y2k countdown: New Dates for Year 2000 Projects: Part II

In this column Glenn continues his discussion of using the date data type feature of ILE/RPG to fix Y2K problems. Part I appeared in the May 24 issue.

In order to benefit you need to use ILE languages since the non ILE versions do not support the date data type functions. Unfortunately, there are some significant drawbacks to implementing applications that use date data types on the AS/400.

Take the seemingly simple task of converting all your code to ILE syntax. Sounds simple just use the CVTRPGSRC command and you’re done. Of course your converted code has none of the new date data type support, but it will be ILE RPG code.

The above assumes you have already verified that your source code and object code are the same. You would not want to do all this work on something that is not the real production code. For that matter, you might be missing source code further down stream in the project.

More than a maybe, all the RPG or COBOL CL Utilities and interfaces that your code uses have to be identified. Whether a piece of code gets changed depends on its functional use. Undoubtedly, all of your current date routines get replaced with the new DURation operation which makes all calculations standard and handled by the date data type functions. In addition to date arithmetic, you can even compute the day of the week, as well as other interesting date related items.

This is beginning to sound like date expansion, but with more code changes to accommodate the better functions and future ease of use. Gosh, those input editing routines should be so simple as to almost not be required. This strategy more than implies you will need to make more extensive modifications to your current applications.

If you implement the initial suggestion of just doing a CVTRPGSRC and nothing elsefor nowyou gain no immediate benefits concerning Year 2000 problems. However, you have adopted the new ILE languages into your inventory for post Year 2000 use.

Still have the determination to go forward? I admire your courage, but you really don’t want to go forward with the remediation effort without some sort of a tool to aid in the tedious labors and cross checking involved in Year 2000 projects. Fact is there are few tools that support RPG IV/ILE. For the most part that is driven by market opportunity, not from any differing level of complexity between the languages. You should compare any tools you find with those in the non-ILE world for apples-to-apples comparisons of functionality and costs.

While traditional methods will work, in many cases, there are very productive alternatives. How quickly you are able to move through this disruption with high quality and accuracy is a by-product of considering all the resources.

It is imperative that you keep an open mind, making maximum use of the new tools’ feature and functions. There is a balance between learning and using new "stuff", evaluating its usefulness and contribution to the project and the value of doing this to a finite level. If it cannot be done quickly, then hire someone who is knowledgeable and available to expedite steps forward in the remediation, testing, risk management, contingency planning or whatever your need. Just get it started and get it done on time with Quality & Assurance.

Nobody cares why this happened 40 years ago. Nobody cares that it became an acceptable industry standard. What they care about is how this will affect them and why it took so long to be addressed, if it is not completed in time without causalities. Next will be the performance and the ability to use this remediated application set for today’s business needs and to get on with business and take or regain their industry’s premier leadership position.

MIS will change as a consequence of Year 2000 project outcomes. There will be questions asked as to what you did to contribute to solving all of this. That being the case, there must be achievements and accomplishments on your part. The change will be governed by the success or inconvenience imposed on those affected.

One might look for new regulation on the IS industry. Certification, licensing, malpractice insurance, new standards and rules to follow. I do not know the outcomeeach of you are writing your own entry in the log.

GOOD LUCK with your Projects.

Glenn Ericson is president and founder of Phoenix Consulting LLC, in East Elmhurst, N.Y. He specializes in Year 2000 and risk management issues. Glenn-Ericson@att.net.