James Governor's Monkchips

Oedipus REXX: joins OSS Dynamic Scripting

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Another short post (what is it with me this week, all my entries seems to be short and ostensive rather than networked and contextual)

Having recently noted that Sun is reaching out to the dynamic scripting language communities, by way of Tim, it made sense to follow up with this little tidbit. It turns out that IBM’s Object REXX is being open sourced.

Rexx is widely used in mainframe and OS/2 shops, but runs pretty much anywhere. as an IBM product it makes no sense in the world of open dynamic scripting that LAMP is driving. But as an open source project it becomes somewhat more interesting. I don’t expect Object REXX to grow in bursty fashion, but i wanted to flag another scripting environment joining the open community.


  1. As a mainframe Rexx user, I haven’t used a lot of the Object Rexx parts; however I do have to say that Rexx as a scripting language works very well and is very powerful for us. The “inheritance” or is that “un-inheritance” mechanism of passing functions into environments is nice, along with the ADDRESS command for when you want to force which environment gets the command/functio. The PARSE command makes handling input easy too. This should be a good addition to the field.

    Don’t forget, though, that there are already free implementations out their like Regina.

  2. Well its a long story for the historians, but Mike Colishaw from IBM Hursley was in essence the guy that got IBM into Java, at the time called Oak, as a way to rewrite his Rexx language into a portable, machine independant platform. Two things originated from this: NetRexx http://www2.hursley.ibm.com/netrexx/ which runs in all JVM’s and I’ve used on both mainframes, Linux and Windows. 2). The Java Technology Centre for IBM was based in Hursley.

    Mike Cowlishas is an IBM Fellow, and despite Tims assertion that Java is a three legged stool, NetRexx is much more than a crutch for people that can’t right real programs. It supports the language simplicity of REXX and the platform and library benefits of Java.

  3. There are 8 free or open source Rexx interpreters that I know of. 2 of these are object-oriented Rexxes, which are true supersets of standard Rexx and will run any standard Rexx script without alteration.

    Go to the Rexx Language Association (www.rexxla.org) or google on “Free Rexx” to find all this stuff.

  4. I use Regina at home for projects..


    There are links there for other add-ins to Rexx on the Regina. At work I use IBM’s implementation since it ships with the operating system I use (z/OS). I’ve used it (from sample code supplied by IBM) to access some files via URL. The program was probably 30-50 statements, including error-checking.

    I don’t know anyone using it right now for CGI purposes, but there’s no reason it couldn’t be. I’ll ask around some of my other Rexx-using
    >acquaintances, and let you know if I find out anything.


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