I used to say the only reasons for using iSeries projects was:
- Disconnected development
- More structured development (i.e. organizing applications into projects which ideally are finer grained than the large libraries typically used today)
- Change management (being able to store your RPG, COBOL, CL and DDS in the same repository as your Java and Web pages)
However, I have recently been surprised by the uptake of iSeries projects for different reasons. One person on the midrange.com WDSC mailing list was being forced to keep their html files used with CGIDEV2 in a source physical file member on the System i. This makes it very difficult to use a graphical editor like the Page Designer in WDSC because the graphical HTML editors can’t handle the sequence number and timestamp fields. In WDSC 7.0 we added a feature that can have iSeries projects automatically strip off the sequence numbers and timestamp field from each line when the member is downloaded. Using this feature the user was able to use iSeries projects and Page Designer to edit their HTML source members.
Others use iSeries projects to edit their RPG, COBOL, CL or DDS source members solely for the ability to have the workspace track the changes. As you save changes to a local workspace file, the workspace support tracks the changes as a local history. You can then right click on the member at any time and select Compare With > Local History to see each saved change and compare your current edition to any of the saved changes. This capability is not available when editing from the RSE.
This can even work if nobody else on your team is using iSeries projects. Before you make changes to your member, right click on it in the RSE and select “Make Available Offline” (nevermind the fact that you are not working offline). Then from iSeries projects, make your changes to the member. When you are done, right click on the member in iSeries projects and select Remote Actions > Push Selected.
There are a couple things to consider here. When you edit members with the RSE they are locked on the System i just like when you edit them with SEU. So nobody can makes changes to the member while you are editing it. With iSeries projects the member is not locked. So when you go to push your changes you might get a warning that the member has been modified while you were changing it. How likely this will happen and steps you could take to reduce / eliminate this will vary depending on how your shop has it’s development environment setup.
Of course, implementing a change management system would solve the locking problem and give you the ability to track changes :)
Ran into this… The System iNetwork site hosts a vBlog (video blog) called iStudio. The blog contains interviews hosted by Bob Cozzi with various IBM System i celebrities like Jim Herring and Elaine Lennox during the last COMMON conference.
Topics include: System i academic initiative, the new entry boxes and user-based pricing, mySQL, and the VIP program.
Also, a follow up to a previous post on the System i Innovation Challenge called Students… Win a Wii or iPod – what better way to attract young minds. Winners of the challenge were announced at the last COMMON where a team from Marywood took the prize by developing a web-based vacation planning tool. Congratulations!
The challenge was deemed successful at raising awareness of the platform and its benefits to students and academic institutions, and at acquiring an application to help attendees reserve time for the 2008 conference. :)
COMMON is hosting a webcast today called “WDSC: What you Didn’t Know it Could Do”. Originally George Farr was supposed to do the webcast but something urgent came up and he will be on an airplane during the webcast, so I’m the backup :)
I can’t say as I’ve ever delivered a WDSC webcast with that exact title before, and the description implies that there will be something here for everyone; both experienced RSE users and those who have never seen it before. So it should be interesting :) I’ve decided to pull together some slides that show some of the useful, but perhaps not so well known, smaller point features from various parts of the RSE. Of course, I’ll also do a highlight of new stuff in 7.0
The webcast is free for COMMON members. So if you are interested and available from 1 – 2 EST today it would be great if you could join us.
Claus Weiss and I did a presentation at COMMON titled RSE Advanced. This was a look at advanced features of the RSE (included in the standard edition of WDSC), NOT the features of RSE only included in WDSC AE. In the presentation we covered customizing the workbench, filters and filter pools, launch configurations, and working in a team environment. [Because I talked too much] we ran out of time and didn’t cover iSeries projects or working disconnected.
I wouldn’t consider most of those topics on their own to be overly advanced, with the exception of maybe filter pools. But that’s just because they are implemented in a weird way to make them more flexible. Filter pools are really just a group of filters. The tricky part is realizing that subsystems don’t “own” filter pools they just reference them. This allows subsystems from different connections to reference the same filter pool.
