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REXX Language Programming

z/OS Mainframe and Alternative Operating Environments
REXX Language REXX and IBM Corporation REXX Utilization with DB2 and CICS Transaction Server
Multiplatform and Open Source REXX REXX Training by SYS-ED Courseware for Teaching
Grow Your Own REXX Programmers REXX Training Technology Exchange Websites

Programming Languages


Courseware for Teaching - REXX and Mainframe Training Services
Courseware for Teaching
Cloud Computing - REXX and Mainframe Training Services
Open Source Software Sitemap

REXX, TSO/ISPF, z/VM, and z/OS are registered trademarks of IBM Corporation.

Enhancements and Extensions to REXX Base Functionality

REXX Language

REXX: REstructured eXtended eXecutor is a structured high-level interpreted programming language developed at IBM Corporation. REXX programs tend to be shorter and easier to follow than programs written in legacy mainframe programming languages. The popularity and utilization of REXX is based upon strong parsing, high level simplicity, and interpretive support. The interpreter offers source-level interactive debugging capabilities and facilitates a streamlined development cycle.  The REXX architecture works well with the CGI: Common Gateway Architecture. RxSock provides for network communication as well as other add-ons to be used. REXX serves as a macro and scripting language with a variety of editors: Xedit, Kedit, uni-XEDIT, ISPF Editor, and S/EDIT and software products: QMF, QMF/Calc, and SAS using SASMACRO under CMS. REXX has interfaces for graphical user interfaces and web servers which allow the development of system and user applications. Microsoft Windows and UNIX platforms support REXX. Free operating system specific downloads of REXX are available for MS Windows, Linux, UNIX, BSD, Macintosh and DOS OS. REXX also runs on operating systems for handhold device operating systems: Windows CE, Palm OS, and Symbian/EPOC32. In spite of its wide availability, REXX primary utilization is in the IBM z/OS and z/VM mainframe environments.

REXX and IBM Corporation

In the early 1980’s with IBM mainframe computers, operating systems, and system software emerging as the foundation infrastructure for Fortune 1000 companies, government municipalities, and healthcare facilities, REXX scripts were coded for processing data and text and report generation. In the IBM mainframe environments, REXX emerged as a front end consolidator for input/output and interactive online editing and processing of data from 3270 terminals.

IBM REXX Platform

REXX applications were written to parse, check, and format different text and data types which were then extended with Dialog Manager. REXX was incorporated into IBM’s SAA: System Application Architecture and has continued to be included as a standard component in its operating systems. REXX has interfaces to CICS and DB2. IBM has made versions of REXX available for Novell NetWare, Windows, Java, and Linux. REXX compilers are available for use on IBM mainframes.

REXX Utilization with DB2 and CICS Transaction Server

REXX scripts are used to manipulate DB2 data and IBM’s REXX-to-DB2 interfaces provide an extended featureset. REXX scripts can issue DB2 commands through a direct interface to the DB2 CLP: command-line processor. There also is a DB2 Administrative API for developing REXX scripts that manage and control DB2 UDB for database backups and recoveries and issuing DB2 commands, and database management. The IBM REXX-to-DB2 interfaces are included with DB2 for Linux, AIX, and MS Windows. IBM provides an editor for prototyping and application coding under CICS Transaction Server. There are excellent string handling for parsing messages and building text streams. Significant advantages associated with developing REXX programs within CICS is that the file system offers non-shared or read-only shared, unstructured data in conjunction with a hierarchical naming system without system definition.

Multiplatform and Open Source REXX

In 1996 ANSI: American National Standards Institute published the ANSI X3.274 -1996 “Information Technology - Programming Language REXX”. In 2004, IBM released the source code for Object REXX under the Common Public License. Object REXX is a superset of the REXX language and supports object-oriented programming: messaging, classes, objects, single and multiple inheritance, data hiding and encapsulation, polymorphism and operator overloading and a large class library. REXX programs can run under Object REXX without alteration. Object REXX contains a WSH scripting engine for developing REXX application with the MS Windows operating system. The installation of a command-line REXX interpreter provides the capability to run ooRexxScript programs from the command-line with the CScript command by invoking the Windows Scripting Host.

