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XML Generation in RPG

The company I work for makes heavy use of their IBM Power i midrange servers (previously known as AS/400 or iSeries servers). A lot of their software is written in the RPG programming language, which IBM originally developed back in the 1960s. The language was originally written to generate reports and lacked many “modern” programming features, such as IF statements and subroutines, which were added in RPG III.

Since starting at my current company, I’ve been trying to learn the current version of RPG, which is RPG IV (aka RPGLE or ILE/RPG). Most of the running code that I see in RPG is actually written using RPG III syntax despite the fact that RPG IV has been out since 1994. This is mostly due to the fact that much of it was either generated programmatically or was written before 1994. My goal in learning RPG isn’t to become proficient enough to program RPG for a living, but instead to become proficient enough to help our organization transition their existing systems to more modern technologies as needed. However, my “outsider” view of RPG (coming from a Java/Perl/Ruby/etc background) has helped me do some things with it that long time RPG programmers might not think of trying to do. This is an example of that.
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