The main thing I wanted to focus on in the presentation was how to combine all these things to customize the RSE to adopt to the way the user works and therefore make them as efficient as possible. So we dived into options for customizing the workbench layout, views, preferences, keyboard shortcuts and LPEX, LPEX parsers, LPEX actions, user defined actions, customized compile commands, and multiple connections. We also discussed how to set all this up so one person can do the customizations and then share them with other team members.
I think I’ve mentioned in this blog before, that each of these features on their own is good, but it’s the power of combining them and using them together that makes them great. Understanding the possibilities and how to combine them is the advanced part. In case you are interested here is the RSE Advanced presentation.
I just came across this article on SystemiNetwork of a quick interview with Product Line Manager, George Farr. It’s short, but answers five questions:
- So George, we heard about some major internal changes at IBM between Rational and WebSphere — what’s all that about?
- Now that’s interesting . . . OK, then, what is all the fuss about the screen designer in WDSc?
- So, are you still saying that the screen designer will be left in Advanced Edition?
- For now then, what should customers use for designing 5250 screens and reports?
- We’ve got a few seconds left . . . anything else you’d like to add?
See the answers here.
Expo just closed up at COMMON so I now have a chance to write this post and do some work. Here are some things I have found:
- Lots of interest in the RSE. I just walked past George Farr’s RSE session and it’s packed. According to the COMMON Conference Daily that room can hold 200 people. Pretty much all the chairs are used and some people are sitting on the carpet along the wall.
- I’ve had a number of people ask if you can use OVRDBF with compiling from RSE. Yes you can. The trick is to turn off batch compiles from the Remote Systems > iSeries > Command Execution preference page. Then the OVRDBF command and compile commands will run in the RSE server job associated with the connection (which is a batch job so it still doesn’t take interactive cycles).
- Much to my surprise, nobody asked about Screen Designer, Application Diagram and WDSC AE in the sound off at opening session.
- I attended Scott Klement’s Web Services from RPG Using HTTP API. He does a great job of describing what is a Web service. Highly recommended as an intro to Web services (the session is repeated Thursday at 12:30).
- A lot of people are saying “We are at a crossroads and need to come up with a Web development strategy”. Meaning they feel they need to get serious about Web development with System i but they don’t know which way to go (EGL, PHP, Java EE, CGIDEV2).
- Nazmin found us a good Indian restaurant to eat at last night :) The Gandhi Palace inside the Ramada Plaza Hotel.
That’s it for now.
Over the next few days Nazmin, Claus, George, George (but not the George that writes on this blog :) and I will be heading from the Toronto Lab to Anaheim for COMMON. My last COMMON was Chicago so I’m really looking forward to it (for the past few years I have been speaking at the IBM System i Technology Conference).
We are presenting on pretty much all aspects of WDSC and WDHT along with some of the Rational stuff like change management and EGL. I’ve created a grid of all our WDSC and Rational Sessions using the My Grid tool on the COMMON website. In addition to the sessions that I am presenting, I’m hoping to catch Scott Klement’s session on Web Services from RPG Using HTTP API and one or two of Jon Paris‘ or Susan Gantner’s RPG IV sessions.
I’m also planning to catch up with some WDSC users, business partners and other IBMers. Plus expo, CUDS, etc… so it should be a busy week. I’m planning to do some live blogging from COMMON during the week, so stay tuned.
If you are going to COMMON and want to meet send me an email or just come find me there. I’m generally pretty easy to spot since I’m 6′ 6″ tall and I’ll have my ThinkPad. Feel free to just come up and say hi even if it looks like I’m busy. I’ll be in expo (when it’s running), CUDs (when it’s on), my sessions, Starbucks in the Marriott (during the day), or the Wine bar at the Marriott (during the evening). As a last resort check the pool :)