Open Object Rexx 4.0 Released (Aug 2009)
Following close on the heels of the beta release in April 2009, Open Object Rexx version 4.0 officially became available in August 2009.
4.0 is a major release for ooRexx. Among just a few of the new features are:
- New object-oriented APIs that give developers full control over the interpreter, variable pools, threads, and other low-level features
- Facilities that reduce the amount of code required to produce an external function library
- Features to make producing your own C++ classes easier and more transparent
- 64-bit compatibility
- Many other fixes and enhancements
All these improvements led to a full rewrite of the ooRexx interpreter. And the documentation has been reorganized and improved as well. (If you’re not familiar with it, ooRexx’s documentation has always been highly readable and is usable as a tutorial if you need one.)
Get more information on the new release at the Open Object Rexx website announcements page.
You can download the product and its documentation from the ooRexx website download page.
The official project web pages are at SourceForge for Open Object Rexx and its downloads.
Rexx Language Association -- Major Website Update (Jan 2009)
The Rexx Language Association has updated its website to an all-new look. You’ll like the site’s fresh new presentation, the useful information to be found there, and the site’s consistency with the Open Object Rexx project website.
Open Object Rexx 4.0 Beta Work Progresses (Dec 2008)
The Open Object Rexx team continues its strong progress. Work is ongoing on the big 4.0 release, which is likely sometime in mid- to late- 2009. With all the tools, quality documentation, and sample scripts, it’s hard to believe that all this value is free. You can freely download Open Object Rexx and get going quickly with the easy documentation. Downloads are available for Windows, Linux (rpm, deb, source), Mac OS X, Solaris, AIX. Great work by the OORexx team!
New Reginald Website (Aug 2008)
Reginald Rexx resides at a new host website. The project continues its progress with the completion of the the REXX Programmer Center (or RPC), a full Integrated Development Environment for Rexx on Windows. What I’ve always liked about Reginald is that its developer, Mr. Jeff Glatt, has deep insight into Windows programming and has evolved Reginald right into the middle of it. If you like Windows programming, you’ll be impressed with Reginald. Get some of the FAQs here.
NetRexx To Go Open Source (Mar 2008)
NetRexx goes open source! IBM is discussing with the Rexx Language Association turning over NetRexx to the RexxLA as an open source project (similar to how they did that with Open Object Rexx a few years ago). They announced this back in 2008.
Regina 3.4 Released (Dec 2007)
The twin goals of the Regina Rexx interpreter are to be 100% compliant with the ANSI Rexx standards, and to run on as many platforms as possible. This makes it the ideal cross-platform development tool.
Moreover, Regina Rexx has a proven track record as an industrial-strength product, and it comes with a ton of tools and add-on compatible extensions.
Regina 3.4 is now released. It comes with a ton of enhancements and minor bug fixes. You can see the whole list here. There are some great improvements not in the list as well. For example, installation is greatly simplified. Under Windows, for example, you just un-zip the download file and ensure the Rexx executables are in your Path, and you’re done. Fast, simple, nice. Regina is a great product and this release is well worth your time and the upgrade.
Download Regina Rexx and many add-on tools from the product page at SourceForge.
Open Object Rexx 3.1.2 Released (April 2007)
by the Rexx Language Association --
Today the Rexx Language Association announces the release of version 3.1.2 of the Open Object Rexx open source programming language.
"ooRexx" 3.1.2 includes a wide variety of enhancements and bug fixes including new methods and classes. This reference card indicates all the new features by color-coding:
Open Object Rexx is used world-wide to address a wide variety of programming and scripting problems.It is a true super-set of the classic procedural scripting language, Rexx, which was invented by IBM Fellow Michael Cowlishaw. Open Object Rexx ranks in the top few percent of the many thousands of SourceForge project downloads.
