By this post, I would start with the analysis of the second phase of our modernization pattern:
First of all I want to show you the main advantages to use an Integrated Development Environment and after I would show you different kind of tools I found. If you want to suggest something different, I will appreciate it.
Why to use an IDE
I am sure most of you are using an IDE to develop but for people who are not yet using, which are the main reasons to do it?
There are surely a lot of different reasons to use an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) instead of the traditional old SEU/PDM:
- The SEU is blocked and stopped at the 6.1 version of the Operating System so no updates are available about the new functionalities on ILE languages from the release 7.1.
- A new development environment surely offers new utilities and functionalities able to ease your daily job and solve all your needs.
- An IDE environment opens surely your perspective and your mindset into a modern way able to let your application to be easily integrated with other modern application and to be opened to the web.
- Reduction of learner’s pain: it is more easy for new young users to learn RPG and related technologies using a modern environment
Different kind of IDE:
- RDI (see the link https://www.ibm.com/developerworks/downloads/r/rdi/)
RDI is surely the most complete integrated development environment (IDE) built on Eclipse, for IBM i editing purpose. It costs about 1100 dollars but his cost could be surely absorbed by the saved costs in term of time and productivity, after a little investment on education.
The most important utilities that RDI could offer are the following:
- Undo/Redo options CTRL-Z/CTRL-Y: this utility let you to move back and forward in your changes.
- autocomplete: an help to use long names for variables and procedures
- the possibility to manage in the same time more sources and copy code from one to another
- the Outline let you read, understand and move better into a source
- source compare: you have the possibility to compare sources and move changes from a source to another
- string search on more sources and libraries
- the possibility to move object between different servers or different library very easily: it is enough a copy and past to move object and libraries, without use SAVLIB(SAVOBJ) or RSTLIB(RSTOBJ) commands.
- the conversion from RPG to RPG free: an entire source or part of it could be re-adjusted in modern RPGLE, when the instruction are compatible
COMPILING AND DEBUGGING
- Compile and manage the error: in this way you could forget the spool file
- Graphical and interactive debug: with the debug you should control and verify different things by this environment. You could debug in interactive way both batch and interactive programs. You could control single variable or expression and you could follow your execution step by step if you want. If you compile again the program you don’t need to change your debug. These and other powerful utilities let RDI a powerful tool to be used for your daily job.
The components of RDI are:
- RSE (Remote System Explorer and I Project Navigator):
It lets you navigate inside the project previously defined and explore the different server you are using for your job. You should see it as the new PDM.
- LPEX (RDI Editor):
this part of the RDI let you edit and work on your source with the possibilities to compile, debug, check the error and all the other utilities available. You could imagine this section as the new SEU.
- DDS Designer:
the DDS designer let you manipulate strongly and graphically every kind of DDS interface with all the interactive and fluent possibility you can have. This section is the alternative of the old SDA/RLU.
We will see more details about each section of RDI in the next posts.
- MI Workplace (see the link https://miworkplace.com/index.php?content=main)
Is a real IDE environment based on Eclipse with a lot of interesting functionalities: Remote System Explorer on QSYS, RPG and RPG Free editor, CL Editor, template management, compiling and error handling, spool management, debugger and so on…
The cost is very low, a few euro for user/year, so it could be a good start point if you don’t want to spend too much.
- ILEditor -An editor made for ILE development on IBM I (see the link https://worksofbarry.com/ileditor/)
ILEditor supports development in any ILE language, including RPG, CL, C/CPP and even COBOL. It also has an IFS browser, binding directory editor, spool file viewer. At the moment is only for Windows users but until this year it should be read for other platforms. The ILEditor is free.
I hope, in this little analysis, to have showed you the need to adjourn your way to work, your mindset, in order to be more connected to the modern technologies. It isn’t important the kind of tool you choose, but it is important to execute this important step in your job.