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Each REXX instruction is one ore more clauses, the first clause is the one that identifies the instruction. Instructions end with a semicolon or with a new line. One instruction may be continued from one line to the next by using a comma at the end of the line. Open strings or comments are not affected by line ends.

The General Guidelines are:

refers to a variable, which can be assigned any value. name is a symbol with the following exception: the first character may not be a digit or a period. The value of name is translated to uppercase before use, and forms the initial value of the value of the variable. Some valid names are:
Fred COST? next index A.j


is a form of labels for CALL instructions, SIGNAL instructions, and internal function calls. The colon acts as a clause separator.


is a parsing template, described in a later section.


is any one of the listed instructions.

The Instructions are:

the value of expression is issued as a command, normally to the command interpreter or to the specified environment specified by the ADDRESS instruction. Look also the section "Issuing Commands to Host System."
'dir' '*.exe'

name = [expr];

is an assignment: the variable name is set to the value of expr.
fred = 'sunset'
a = 1 + 2 * 3
a = /* a contains '' */

ADDRESS [<symbol | string> [expr]] | VALUE expr | (env);

redirect commands or a single command to a new environment. ADDRESS VALUE expr may be used for an evaluated environment name.
address int2e 'dir' /* executes through int2e a dir cmd */
address system /* all the following command will be addressed to system */
env = 'dos'
address value env /* change address to dos */
address (env) /* change address to dos */

ARG <template>;

parse argument string(s) given to program or in an internal routine into variables according to template. Arguments are translated into uppercase before the parsing. Short for PARSE UPPER ARG.
/* program is called with args "autoexec.bat auto.old" */
arg src dest
/* src = "AUTOEXEC.BAT", dest="AUTO.OLD" */
/* a function is called MARMITA('Bill',3)
arg firstarg, secondarg
/* firstarg = "BILL", secondarg = "3" */

CALL [symbol | string] [<expr>] [,<expr>]... ;
[ON|OFF <condition> [NAME label]];

call an internal routine, an external routine or program, or a built-in function. Depending on the type of routine called, the variable RESULT contains the result of the routine. RESULT is uninitialized if no result is returned.
CALL SUBSTR 'makedonia',2,3
/* now. variable result = 'ake' */
/* the same can be obtained with */
result = SUBSTR('makedonia',2,3)

In the following sections there is a description of all the built-in rexx functions.

Internal functions are sequence of instructions inside the same program starting at the label that matches the name in the CALL instruction.

If the function is not found in the current program, then REXX will search for a file that matches the name in the CALL instruction and the same extension like the current program, and will load it as an external rexx function.

External routines are like internal but written in a separate module that can be used as a library. Rexx libraries are rexx files with many external routines which must be loaded with the built-in function LOAD before they are used (see below).

As external routines can be used any DOS command or program that uses standard input and output.

/* external programs can be called as routines */
/* and the output of the program (to stdout) will */
/* be returned as the result string of the function */
CALL "dir" "*.exe","/w" /* or */
files = "dir"('*.exe',"/w")
current_directory = 'cd'()
For CALL ON/OFF condition look below at the SIGNAL instruction.

DO[ [name=expri [TO exprt] [BY exprb]
[FOR exprf]] | [ FOREVER | exprr ]
[UNTIL expru | WHILE exprw] ;
[instr]... ;
END[symbol] ;

DO is used to group many instructions together and optionally executes them repetively.

Simple DO loop are used to execute a block of instructions often used with IF-THEN statements.
Note: Simple DO loops are not affected with ITERATE or LEAVE instructions (see below)

IF name = 'Vivi' THENDO
i = i + 1
SAY 'Hello Vivi'

Simple repetitive loops.
Note: in DO expr, expr must evaluate to an integer number.

DO 3/* would display 3 'hello' */
SAY 'hello'

Inifinite loops

DO FOREVER/* infinite loop, display always */
SAY 'lupe forever'/* 'hello' */

Loops with control variable. name is stepped from expri to exprt in steps of exprb, for a maximum of exprf iterations.

DO i = 1 TO 10 BY 3 /* would display the numbers */
SAY i /* 1, 4, 7, 10 */
Note: all the expressions are evaluated before the loop is executed and may result to any kind of number, integer or real.

Conditional loops

a = 2 /* would display */
DO WHILE a < 5 /* 2 */
SAY a /* 4 */
a = a + 2
Note: exprw and expru are evaluated in each iteration and must result to 0 or 1. WHILE expression is evaluated before each iteration, where UNTIL expression is evaluated at the end of each iteration.