Open Object Rexx runs on Linux, Windows, Unix, and MacOS X. The product and all documentation can be freely downloaded from http://www.ooRexx.org/. The Rexx Language Association is a not-for-profit organization that enhances and maintains Open Object Rexx. Complete information is available from the Rexx LA at http://www.RexxLA.org/.
Open Object Rexx 3.1.1 Released (January 2007)
By the Rexx Language Association --
The Rexx Language Association is proud to inform the public that version 3.1.1 of Open Object Rexx (ooRexx) has been released and may be freely downloaded from ooRexx.org. For the first time, binary versions are available for Mac OSX and AIX. New binaries for Windows, Linux and Solaris have been created as well with versions for Solaris pending. In addition users can download the source code of Open Object Rexx and may freely and readily build the programming language themselves.
IBM donated the source code of its Object REXX product to the Rexx Language Association in December 2004 for publication and support as an open source project. With ooRexx 3.1.1 both the Rexx and open source communities can enjoy the numerous enhancements and fixes that have been incorporated into ooRexx under RexxLA stewardship. ooRexx ranks in the top few percent of all active project downloads on SourceForge.
* The Linux version of ooRexx 3.1.1-- The Linux version of ooRexx has been ported to many Linux distributions. At present an rpm-package is supplied that can be used for installing/updating ooRexx on the Linux x86 platform. As of October 2006 Open Object Rexx (ooRexx) was incorporated into Fedora Core Extras Repository, reflecting the increased support the open source version of Object Rexx has gained in the past 18 months.
* The Windows version of ooRexx 3.1.1-- The version 3.1.1 of ooRexx supersedes version 3.1 of August 2006 and fixes a few bugs on the Windows platform. Windows users of ooRexx 3.1 are urged to upgrade to version 3.1.1 as soon as possible. The Windows implementation of ooRexx makes it a WSE (Windows Script Engine) and can be used for interacting with Windows and Windows COM objects using OLE/ActiveX. ooRexx can be deployed on Windows wherever VBScript or JScript can be used e.g. as a DHTML scripting language or for ASP serving. In addition one can use Microsoft's WSH (Windows Script Host)to create COM classes (WSC, Windows Script COMponent) in ooRexx which then can be instantiated like any other COM class from C++, ooRexx, Visual Basic, even via DCOM (distributed COM)! Just look up the numerous small ("nutshell") samples that get installed with ooRexx on the Windows platform in the downloaded product's folders "%REXX_HOME%\samples\ole" and "%REXX_HOME%\samples\oodialog"
* The Mac OSX version of ooRexx 3.1.1-- The introduction of a binary package for MacOSX (PPC, Intel) marks another milestone for the Rexx/ooRexx community, bringing a powerful and easy to use programming language to this innovative platform. Furthermore, ooRexx programs on MacOSX can directly access Java, automatically making them open-platform applications.
* The Solaris version of ooRexx 3.1.1-- The Solaris version of ooRexx has been ported to the i386 versions 2.9, 2.10 and SPARC 2.9. There are pkg and tar versions supplied that can be used for installing/updating ooRexx on the i386 and SPARC platforms.
* The AIX version of ooRexx 3.1.1-- The introduction of a binary package for IBM's AIX operating system marks a milestone. It is the first open source version of Open Object Rexx for that platform. IBM has discontinued its commercial Object REXX for AIX, making ooRexx very important to professional AIX programmers.
* Documentation on Open Object Rexx (ooRexx)-- ooRexx is accompanied by probably the best documentation of any open source project. The documentation is freely available via the Internet either in the form of nicely formatted PDF books or rendered as HTML here. Also, a few interesting nutshell ooRexx examples are always installed with ooRexx , located in the "samples" directory and its optional subdirectories (depending on the platform). The internet newsgroup and the ooRexx SourceForge site are two of several sources for help.
