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developerWorks: Rexx for Everyone

Feb 18, 2004, 07:45 (7 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by David Mertz)

"The Rexx programming language was first created in 1979, as a very high level scripting language that had a particularly strong facility for text processing tasks. Since Rexx's inception, IBM has included versions of Rexx with most of its operating systems -- all the way from its mainframes, to its mid-level systems, to end user OS's like OS/2 and PC-DOS. Other OS makers, such as Amiga, have also integrated Rexx as an always-available system scripting language. A number of ISVs, moreover, have created Rexx environments for many platforms. Somewhat late in the game, ANSI officially adopted a standard for Rexx in 1996.

"Nowadays (especially on Linux or BSD-derived OS's), most of those older implementations of Rexx are primarily interesting as historical footnotes. However, two currently maintained implementations of Rexx remain available across a wide range of platforms, including Linux, MacOSX and Windows: Regina and NetRexx. Regina is a native executable, available as Free Software source code, or pre-compiled to a large number of platforms--install it pretty much as you would any other programming language interpreter. NetRexx is an interesting hybrid. The language is a derivative of plain Rexx. Much like Jython or Jacl, NetRexx compiles Rexx-like source code into Java bytecodes, and (optionally) runs the resulting .class file within a JVM. .."

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