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Top Three Reasons You’ll Love the ABL

Top Three Reasons You’ll Love the ABL

July 20, 2016 0 Comments

Susan Houniet, Senior Field Enablement Manager at Progress, talks about how she discovered the efficient Progress OpenEdge Advanced Business Language (ABL) right out of college, and came to love it.

When I graduated from college, I worked in the engineering department of a manufacturing company, and eventually I started working in FORTRAN to automate processes where I could. I was the only female doing injection molding qualification… but I wouldn’t be doing that for long.

A New Idea and a New Career

One day I approached my IT manager about centralizing on a UNIX server, and he said they used “Progress” to develop and deploy applications. He mentored me on this, and I couldn’t believe how easy it was to use. Gone were the slow, cumbersome processes of FORTRAN, and the database-binding in ABL greatly improved my workflow. We were able to use Progress, later to be known as Progress OpenEdge, to vastly increase efficiency.

From there I changed career paths and became a developer. I’ve remained passionate about the application development platform, eventually coming to work at Progress. There are many reasons I’ve come to love the ABL, but if I had to pick just three, it would be these:

  1. It’s easy to use. When I first came across the ABL, I wasn’t a programmer, but I quickly fell in love with it. The ABL is written in English-like syntax that is quite intuitive. This is a language that developers can pick up in a matter of days and without a programming degree. It’s simple too—a few lines of ABL can correspond to dozens of lines in other languages.

    For one of my favorite examples, check out this t-shirt, posted in our community forums. The back of the shirt (top image) is 3 lines of ABL, and the front of the shirt (bottom image) is the 30-odd lines of code it would take to reproduce the same effect otherwise. It’s incredible. By the way, the strong community of users you’ll find on our forums and user groups throughout the world is another powerful part of what makes the ABL so amazing.
  2. When working with the database, it’s like magic. The ABL is database-bound, which means that even compared to modern non-bound languages like Java, you have to do so much less maintenance when working with the database. The ABL also works very well with CRUD (Create, Read, Update, Delete—all the major functions implemented in a relational database), saving you time and effort. This is a tremendous boon to productivity.
  3. Extensive compatibility. One of the best things about OpenEdge ABL is that it just works (really!). One of the ways it makes life easier is the built-in backwards compatibility. If you have old code from an older version of OpenEdge, you can compile it into a newer version—even our latest technology, OpenEdge 11.6. There’s no need to rewrite a thing. Progress has always supported this compatibility, even as it advanced from a procedural-based language to an object-oriented one, so you get both, delivering the best of both worlds. It’s platform-agnostic too, so you can use it anywhere—the language behaves the same.

    In fact, one of the amazing things about Progress OpenEdge and the ABL is that the technology has been around for almost 35 years, but continues to innovate to help its customers/partners remain competitive. From mobility to business rules to analytics, OpenEdge has you covered, without losing the scalability and cost-effectiveness it’s always had. If you want to learn more about how it can modernize your business apps—again, without having to rewrite all your code—be sure to check out this post about our new Modernization Jumpstart.

Why Not You?

When I first encountered the ABL I wasn’t a programmer and I hadn’t heard about Progress—but soon after learning about it I would change careers and work on something I’d be passionate about for the rest of my life.

The marketplace for business applications continues to grow, and there is strong demand for developers who can develop the business apps of the future that will power their success. If you’re a young developer or looking to add a new skill, I can’t recommend learning about OpenEdge development enough.

Learn more about how anyone from college students to those looking for a new career can get to know OpenEdge through our OpenEdge Developers Kit: Classroom Edition, as well as our Progress Academy.

The ABL is really an easy-to-learn, easy-to-use language. If you’re already loving the ABL, I’d love to hear what your favorite parts are in the comments. If you’re not yet, you can learn more about it right here

Susan-Houniet

Susan Houniet

Susan Houniet is a Senior Product Enablement Manager with a strong background in Presales gained from professional experience spanning 20+ years in software industry, which has seen her work for a USA based organisation for most of her career. Susan’s Presales experience has seen her work with many organisations across many verticals to identify Business and Information strategies and build solutions to address customer’s business problems.

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