About Open Object Rexx (ooRexx). Open Object Rexx (ooRexx) is an object-oriented scripting language. The original Rexx language was designed as a procedural tool for non-programmers, so it is easy to learn and easy to use. Open Object Rexx extends procedural Rexx with object-oriented features and provides an excellent vehicle to enter the world of object-oriented programming. ooRexx allows you to gradually change your approach to programming problems as you learn more about objects. ooRexx is backwards-compatible with Rexx and will run procedural and mixed procedural/object-oriented programs as well! See the homepage of ooRexx, which also points to the core developer team.
About Rexx Language Association (RexxLA). RexxLA is an international, not-for-profit organization based in North Carolina, U.S.A. with voluntary officers that span the world (America, Australia, Europe). RexxLA organizes the "International Rexx Symposium" every spring for Rexx enthusiasts. The upcoming 18th International Rexx Symposium is a five-day conference, 29 April - 3 May 2007 (Sunday - Thursday) in Tampa, Florida, USA. The homepage of the RexxLA points to the officers and the International Rexx symposia.
Time to Open-Source NetRexx ? (November 2006)
I’ve been calling scripting the “silent revolution” for some time now. Scripting languages have exploded in use, yet in the computer industry trade press, they get little publicity. The reason is that while they are extensively used, they present little revenue opportunity for vendors and others with an interest in driving publicity.
Lately, though, this publicity vacuum has been filling. Both EWeek and Infoworld recently published articles on what they now call “dynamic languages” (an old rule of the tech biz is that mature technologies can only be publicized if they change their names to cover their history first).
The Infoworld article is especially interesting in that it takes a good hard look at NetRexx. It directly compares NetRexx to Ruby, two dynamic languages that were introduced at roughly the same time.
The article lists many of the technical advantages to NetRexx:
- “It runs interactively or can be compiled into Java bytecodes….NetRexx is highly productive and easy to learn, with numerous elegant constructs… all Java libraries can be accessed from NetRexx,
- plus it enjoys the performance benefits of the Java Virtual Machine.”
The article then asks: “So which of these two languages are more successful: the fast, elegant NetRexx, or the far less intuitive and slower Ruby? Contrary to what one would expect, Ruby is flying high today – NetRexx is nearly dead.”
The article concludes that the reason Ruby has succeeded in gaining popularity while NetRexx has not is that: “Ruby is open source and NetRexx is not. The result is that Ruby was able to build an active developer community… Meanwhile, NetRexx limps along, unattended and friendless, despite its great merit. Had IBM open sourced it, scripting today might be wholly different.”
This article has a lot of merit. It certainly is objective – the author is sincere and not a promoter of some sort. He points out many of the technical benefits of NetRexx, which truly is a remarkable language. And then he explores why such a great language has its fans, but has never gained the widespread popularity it merits.
Would open sourcing popularize NetRexx? There are two ways to look at this question. First, historically— what would have happened had IBM open-sourced NetRexx back when the language was introduced a decade ago? We can never know the answer to this question. The author of the Infoworld article argues that NetRexx would have become a widely popular scripting language. It’s got so many great technical features, plus that unusually cool integration with Java and its JVM.
The second question is current-- could open sourcing NetRexx today lead to greater popularity for the language? For one possible result, we look to Open Object Rexx. Under the moniker “Object Rexx,” IBM sold and promoted this language for a decade— to little effect. Yet within a year of being handed over to the Rexx Language Association and open-sourced, its use is exploding. SourceForge statistics show that Open Object Rexx has been in the top one percent of downloads for months now.
With virtually no outside publicity, Open Object Rexx is taking off. It is open source and developers love it. It’s also got a top-notch technical team behind it (featuring superstars like David Ashley, Mark Hessling, Rony Flatscher, Rick McGuire, and Mark Miesfeld, among others).
The developer community the Infoworld author attests to as critical has formed around Open Object Rexx.
Would open sourcing NetRexx do the same for it? Maybe. It depends on whether its fans would gather ‘round to support and develop it the way the outstanding Open Object Rexx community and its developer team have done.
