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CGIDEV2 is a popular and free (but not open source) iSeries(AS/400) based program development toolkit that facilitates the development of interactive web-based programs using RPG ILE or Cobol (using the older CGIDEV version) as the back-end Common Gateway Interface language. The functionality of this toolset is incorporated into an RPG ILE program by means of a service program that contains all of the procedures required to read input from a browser, generate and send the appropriate response back to the browser. CGIDEV2 is commonly used to generate static or interactive HTML/DHTML pages but it can also produce CSV, XML, Excel-XML and other text based files.

An example of an application using CGIDEV2 and RPG to drive interactive web pages.

CGIDEV2 was developed by Mel Rothman while he was with IBM Rochester. It was released to the public in 1999. The product was maintained and promoted by Mr. Rothman and Dr. Giovanni B. Perotti of IBM Italy, who have added enhancements, documentation and code samples to the package. Because the product is written in RPG ILE and comes with complete source, end users have also been able to contribute enhancements to the package and modify it for their specific requirements.

Unlike most web solutions for the iSeries, CGIDEV2 is neither a terminal emulator or an SQL based solution. CGIDEV2 effectively extends widely used RPG programming language with specific procedures for the web. This permits an iSeries programmer to continue to use all of his/her familiar tools and techniques that he is accustomed to, as he develops interactive programs for the web.

A particularly attractive feature of the CGIDEV2 toolkit is that it allows the programmer to isolate the HTML in one or more external template files from the executing CGI program, with special tokens in the HTML templates being replaced at run-time via toolkit procedures. This separation of the HTML code from the CGI program promotes the efficient and consistent development and subsequent maintenance of enterprise scale business applications.

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