rexx programming

REXX Programming Tutorial

rexx programming

Click here for A Comprehensive  REXX Programming Tutorial

REXX programming is a powerful scripting language often used in the mainframe environment. With its simple syntax and extensive capabilities, it offers a seamless way to automate tasks and develop robust applications. By understanding the basics of REXX and exploring its advanced concepts, programmers can harness the full potential of this language in their projects.

Table of Contents

What is REXX Programming?

REXX, short for Restructured Extended Executor, is a programming language designed for ease of learning and use. It was developed by IBM in the 1970s and has since gained popularity in the mainframe environment. REXX provides a high-level programming language that combines simplicity with powerful functionality, making it ideal for scripting tasks and creating applications.

Understanding the Basics of REXX

REXX is a general-purpose programming language that offers a wide range of features. Its syntax is straightforward and easy to understand, making it suitable for both novice and experienced programmers. REXX uses a procedural approach, allowing developers to write step-by-step instructions to perform specific tasks.

History of REXX Programming Language

The REXX programming language was initially developed by Mike Cowlishaw at IBM in the late 1970s. It was designed to provide a powerful yet user-friendly scripting language for the mainframe environment. Over the years, REXX has evolved and gained popularity due to its simplicity and versatility. Today, it is used in various industries and continues to be actively maintained and enhanced by the REXX Language Association.

Why REXX Programming Language is Popular in the Mainframe Environment?

REXX programming language is popular in the mainframe environment for several reasons. Firstly, its simple syntax allows programmers to quickly write scripts and programs without sacrificing functionality. Secondly, REXX offers seamless integration with operating systems such as MVS, making it an ideal choice for mainframe tasks. Lastly, REXX provides extensive support for subroutines and functions, allowing programmers to modularize their code and improve code reusability.

Getting Started with REXX Programming

Introduction to REXX Syntax

REXX syntax is easy to understand and follows a clear structure. Each REXX statement is typically written on a separate line and ends with a semicolon (;). The language provides various built-in functions and operators that can be used to perform arithmetic operations, manipulate strings, and handle input/output operations.

Writing Your First REXX Program

To start writing a REXX program, one needs to understand the basic structure of a REXX program. A REXX program begins with the EXEC statement, followed by a series of instructions that define the logic and operations to be performed. REXX programs can interact with the operating system, access external functions, and make use of variables to store and manipulate data.

Exploring Subroutines and Functions in REXX

REXX provides extensive support for subroutines and functions, allowing programmers to break down their code into manageable chunks and improve code readability and reusability. Subroutines are named sections of code that can be called from anywhere in the program, while functions return a value based on the input parameters passed to them. These features help streamline the development process and make REXX programs more modular and efficient.

Advanced Concepts in REXX Programming

Working with Arithmetic Operations in REXX

REXX offers a wide range of arithmetic operations, including addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. These operations can be performed on both numeric and string variables, providing flexibility in manipulating data. REXX also supports built-in mathematical functions, such as calculating square roots or trigonometric operations.

Using External Functions in REXX

REXX provides the capability to call external functions, expanding the language’s functionality beyond its core features. These external functions can be written in other programming languages, such as C or Assembler, and linked to the REXX program. This allows programmers to leverage existing code libraries and access specialized functionality not available directly in REXX.

Integration of REXX with Operating Systems

REXX is designed to seamlessly integrate with various operating systems, including IBM’s mainframe operating systems like TSO and MVS. This integration enables REXX programs to interact with system resources, manipulate files, and perform system-level operations. By leveraging the capabilities of the underlying operating system, REXX provides a powerful scripting environment for mainframe tasks.

REXX Programming in the Mainframe Environment

Understanding the Role of REXX in Mainframe Programming

In the mainframe environment, REXX plays a crucial role in automating tasks and improving productivity. It allows programmers to write scripts that can interact with the mainframe operating system, perform repetitive actions, and handle complex workflows. REXX programs can be executed as standalone jobs or embedded within other programs, providing flexibility in addressing various programming challenges.

Overview of REXX as a Macro Language

REXX can be used as a macro language, facilitating the automation of tasks within mainframe applications. It provides a way to extend the functionality of existing applications by defining macros that can be invoked at runtime. These macros can execute specific actions, manipulate data, or modify program behavior, enhancing the capabilities of mainframe software.

Exploring the Benefits of REXX as a Mainframe Language

REXX offers several benefits as a mainframe programming language. Its simple and intuitive syntax allows for quick development and easy maintenance of programs. The extensive support for subroutines and functions promotes code reusability and modularity. The integration with operating systems provides access to powerful features and resources. Overall, REXX empowers mainframe programmers to efficiently tackle complex tasks and optimize their workflow.

