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FAQ - Microsoft .NET for RPG Programmers (C# Version)

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Since the introduction of Microsoft .NET for RPG Programmers (C# Version) we have received a number of questions about the training. The most commonly asked questions and answers are listed below.

Q: Which is better, Visual Basic or C#?
A: Visual Basic .NET uses a syntax that is similar to free-format RPG and embedded SQL, so it is relatively easy for RPG programmers to become comfortable with the language. In contrast, Microsoft specifically designed C# for programmers that have C, C++ or Java programming experience, so RPG programmers may initially find C# to be a little less familiar looking than Visual Basic. Both Visual Basic and C# have access to the full power of the Microsoft .NET Framework, so you will be able to create fully functional, feature-rich applications using either language.
Q: What version of Visual Studio do I need for this course?
A: This course uses Visual Studio 2005, Standard or Professional editions. You can also use the Visual Studio Express Edition for C# and Visual Studio Web Developer Express Edition, but the course does not specifically address those two editions. Please note, if you do not yet have a version of Visual Studio 2005, Microsoft provides a no-charge, fully-functional 90-day trial version of Visual Studio 2005 Professional Edition at
Q: We are a COBOL shop. Will this course be useful for us?
A: The course has no dependencies on RPG. The course will be as useful and interesting for a COBOL developer as it is for an RPG developer.
Q: Why should we use the Microsoft .NET environment? This is not on IBM's iSeries Developer's Roadmap.
A: IBM's iSeries Developer's Roadmap shows a number of excellent development options to create modern iSeries applications. Unfortunately, IBM does not seem to consider one of the most widely used development environments as a viable option. Regardless, IBM does provide the database connection tools that are needed to have .NET applications work with the iSeries. Our belief is that the iSeries developer is best served by knowing about all of the options, not by artificially limiting the scope of tools to those favored by IBM. Simply put, there is no right or wrong way.
Q: Is this a web based course?
A: No. The course "Microsoft .NET for RPG Programmers (C# Version)" is provided as a step-by-step lab manual with extensive illustrations. This is not a book that you sit and read; the material is specifically designed to show you how to successfully use the Microsoft Visual Studio environment and the IBM database providers (OLE DB or .NET). By the end of the course, you will have created several small applications that demonstrate how to connect to your iSeries database from programs running in the .NET environment. You will also have created a sample web application that shows how to dynamically query the iSeries database and display a list or detail display in a web page.
Q: How long does it take to learn this material?
A: The course takes approximately 10 hours and was specifically developed for iSeries developers who need a quick but effective introduction to creating real-life applications using the .NET tools. The course is split into "bite-sized" chunks, so if you can only spend a few minutes a day with it, you will still be able to complete it within a week or two. Upon completion of the course, you'll know how to connect C# applications to your iSeries and you'll know how to create ASP.NET web applications that work with your iSeries data. Best of all, you'll understand how the applications work and how to customize the examples for use with your own data.
Q: I don't have any experience with PC development tools or C#. Will I be able to use the course?
A: This course is designed specifically for iSeries developers who have little or no experience with PC development tools and the C# language. The course starts by showing you how to use the Visual Studio development environment to create a simple C# program. You then modify the first sample and connect to your iSeries. After making the connection, you'll learn how to send an SQL statement to your iSeries database and start displaying data in your C# program. You can be doing all of this within just an hour or two of getting started! Best of all, you'll understand what you're doing, as you do it. Unlike other courses, our course gets you working with your iSeries as quickly as possible. Once you start seeing iSeries data in your C# programs, it all starts coming together and making sense. You'll find that by incrementally modifying the example programs, you can build up a library of step-by-step examples that you can use as the basis for developing new applications.
Q: I already know how to work with C#. Will this course be useful for me?
A: If you already have extensive experience with C# and Visual Studio, you will probably find the course to be too "basic". However, if you have not done database work with C# this course will be an ideal introduction to developing C# database applications using the iSeries.
Q: What do I need to use this course?
A: The complete list of software required for this course is shown here. You need to have Microsoft Visual Studio 2005. You also need the IBM iSeries Access product. Note: even if your company has not licensed IBM iSeries Access, you are still allowed to use the database access components that are shipped with IBM iSeries Access.

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