NetRexx is a Java-compatible REXX-like language which coexists interchangeably with Java code and runs under the JVM: Java Virtual Machine. NetRexx is used to develop classes for use by Java programs. Applications, applets, servlets, and beans can be developed with NexRexx and then used with Java components. A benefit associated with NetRexx is the generation of fully commented Java code. NetRexx compiles to Java byte-code using Java source code; there are no reserved keywords and it uses the Java object model. It is not upwards-compatible with standard REXX.

Microsoft Resource Development Kits provided a REXX interpreter for the Windows command-line. Portable REXX by Kilowatt and Personal REXX by Quercus are MS-DOS REXX interpreters designed for MS-DOS which also can be run under using a command prompt on MS Windows.

REXX scripts and macros can be developed using an open source, database-independent interface; this promotes script portability. The REXX/SQL product provides database independence for issuing DML, DCL, and DDL SQL statements from within REXX scripts. REXX/SQL scripts can be redirected from one database target to another such as converting from Oracle to DB2. This will be useful for organization’s that support more than one database product and there is a requirement for consistent access to data. REXX/SQL supports the major databases and runs under the major operating systems: Linux, UNIX, and MS Windows. REXX/SQL product supports the standard database featureset: 1- Issuing DML, DCL, and DDL statements, transaction control with COMMITs and ROLLBACKs 2- Concurrent database connections, cursors, and auto-commit 3- Dynamic statement preparation and bind variables 4- SQL control structures 5- Retrieval and setting of database interface behaviors.

REXX Training by SYS-ED

SYS-ED staff and CETi technology partners coded first generation REXX, Clist, and Dialog Manager programs. Our REXX training service draws upon this skillset and multidisciplinary experience in IBM mainframe system software to train information technology personnel to develop and repurpose REXX programs, and scripts in the private sector: 1- banking and finance 2- energy and exploration companies 3- telecommunications companies 4- software companies.

Over the past quarter century, we have provided industry standard REXX training and tailored courses which provide data and information technology personnel with the knowledge and foundation skills to:

  • Create an on-line directory of users and programmers containing contact information and using VSAM as the data source.

  • Search KSDS datasets for a specific string that is not in the VSAM index.

  • Parse research data that is transferred from the mainframe to the MS Windows environment.

  • Run on-line JCL validation programs to assure that the JCL meets the standards of the shop.

  • Execute DB2 DDL to create objects that effectively clones one system to another.

  • Utilize REXX in combination with Dialog Manager Services to develop data entry systems with full data validation and checking.

Few consulting or training companies have the experience and library of REXX stepwise teaching examples and sample programs that we do. And truth be told when it comes to addressing challenging consultancy level REXX training assignments, IBM has called upon SYS-ED systems consultants for our specialized expertise and presentation skills.

Performance Objectives

SYS-ED REXX courses teach:

  • The new facilities for hybrid operating environments with different API’s and user interfaces.
  • How to capture system information, store the information and create a database of system data which can then be manipulated and managed.
  • How to access services on the system to code full screen data entry screens; historically this has been done with Dialog Manager.
  • How DB2 can be accessed from REXX to run queries and update tables.


  • How to use REXX for creating CGI programs that access z/OS based resources for web browser based users.
  • How to create REXX execs which can execute on any platform or REXX implementation.

Courseware Superior by Design

SYS-ED's REXX courseware incorporates industry standard content and consultancy derived techniques for designing, coding, and debugging REXX code, inclusive of performance optimization. The classic principles of adult learning are applied to the content, interpreting and translating subject matter into performance objectives, narrative descriptions, and diagrams which explain the design, program logic and underlying architecture. The collective efforts of our subject matter experts are managed by editors, who have multidisciplinary expertise in information technology, textbook authoring, and degrees in management and business administration. Our courseware library has been incrementally augmented, revised, and maintained. It is highly valued, especially with the REXX programming language, where there is a scarcity of up to date textbooks.

Upon completion of a instructor-led course at the client location, it is standard policy to organize subject matter for future utilization in a web-based training infrastructure.


