A compound variable is utilized to create an array, typically in an IBM programming language such as REXX. REXX is a procedural language used to create sequentially arranged algorithms and programs. Therefore, an array in REXX programming is a dimensional arrangement of elements, each of which is identified by one name. Compound variables are used to quickly retrieve the elements in an array.
A compound variable is made up of a stem and tail. The stem is defined as a symbol that features a period at its end. For example, "client." is a compound variable stem. Similar to a subscript, a tail follows a stem and features the added parts of a name in a listing. Therefore a compound variable, in its basic form, is made up of a stem, period and tail or a period and characters on each side of it, for example "client.name,phone".
The array lists objects that are the same type and size. Each of these objects is referred to as an array element. Elements are denoted by data type, such as integers or characters. While each array element features the same data type, it may be denoted by a different value. Arrays are organized and stored in a computer's memory, so there are no spaces between each of the elements.