Open Display Files information for IBM i with looksoftware

The Future of RPG

looksoftware are excited to announce Open Display Files, a breakthrough technology that solves the limitations of RPG, by replacing restrictive DDS with an open-standards based XML format.

Open Display Files enable delivery of web, mobile, rich desktop, cloud services and other modern technology requirements for today and the future, whilst maintaining core support for existing RPG skills and source code.


The five restrictions of traditional RPG

Since the explosive growth of rich graphical interfaces, the web, and more recently mobile devices, RPG as a development language has struggled to keep up with the demands that rely on these technologies. This has led to frustrations from end users continuing to be tied to the inflexibility of 5250 interfaces, and in turn developers have attempted and often failed to learn complex alternative tools and languages.

However, as a business language, RPG continues to be the most popular choice for IBM i development, with a rich and successful history providing the foundation for robust, reliable and scalable delivery of applications in tens of thousands of businesses worldwide. There continues to be a healthy and active RPG development community within IBM i’s customer base.

looksoftware and IBM recently held two very popular webinars on the future of RPG. These webinars surveyed hundreds of RPG developers worldwide regarding specific restrictions that have affected them in real world projects. The results comprehensively confirmed many significant concerns for RPG developers:


Lack of support for multiple client types, including web & mobile


Need to learn another language


Need to use different development tools for different tasks


Lack of IBM supported standards for graphical applications


Poor quality design and development tools

These results demonstrate just how important it is to the RPG community that these restrictions are addressed.

OA Metadata Standard

Open Access Metadata Open Standard

looksoftware’s Open Display Files are implemented using the recently approved version 2.0 of the RPG Open Access Metadata Open Standard.

The RPG Open Access Metadata Open Standard (OAMOS) has been established to provide an industry standard for Open Access solutions. Not only are IBM a significant presence in the OAMOS approvals body, other leading industry experts in the field of RPG development and IBM i application modernization are also heavily involved to ensure that the standards receive input from the strongest foundation of wisdom and experience available today.

For more information on OAMOS, please visit:

With the introduction of Open Display Files we are delivering technology that adds immense value to RPG, and will contribute to it’s continued longevity as a leading development language of business applications” says Brendan Kay, CEO of looksoftware.

Open Display Files is now available in looksoftware's version 10.1 suite.


Want to know more?

Contact a member of the looksoftware team to understand more, please email us at