SYS-ED's courseware library consists of student handouts, training aids, documented walkthroughs, and industry-specific exercises. The Computer Education Techniques knowledge base is a service for answering questions, inclusive of the research and validation of the accuracy of information in the public domain. Citation of source documentation and examples are used to provide answers to the questions. Content is selectively added to SYS-ED course handouts and training aids. SYS-ED's long-term strategy is to have mainframe courseware recognized as a NRV: Nationally Recognized Vendor curriculum.

Private Training - Mainframe Training Services
REXX Language and Scripting1
CLISTs and Dialog Manager
IBM Mainframe Programming Skills
Mainframe Utilities

CICS Transaction Server Programming
DB2 Application Programming
Distance-learning - Hands-on Mainframe Training Service 
Private Mainframe Training Services Teaching Models: Return on Investment Distance-learning Service

Grow Your Own REXX Programmers

Over the past year, we have had a number of inquiries regarding whether SYS-ED still offered REXX courses for IT professionals.


That it is extremely difficult to find REXX courses which provide the foundation and develops the specialized skills needed for maintaining and updating REXX programs.


That there is a scarcity of high quality fast-track REXX courses, 3 or fewer days in duration, geared to corporate employees and their specific work environments and operational objectives.


That a high percentage of REXX courses are cancelled.


That travel costs and living expenses in a majority of situations are a significant constraint when it comes to attending a mainframe course.


That it is important to have a resource for asking REXX questions once the REXX training is complete.
In response to these questions:
REXX Training Services Yes, SYS-ED offer multiple levels of core REXX training: 3-day z/OS REXX Scripting and 2-day z/OS REXX Scripting: Advanced.
REXX Training Services Yes, since 1980, SYS-ED has taught the REXX programming language; we offer integrated REXX training programs with CLISTs and Dialog Manager, and tailored courses - REXX, ISPF Dialogs, Edit Macros and LibMaint.
REXX Training Services Yes, we have the flexibility and resources to conduct personalized training upon request.
REXX Training Services REXX courses are available in multiple formats: distance-learning, blended web-based delivery, and classroom.
REXX Training Services Upon completion of a SYS-ED course, our staff is available to answer REXX questions.

Portfolio of Clients

REXX Training Services
REXX Language
Mainframe Environments

News for Immediate Release

REXX Training Program  

Information technology personnel will need to learn skills in order to retrofit and integrate existing REXX, CLISTs, and Dialog Manager code with the next generation programming languages - primarily Enterprise COBOL and web enablement mainframe systems software: CICS, IMS, and DB2. Training will cut across generations; some very experienced people will be learning Java and web enablement technologies; while first generation IT staff will be using COBOL and IBM systems software for the first time. Training programs based upon the use of various training techniques have been chosen for suitability to the particular course material and audience as well as scheduling and class size requirements.

The following methods will be use for introductory material for personnel, most operator training, and programmer training on selected topics.

Program for Client A:

  • Distance-learning will be used for introductory OOPs and XML introduction.
  • SYS-ED will be used for their 3-day REXX Scripting, 2-day REXX Scripting: Advanced, 2-day CLISTs, and 3-day Dialog Manager courses.
  • An integrated combination of IBM and SYS-ED courses offerings will be used for z/OS operator training.

IBM's information agenda is built on its proprietary operating systems and system software. Its foundation is to simplify, collaborate, reuse, and standardize. SYS-ED's REXX and mainframe course offerings, training programs, and software specific websites have been designed to add value-added service to this strategy and IBM's cloud computing initiatives.

1- Delivery of content through multiple delivery medium as part of a collaborative environment for integrating data at a business level.

2- Student handouts, reference guides, and validation assessment for training human resources that leverage existing investments in software infrastructure.

3- Application development accelerators in the form of industry and client-specific training aids, examples, templates, and data modeling.

4- Support services in the form of technology updates, knowledge base, answers to questions, and tailored documentation in hybrid and interrelated information technology.

The plan is to have all the programmers and five people from technical support complete the distance-learning training and then take the SYS-ED instructor-led courses. Based upon feedback from this group, we will either confirm this mix or make adjustments as needed. The exact schedule will depend on other workloads on various members of the staff.