You can combine them like:

a = 1 /* would display */
DO FOR 3 WHILE a < 5 /* 1 */
SAY a /* 2 */
a = a + 1 /* 3 */

DROP <name | (nameind)> [<name | (nameind)>]... ;

DROP (reset) the named variables or group of variables by freeing their memory. It returns them in their original uninitialized state.
If a variable is enclosed in parenthesis then DROP resets all the variables that nameind contains as separate words.
If an exposed variable is named, the variable itself in the older generation will be dropped! If a stem is specified all variables starting with that stem will be dropped.
j = 2
vars="j b stem."
DROP a x.1 y.j /* resets variables A X.1 and Y.2 */
DROP z. /* resets all variables with names
starting with Z. */
DROP (name) /* resets variables j b and stem. */

EXIT [expr] ;

leave the program (with return data, expr). EXIT is the same as RETURN except that all internal routines are terminated.
EXIT 12*3 /* will exit the program with RC=36 */

IF expr [;] THEN [;] instr ;
[ELSE [;] instr];

if expr evaluates to "1", executes the instruction following the THEN. Otherwise, when expr evaluates to "0", the instruction after ELSE is executed, if ELSE is present.
IF name="Vivi" THEN SAY "Hello Vivian"
ELSE SAY "Hello stranger"


expr is evaluated and then is processed, as it was a part of the program.
cmd = "SAY 'Hello'"
INTERPRET cmd /* displayes "Hello" */

ITERATE [name] ;

start next iteration of the innermost repetitive loop (or loop with control variable name).
DO i = 1 TO 5 /* would display: 1 */
IF i=3 THEN ITERATE /* 2 */
SAY i /* 4 */
END /* 5 */

LEAVE [name] ;

terminate innermost repetitive loop (or loop with control variable name).
DOi = 1 TO 5 /* would display: 1 */
IF i=3 THEN LEAVE /* 2 */

LOWER name [name]...

translate the values of the specified individual variables to lowercase.
name = 'ViVi'
LOWER name /* now, name = 'vivi' */


dummy instruction, has no effect.
IF name^='Vivi' THEN NOP; ELSE SAY 'Hello Vivi.'

FUZZ [expr] ;

Set the number of significant digits used for all arithmetic operations.
Note: In BRexx all numerical operations are performed either with the 32bit integer type or 64 double precission, so the numeric digits is limited for floating point operations to maximum 22 digits.

PARSE [UPPER] + ARG + [template] ;
| PULL |
| VALUE [expr] WITH |
| VAR name |

Parse is used to assign data from various sources to one or more variables according to the template (see below for template patterns)

PROCEDURE [EXPOSE name|(varind) [name|(varind)]...] ;

start a new generation of variables within an internal routine. Optionally named variables or groups of variables from an earlier generation may be exposed. If a stem is specified (variable ending in '.' dot, ie 'A.') then every variable starting with this stem will be exposed. Indirect exposure is also posible by enclosing inside parenthesis the variable varind which contains contains as separate words all variables to be exposed
i = 1; j = 2
ind = "i j"
CALL myproc
CALL myproc2
myproc: PROCEDURE EXPOSE i /* would display */
SAY i j /* 1 J */
myproc2: PROCEDURE EXPOSE (ind) /* would display */
say i j /* 1 2 */

PULL [template] ;

pops the next string from rexx internal stack. If stack is empty then it prompts for input. Translates it to uppercase and then parses it according to template. Short for PARSE UPPER PULL.
PUSH 'Vassilis Vlachoudis'
/* --- many instrs ---- */
PULL name surname /* now: name='BILL', */
/* surname='VLACHOUDIS' */

PUSH [expr] ;

push expr onto head of the rexx queue (stack LIFO)

QUEUE [expr] ;

add expr to the tail of the rexx queue (stack FIFO)

RETURN [expr] ;

return control from a procedure to the point of its invocation. if expr exits, then it is returned as the result of the procedure.
num = 6
SAY num || '! = ' fact(num)
fact: PROCEDURE /* calculate factorial with */
IF arg(1) = 0 THEN RETURN 1 /* recursion */
RETURN fact(ARG(1)-1) * ARG(1) /* displayes: 6! = 720 */

SAY [expr];

evaluate expr and then writes the result to standard output (normally user's console) followed by a newline.

WHEN expr [;] THEN [;] instr;
[ WHEN expr [;] THEN [;] instr; ]
[ OTHERWISE [;] [instr]... ];

SELECT is used to conditionally process one of several alternatives. Each WHEN expression is evaluated in sequence until one results in "1". instr, immediately following it, is executed and control leaves the block. If no expr evaluated to "1", control passes to the instructions following the OTHERWISE expression that must then be present.
num = 10
WHEN num > 0 THEN SAY num 'is positive'
WHEN num < 0 THEN SAY num 'is negative'
OTHERWISE SAY num 'is zero'

SIGNAL [name] |
[VALUE] expr |
<ON | OFF> + ERROR + [NAME label];
| HALT |

SAY 'Hi!'
A condition example:
SAY 1/0 /* Control passes to label syntax_error */
SAY 'Syntax error in line:' SIGL

TRACE option | VALUE expr;

Trace according to following option. Only first letter of option is significant.
A (All) trace all clauses.
C (Commands) trace all commands.
E (Error) trace commands with non-zero return codes after execution.
I (Intermediates) trace intermediate evaluation results and name substitutions also.
L (Labels) trace only labels.
N (Negative or Normal) trace commands with negative return codes after execution (default setting).
O (Off) no trace.
R (Results) trace all clauses and expressions.
S (Scan) display rest of program without any execution (shows control nesting).
? turn interactive debug (pause after trace) on or off, and trace according to next character. null restores the default tracing actions.
TRACE VALUE expr may be used for an evaluated trace setting.

UPPER name [name]...

translate the values of the specified individual variables to uppercase.
name = 'Vivi'
UPPER name /* now: name = 'VIVI' */

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