Is REXX Scripting Language?


Scott Campbell

Is REXX Scripting Language?

REXX, short for Restructured Extended Executor, is a powerful scripting language that has been widely used in the mainframe computing environment. It was created by IBM in the 1970s and has since gained popularity due to its simplicity and versatility.

In this article, we will explore whether REXX can be classified as a scripting language and discuss its key features.

What is a Scripting Language?

Before diving into the specifics of REXX, let’s first understand what a scripting language is. In simple terms, a scripting language is a programming language that is designed to write scripts or small programs that automate tasks or perform specific functions within larger applications.

Unlike traditional programming languages like C++ or Java, scripting languages are interpreted rather than compiled. This means that the code written in a scripting language is executed directly without requiring a separate compilation step.

Scripting languages are often used for automation, rapid prototyping, and glue code to connect different software components.

REXX as a Scripting Language

Now that we have an understanding of what constitutes a scripting language let’s evaluate REXX against these criteria. REXX meets all the characteristics of being a scripting language and can be considered as such due to the following reasons:

  • Simplicity: REXX has a straightforward syntax and is easy to learn for both beginners and experienced programmers. Its English-like commands make it highly readable.
  • Interpretation: REXX programs are interpreted rather than compiled, which allows for quick development cycles and easier debugging.
  • Automation: REXX excels at automating repetitive tasks, such as file manipulation, text processing, and system administration.

    It offers built-in functions and commands that simplify these operations.

  • Glue Code: REXX is often used as a glue language to connect different software components. It can call external programs and libraries, making it versatile in integrating various systems.

Key Features of REXX

In addition to its scripting capabilities, REXX offers several features that make it a powerful language for mainframe environments:

  • Platform Independence: REXX is platform-independent and can run on different operating systems, including IBM’s z/OS, Linux, Windows, and more.
  • Extensibility: REXX allows users to create their own functions and subroutines, enabling customization and code reuse.
  • Data Manipulation: REXX provides robust support for string manipulation, parsing, and data handling. It supports both character-based and binary data processing.
  • Compatibility: REXX can interact with other programming languages such as COBOL, Assembler, PL/I, and Java. This interoperability makes it a valuable tool in mixed-language environments.


In conclusion, REXX is indeed a scripting language that offers simplicity, automation capabilities, platform independence, extensibility, and compatibility. Its ease of use and versatility make it an ideal choice for automating tasks in the mainframe environment.

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced programmer looking to enhance your automation skills or streamline mainframe processes, learning REXX can be highly beneficial.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any company or organization.

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