REXX Programming Best Practices

Tips and Tricks for Efficient REXX Coding

When coding in REXX, there are several best practices to keep in mind. Firstly, it is essential to use meaningful variable and function names to enhance code readability. Secondly, employing comments within the code helps in documenting the logic and making it easier to understand for other programmers. Additionally, modularizing the code by using subroutines and functions enables code reuse and simplifies maintenance.

Common Mistakes to Avoid in REXX Programming

While coding in REXX, there are some common mistakes to avoid. One of them is not properly handling errors or exceptions, which can lead to unexpected program behavior. Another mistake is not utilizing the built-in functions and operators efficiently, resulting in inefficient code. It is also important to avoid using global variables excessively, as they can make the code harder to understand and maintain.

Recommended Resources for Learning REXX Programming

For programmers looking to learn or enhance their REXX programming skills, there are several resources available. Online tutorials, documentation, and forums provide valuable insights and examples. Books, such as “REXX: Simplified Guide to Programming and Applications” by Gabriel F. Gargiulo, offer comprehensive coverage of REXX programming concepts and techniques.


REXX programming is a versatile scripting language that allows programmers to automate tasks and develop robust applications in the mainframe environment. By mastering the basics of REXX and exploring its advanced features, programmers can harness its full potential and improve their productivity. With its simple syntax, extensive capabilities, and integration with operating systems, REXX remains a popular choice for mainframe programming.

Q: What is REXX programming?

A: REXX programming is a high-level programming language designed for scripting and application development. It is known for its simplicity and ease of use.

Q: What is the history of REXX programming language?

A: REXX programming language was developed at IBM by Mike Cowlishaw in the late 1970s. It was initially created as an internal macro language for IBM’s mainframe operating system, but later became available on various platforms.

Q: What is the syntax of REXX programming?

A: The syntax of REXX programming is quite straightforward and readable. It uses English-like statements and doesn’t require complex punctuation. Statements are usually written on separate lines and are not case-sensitive.

Q: What is a REXX program?

A: A REXX program is a collection of REXX instructions that are executed sequentially. It can perform various tasks, such as file operations, data manipulation, and interaction with the operating system.

Q: What are subroutines and functions in REXX?

A: Subroutines and functions in REXX are reusable blocks of code that perform specific tasks. Subroutines are used for procedures that don’t return a value, while functions return a value. They can be called multiple times within a program.

Q: Who can use REXX programming?

A: REXX programming can be used by programmers and developers who want to automate tasks, write scripts, or create application programs. It is suitable for both beginners and experienced programmers.

Q: How can REXX be used to generate reports?

A: REXX has the capability to extract data from various sources and format it into reports. It can read files, process data, and generate output in a specified format, making it a useful tool for report generation.

Q: What are the advantages of using REXX programming?

A: One of the advantages of using REXX programming is its simplicity and readability. The language is easy to learn and understand, which makes it ideal for quick scripting tasks. Additionally, REXX has strong string manipulation capabilities and supports associative arrays for efficient data handling.

Q: What are some popular REXX interpreters?

A: Some popular REXX interpreters include Classic REXX, Object REXX, and Open Object REXX. These interpreters allow you to run REXX programs on different platforms and provide additional features and capabilities.

Q: Can REXX programming be used for error-free scripting?

A: While REXX programming can help make scripting as error-free as possible, it ultimately depends on the programmer’s expertise and attention to detail. REXX provides error handling mechanisms and debugging tools to aid in the identification and resolution of issues. ###

Q: What is REXX programming?

A: REXX programming is a high-level programming language designed for scripting and application development. It is known for its simplicity and ease of use.

Q: Who developed REXX programming language?

A: REXX was developed at IBM by Mike Cowlishaw.

Q: What is the history of REXX programming language?

A: REXX was developed in the mid-1970s at IBM and has since become a widely used scripting language.

Q: What is the syntax of REXX programming?

A: REXX uses a simple and intuitive syntax, making it easy for programmers to learn and understand.

Q: How does a REXX program work?

A: A REXX program is a set of instructions written in the REXX language that perform a specific task or set of tasks.

Q: What are subroutines and functions in REXX programming?

A: In REXX, subroutines and functions are reusable blocks of code that can be called from within a program to perform specific tasks.

Q: What is the role of a REXX programmer?

A: A REXX programmer is responsible for writing, debugging, and maintaining REXX programs to automate tasks or develop applications.

Q: How can REXX make scripting error-free?

A: REXX has the capability to handle errors and exceptions, making scripting as error-free as possible.

Q: What are the benefits of using REXX programming language?

A: REXX is a versatile language that can be used for various purposes such as developing applications, generating reports, or serving as an internal macro language.

Q: What is the role of REXX in application development?

A: REXX serves as a primary scripting language in many application development environments, making it a powerful tool for automating tasks and creating custom solutions.




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