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Post  Archana K on Sun Jan 27, 2013 4:46 pm

What Is Static Binding?

Binding is simply a method of combining two or more iSeries objects into a single program or service program. Binding by itself is not a new concept; all of use have bound programs together since we were little midrange programmers. Whenever you call one program from another using the CALL operation, you are dynamically binding those programs. Dynamic binding means that neither program knows about the other until the call takes place. In that sense it is dynamic, because all the binding is happening right at the time the program is called, and subsequent calls to the same program might be different, depending on what has been changed in the program since the last time it was called. It's hip, it's unattached, but, as you'll see, it comes with a cost. Static binding, on the other hand, is the method of binding two objects together well before they ever use each other. This type of binding is static, in that the objects are bound together and the relationship between those bound objects remains consistent until one of the objects is changed and everything is statically bound again.

Why Do It?

The primary reason for statically binding, as opposed to dynamically binding or not binding at all, is that it removes the performance penalty that comes with breaking code into smaller, more manageable pieces to perform specific tasks. Dynamic binding is expensive because every call to a program must go through program call resolution and program startup tasks. Not binding at all removes this performance hit but causes monolithic programs that are next to impossible to maintain and do not promote code reuse. Static binding allows you to code in a more modular fashion without incurring the performance hit associated with dynamic binding. This is accomplished differently, depending on the type of static binding you employ.

Binding Building Blocks

Now that I have explained static binding and why you should use it, I want to discuss the ILE building blocks in a little more detail. Before ILE, we only concerned ourselves with program objects (*PGM). With the introduction of ILE, there came along some new object types that are the building blocks to static binding. Below is a description of each:

Program (*PGM) is still around but is now created using the CRTBNDxxx command (where xxx represents the language, such as RPG, CL, or CBL) and the CRTPGM command, which allows you to statically bind two or more modules together to form a program. *PGMs can be called using the dynamic CALL operation or, if created by binding two or modules, those modules can be called using a bound call (CALLB in RPG) or a prototyped call (CALLP in RPG).

Module (*MODULE) is the basic building block of static binding. Modules allow you to organize related tasks into smaller units of code, which can then be bound together into programs or service programs. They cannot be called using the dynamic CALL operation but are, instead, called with either the bound call or the prototyped call. Modules are created using the CRTxxxMOD command (where xxx represents the language used). NOMAIN modules cannot be called directly. Instead, the subprocedures contained inside the module are called using prototyped call (CALLP in RPG).

Service Program (*SRVPGM) can be viewed as a collection of subroutines packaged together and accessible to the outside world. Service programs are the ILE packages used for bind by reference, meaning that the exports (subprocedures you exported during the creation of your service program) are loaded into memory and shared with other programs and service programs that need them. You use the CRTSRVPGM command to create a service program.

Procedures (also known as subprocedures) are the smallest component of static binding and are self- contained high-level-language statements used to perform a specific task. There is no related object type to describe the subprocedure; it is only used as a building block to create a *MODULE. One or more subprocedures are created inside a module and then compiled into a program or service program.

Two Flavors

There are two types of static binding: Bind by copy and bind by reference. Bind by copy is accomplished by copying two or more modules into a program. In this way, the finished product performs just a like a program with multiple subroutines, except that each module can be called from the other modules within the program. I've included three modules (module1, module2, and callmods) that you can compile together to form a program.

Bind By Copy or Bind By reference?

Great. So you can bind by copy or bind by reference. Or you can still dynamically bind with a traditional CALL operation. So when do you do which? Well, there is no hard and fast rule. If your shop was really comfortable with bind by copy and just hated bind by reference, I would not try to force you into bind by reference; however, there are some guidelines that you can follow.

If a module is going to be called by one program, and one program only, use bind by copy. It is the best overall performer in this case, because the code is copied right into the program at compile time. However, this becomes a potential maintenance and compile nightmare if you decide you are going to use bind by copy and the module is going to be called by many programs.

If you have code that is going to be called by many different programs, create subprocedures and compile them into modules then further into service programs. You will take a performance hit the first time the subprocedure is called for each job, but subsequent calls will perform as fast as bind by copy. Because of the first-call performance hit, if the code is going to be called infrequently, you may want to choose another binding strategy.

That other binding strategy is dynamic binding. Yes, it's still supported and still has value. If you have code that is going to be called by multiple programs, but infrequently, this is still the way to go. The advantage here is that you don't load the program unless you actually use it. The performance hit will be high each time you call it, so use this strategy only for multiple, infrequently called programs.

Archana K

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