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System Administration with ooRexx
Pages: 1, 2, 3

Why Open Object Rexx?

This example script has a useful purpose, but in terms of what ooRexx offers it's little more than a fun script.

Explore the ooRexx distribution; it's full of goodies. ooRexx integrates with Windows through ActiveX, OLE, WSH, ADSI, and WMI. Beyond that, there's the OODialog GUI, and RexxUtil, the functions that allow scripts to issue OS commands yet remain portable across OSes. The distribution includes libraries for sockets, FTP, and advanced mathematical functions, and there hundreds of free tools on the Web for Rexx and ooRexx.

Open Object Rexx features a standardized API. This allows you to call ooRexx from applications written in compiled programming languages, or to extend ooRexx with code you write in those languages. ooRexx's API supplies interfaces for macrospace, variable pool, system exits, subcommands, halt and trace, DLLs, and queues. The product includes a runtime that lets you distribute applications without exposing source code.

Open Object Rexx presents a couple of advantages compared with other object scripting languages. First, it allows you to mix procedural and object scripting features. Those who are new to object-oriented scripting can wade into the topic at a rate at which they feel comfortable. You can solve problems in procedural terms when they work best that way, while complete object-oriented facilities are still available.

Second, Open Object Rexx links to many existing systems. These include several on which Rexx dominates, the three mainframe operating systems, OS/2, and the Amiga OS. This plays out in unexpected ways. For example, it integrates Linux and Windows into IT organizations that run mainframes. Mainframe professionals can apply their Rexx skills to ooRexx on Linux or Windows and easily move to these OSes and object-oriented programming. This also capitalizes on the large pool of former and current OS/2, Amiga, and mainframe programmers who have Rexx skills. ooRexx leverages the pool of skilled professionals and existing code while moving them to newer platforms and object-oriented scripting.

What Now?

We've tried to accomplish two goals in this article: giving you a useful disk cleanup utility and introducing Open Object Rexx. The ooRexx package comes with complete documentation and sample scripts, but here are a few more resources for further investigation:

Example Scripts

Microsoft's library of Object Rexx scripts for Windows contains about 120 ooRexx scripts.

Here are six simple tutorial Open Object Rexx scripts plus two dozen procedural scripts.


The ooRexx Programming Guide has a highly readable introduction.

The ooRexx web site has links to many more resources.

The book Rexx Programmer's Reference includes a brief ooRexx tutorial.

The author's RexxInfo site has plenty of other resources.

Howard Fosdick is an independent consultant who has worked with most major scripting languages.

Jon Wolfers is a software developer for the trading arm of a charity.

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