The RPG Café is now open for business. Modeled on the EGL Café and located in the same general area, the RPG Café provides a place for the RPG community to gather and share experiences and serve (we hope) as a single point of departure for news about RPG and related tools. There you’ll not only find RPG alone, but RDi, EGL and their relations.
As a result, this blog is moving, lock, stock, and barrel over to our new home. The posts and advice that are here will remain here, but new posts will be on the new blog.
Join us over there!
I’ve always wanted IBM to take advantage of the “i” in iSeries. Apple had the right idea with iPod, iTunes, iMac, even though I do believe iSeries was there before the iPod came around. Correct me if I’m wrong.
Well IBM, after deliberating with the user community, has taken it to a new level… introducing IBM i. Simple enough?
BTW.. Love the new logo. Not only are we saying goodbye to the OS name i5/OS, once OS/400… now just IBM i.
And for hardware: System i, once iSeries, AS/400, and others before my time… now merged with System p to form IBM Power Systems.
But we’re also saying goodbye to the VRM version naming: so i5/OS V6R1 now simply IBM i 6.1. Believe it or not, I think this will be the toughest one for me to get over since its been around the longest.
Though I think “i” will be tough to Google. Simple is good. “IBM i” seems to Google well.
Lots of changes. I just hope these names will finally stick around. To me its always been the “i” in IBM.
PS: Blog name changes once again :)
Great feature article by George Farr in the April edition of SystemiNEWS that goes over the new host and client application development tools line up and their latest features
(update: changed links to point to public article)
It’s official. Nazmin and I have a publishing agreement with MC Press to write a book on the RSE. We sent in two chapters (Getting Started and the Debugger) back in October and they liked them so they gave us the green light to go full steam ahead. We are scheduled to deliver the first manuscript to MC Press in 1Q 2008 and the book should be out around 4 months after that.
The book will be dedicated entirely to the RSE, integrated iSeries debugger and iSeries projects. The goal is to provide detailed descriptions of the features, how they were intended to be used, how this differs from how they are actually being used, customizations, how to map how things are done in SEU / PDM to the RSE, lots of tips, techniques and screenshots. And of course, some of the deep technical information that the RSE power users out there have been waiting for :)
Nazmin is currently working on the editor chapter and I’m working on the “Accessing libraries, object, and members” chapter. My chapter will basically cover the Remote Systems view (connections, managing LIBL, filters, filter pools, iSeries table view, running commands).
The problem so far has been too much writing. All the chapters are blowing their original size estimates. It seems there’s lots to write about once you dig into it.
I’m planning to do a lot more blogging here while writing the book, to share some tips, thoughts, updates on the progress, and to get feedback. In fact this has been the impetus behind quite a few of my recent postings. I would be doing some writing and want to share it immediately.
We would love any feedback, suggestions or comments you have for the book. Feel free to post a comment here or send us an email.
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 :)
An interesting listen for anyone interested in learning more about IBM’s enterprise modernization strategy as it relates to System i and z application development: http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/podcast/spotlight/st-100907.htm It’s also a good link to send your manager or CIO if you’re trying to convince them that moving to the new tools is worthwhile.
The podcast is an IBM developerWorks interview with Hayden Lindsey. Hayden is the IBM vice-president for enterprise tools and compilers (this includes the Toronto System i application development tools area). He’s also an IBM distinguished engineer (i.e he’s very smart and technical!)
He even mentions RPG 5 or 6 times in the podcast!
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. :)
There are times when each of us needs to see the big picture. A software application contains so many layers of details that as we develop software, our brains prevent us from recalling those details and their relationships. When working on some aspect of an application, I need to remind myself of where it fits into the overall scheme of things. This is especially true if I am working four levels deep within an application call stack and a task switch occurs, such as for lunch, or a meeting, or when my spouse calls with a shopping list. I need to overcome my inertia and regain my bearings by popping my previous state off of my internal stack. These days, this can be quite a hurdle, especially right after lunch.. As such, I find that the tooling that both you and I use isn’t very helpful.
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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.