IBM is furthering its push to position Enterprise Generation Language (EGL) as a key component of its legacy modernization business, bridging customers to Java.

In February, IBM released a new edition of Rational Migration Extension (RME) for Rich UI, which transforms CA green-screen interfaces to EGL code. Another edition of RME targets Natural.

The user interface can then be modified to have a more modern look and feel, explained Will Smythe, product line manager for Rational Business Developer at IBM.

Customers are required to purchase Rational Migration Extension for CA, which migrates CA Ideal and CAGen applications to EGL. Data is converted from CA Datacom to IBM’s DB2.
“Fundamentally, IBM is using EGL as the broom to sweep up many of the stray cats and dogs [3GL languages] of the last several decades as a first step to modernization,” said Gartner Research vice president Dale Vecchio.

IBM uses EGL as a replacement language that it says will help organizations reduce third-party ISV licensing costs as well as the number of licenses required on the mainframe, Vecchio said. EGL targets COBOL, Natural and other languages that were commonly used to write business applications in previous decades.

Developers may deploy applications as EGL or compile them to COBOL to run on IBM CICS, IMS, or iSeries hardware; as Java to execute on WebSphere or Tomcat; or as JavaScript to run in a browser, said Smythe.

“Rational is trying to establish EGL as an easier way to go than directly to Java,” said Vecchio. “EGL is still seen by many, including Gartner, as a proprietary 4GL from IBM, even though they are trying to make it ‘open.’

“Not a crazy idea, but it seems to us that IBM has spent billions pushing clients to WebSphere, and Java on z/OS, and Linux for System z, or even System p. While EGL can generate Java and run in WebSphere, it still requires special skills that are different than Java requires.”