Ultimately, there’s only one way to find out. If the enough users are willing to take it on, IBM should open source NetRexx. Let NetRexx find its own way.
Open Object Rexx 3.1 Beta Released (June 2006)
This month brings the exciting news of the version 3.1 beta release of Open Object Rexx. The new release changes the install path from /usr/local to /opt/ooRexx, in order to conform to the Linux standards referred to as Linux Standard Base. It comes with new functions in the REXXUTIL package, the set of routines that enable cross-platform programming through a common interface. These new functions begin with the letters SysIs*. 3.1 offers other new goodies as well. Most important is that the ooRexx team has had time to fully croison the product.
Let’s backtrack for a moment about what Open Object Rexx is and how you can take advantage of it. IBM originally developed the product in the mid-1990s. They called it Object REXX. IBM open-sourced the product in December 2004 and gave over responsibility for its future care and feeding to the Rexx Language Association. The product was renamed Open Object Rexx (or ooRexx for short).
ooRexx provides all the features of object-oriented programming – classes, methods, messaging, single and multiple inheritance, operating overloading or polymorphism, and data encapsulation. Have you ever heard someone say that an object-oriented language is only as good as its class library? If so, ooRexx is a winner.
ooRexx gives you all the power you could want from an object-oriented programming language. Yet it retains all the benefits of traditional or classic Rexx. ooRexx is a true superset of classic Rexx. So you can run procedural Rexx programs – without any change – under ooRexx.
If you’re new to object oriented programming (OOP), you can transition to it at any pace you like. Intermix object-oriented and procedural code in your ooRexx programs. It’s ok, since ooRexx will run it all.
If you have legacy Rexx code, that’s ok too. It will run under ooRexx without any migration or changes.
You can see the advantages to ooRexx.
The question I get most often about ooRexx is— how can I learn it? Is there some book I can buy?
There is no current ooRexx book. But there are more than enough free resources available to learn this language. To get a quick one-page overview of ooRexx, read this short article or this short description at the ooRexx website..
Next, dive into any of the several tutorials on ooRexx we’ve posted at www.RexxInfo.org (you may have to scroll down to the “Object-oriented Rexx” label in the Tutorials to see them). Once you’ve got your feet wet, you’re ready for the more advanced information in our ooRexx How-Toﾒs. These include discussions and example scripts for how to use ooRexx to automate Microsoft Excel and ActiveX, and several papers on how to automate Open Office with ooRexx. Among them are tutorials and papers from Dr. Rony Flatscher, one of the world’s acknowledged ooRexx experts, along with several of his students and several other Rexx Language Association ooRexx gurus.
The Rexx Programmer’s Reference has two chapters that introduce ooRexx and offer an introductory tutorial.
The formal ooRexx documentation is accessible the ooRexx project documentation page and from our ooRexx Reference section (again, you may have to scroll down to see the “Object-oriented Rexx” portion of the Reference Section). Be sure to look over the ooRexx Programming Guide that comes with the product. It reads more like a well-written book than a traditional software manual.
You can download many example ooRexx scripts from our ooRexx sample code section. And of course, ooRexx itself downloads with a couple dozen example scripts.
Finally, check out the ooRexx project web site. Download ooRexx from its downloads page or get any of the product manuals from its documentation page.
The Bottom Line
So there you have it. A fabulous, free language that gives you the power you need, while retaining Rexx’s traditional ease of use and full backwards compatibility with classic Rexx.
We all owe a big “thank you” to the ooRexx team -- W. David Ashley, Rony Flatscher, Mark Hessling, and Rick McGuire… and all the others who have contributed.
Ever thought about contributing to ooRexx yourself? This might be your chance to participate in an open source project! The ooRexx Project is young, and they’re looking for a few folks who might enjoy contributing. Check it out at the bottom of the ooRexx project’s FAQs page.
Happy object-oriented scripting!