Web-based Training Services

Web-based Training Services
Instructor Training - NYS ED BPSS Standards

New York State Department
of Education Standards

Mainframe Training

SYS-ED offers entry-level and fast-track mainframe training programs.

  • Industry standard entry-level training programs consist of these components: operating system, programming skills, development tools, programming language, database, and system software. These programs have been developed and refined over a quarter century of consultancy and teaching and draw upon the SYS-ED courseware library.
  • Tailored fast-track programs are comprised of course modules selected by the client organization: topics, examples, workshops, validation assessments, and duration. Many clients also elect to incorporate an educational consulting component which reflects their standards and implementation strategy for project development.
Entry Level Mainframe
Training Program
Assembler Language
Training Program
COBOL Language
Training Program
PL/1 Language
Training Program
z/OS Operations and System Programming
Training Program
CICS Transaction Server
Training Program

Evolving IT - Interrelated Technologies

Information technology training for business enterprise is more complex and challenging than ever before. Organization’s have a huge investment in infrastructure and applications specific to their operations. There are new industry standard protocols, web server and web enabled technologies which require development from scratch and/or integration with the existing system software and enterprise databases. There will be long term implications regarding the strategic mix of proprietary and open source software which is selected, along with decisions on whether to maintain and upgrade the existing legacy applications, many of which are now thirty or more years of age; while retrofitting and transitioning to the new technologies. SYS-ED trained a significant portion of the first generation of DP personnel. And looks forward to training their IT successors in the 1st century.

Web Servers

WebSphere MQ Middleware

Internet Programming


REXX Training

REXX Language Courses
SYS-ED's REXX courses are tough, but they're worth it. Our challenging hands-on REXX training provides a foundation and framework for Fortune 1000 companies, government municipalities, healthcare providers, software houses, and consulting companies to meet their REXX staffing requirements and acquire specialized mainframe skillsets. 2

SYS-ED's REXX courseware is highly respected in information technology. We draw upon our extensive library of courseware, sample programs, and case studies to explain, demonstrate, and teach real-world REXX. Our REXX curricula include industry standard and consultancy derived content. We have the capability to provide tailored workshops and integrated training programs on z/OS, z/VSE, z/VM, and third party emulation workbench/platforms.

Teaching is Our Business
Most computer training companies are divisions of large software companies or consulting companies. Not SYS-ED. Our only goal is to provide world class REXX training for highly motivated IT professionals - no more and no less. Because we're independent, we're free to concentrate on teaching - and since 1980 we have been doing it very well.

Our Teachers Know How to Teach
SYS-ED instructors combine teaching skills with broad practical experience as consultants. Our instructors average 25 years of experience with REXX in the mainframe environment - operating systems, programming languages, third party utilities/development aids, and system software. And they know how to teach it. We teach not only "how to", but "why", building a solid foundation in fundamentals and insights into advanced materials. After a course, they are available to answer questions.

Enrollment - SYS-ED REXX Courses are Not for Everyone
No one is allowed to enroll in a SYS-ED mainframe course, without a consultation with our Director of Education. We review the operational objectives and project specifications for the organization evaluating whether to send its employee for the training. The employee is only allowed to register if they have the background corresponding to the appropriate learning path.

REXX Training at Your Office or using the Web
SYS-ED REXX courses are provided over the Internet through a distance-learning medium or classroom instruction on site at the client location. On-site mainframe courses can include the identical workshops, case studies, and hands-on approach as the mainframe training offered through the SYS-ED schedule.

Technology Exchange Websites

SYS-ED's websites compile, organize, and present software specific and established operational categorizations of information technology. They provide a framework for assessing knowledge transfer: web-based training, classroom instruction, courseware, learning paths, and validation assessment.

Footnote 1:

The SYS-ED Director of Education has determined that Dialog Manager be included in multiple courseware categories.

Footnote 2:

SYS-ED’s core REXX and mainframe curriculum have been submitted to the New York State Department of Education - Bureau of Proprietary School Supervision for technical review and licensing.