacy system maintenance and enterprise applications, with ongoing support and updates from IBM. Despite the emergence of numerous new programming languages, RPG’s robustness and reliability continue to make it a valuable tool for businesses that rely on IBM i systems. Its ability to integrate with modern technologies ensures that it remains relevant and useful in today’s fast-evolving tech landscape.

iTechnolabs-Are you planning to build a Platform like Soundcloud


In conclusion, iTechnolabs is a reputable and reliable partner for all your RPG programming language needs. Their expertise, customized solutions, cutting-edge tools and technologies, comprehensive support and maintenance, community-building efforts, and seamless integration capabilities make them the go-to choice for businesses looking to leverage the power of RPG in their development projects. With iTechnolabs by your side, you can be confident that your RPG language will be robust, efficient, and well-maintained throughout its lifespan.

Looking for Free Software Consultation?
Fill out our form and a software expert will contact you within 24hrs
Need Help With Development?
Need Help with Software Development?
Need Help With Development?

We trust that you find this information valuable!

Schedule a call with our skilled professionals in software or app development