WDSc Version 7.0 Standard Edition Is Missing Two Key Features
March 12, 2007 Bruce Guetzkow
Two weeks ago, when IBM announced the latest version of WebSphere Development Studio Client (WDSc), version 7.0. I was pleased to see the list of enhancements. If you or your company purchased a compiler for your System i, you and all of your company’s developers are entitled to a “free” (meaning that you’ve already paid for it) copy of the Standard Edition of WDSc. But the Standard Edition is missing two key features, and this is a problem.
When I looked over the feature set for WDSc V7.0, these are the features that caught my eye:
The Standard Edition of WDSc V7.0 includes most of the tools you need to do typical green-screen programming: RPG, COBOL and CL programs and modules, service programs, as well as physical, logical, display, and printer files (using DDS). In addition, the now-deprecated CODE Designer is still available for graphical development of display and printer files.
I have been anticipating the rollout of the last item, Screen Designer, as it is one of the most significant development tools missing from the current release of WDSc. Unfortunately there are three additional words that need to be mentioned with this and the Application Diagram: Advanced Edition only.
What is most disturbing about the WDSc V7.0 announcement is that these last two items are not part of the Standard Edition. The Standard Edition is clearly the replacement for the vintage green-screen tools: PDM, SEU, SDA, RLU. The Advanced Edition has more of the advanced Java/Web tooling. IBM’s own Web site says as much:
“WebSphere Development Studio Client Advanced Edition includes all the capabilities of WebSphere Development Studio Client, plus an added set premium tools to help accelerate the development of sophisticated, fully J2EE-compliant Java applications.”
I see no rationale for including either of these tools–Screen Designer or Application Diagram–only in the Advanced Edition. The only developers that would have any use for them would be green-screen developers. Even if you consider that the Screen Designer is listed as a “Technology Preview,” which may is IBMspeak for something that the rest of the industry calls a “beta” version, why would it be in the Advanced Edition?
At the same time, IBM is deprecating CODE/400. This comes as no surprise as WDSc has much of what CODE/400 has and that’s where IBM is putting its development funds. What this means is that there will be no more enhancements to the CODE/400 tools. It will also not be ported to Windows Vista. So, if you recently bought a PC with Vista or plan to buy one in the future, you won’t be able to use CODE Designer, and, unless you pay the hefty price tag associated with WDSc Advanced Edition, the only “graphical” designers you’ll have at your disposal will be SDA and RLU.
If it is IBM’s goal to migrate developers off of PDM/SEU/SDA/RLU and onto WDSc, putting even a Technology Preview of the Screen Designer into Advanced Edition will only make it more difficult for them to do so. Further, recent converts may rethink their decision and revert to the green-screen.
Many of us have been using WDSc for several years and have suffered through the growing pains of the product and the rebukes of developers wondering why we made the switch to an incomplete toolset. There is a significant learning curve associated with WDSc, but the rewards for sticking with it have been well worth it. However, I now feel that IBM is “thanking” us for supporting WDSc by taking away the very tools that we need.
IBM needs to move these new tools to the Standard Edition to encourage developers to move to WDSc at all. Unless IBM does this, it will be one more reason for developers to not modernize their tools. IBM may be building it, but they won’t come.
I have always tried to get the latest updates of WDSc because I thought that meant having the best toolset available. However, I will not be downloading or ordering V7.0 until this travesty is remedied. I was fortunate to get a new PC before Vista was forced on me, although I have a voucher for an upgrade. I obviously cannot move to Vista as I will not ask my company to purchase Advanced Edition and that leaves CODE/400 as my only graphical development tool.
I have written several articles for IT Jungle in the hopes that more people would use WDSc and be more productive, and I recently gave a presentation for the Local User Group in Milwaukee on WDSc-related topics. I no longer feel comfortable doing this.
If you think IBM needs to fix this, too, then get in touch with your business partner or your IBM rep, if you are lucky enough to have one, and give them a piece of your mind. And while you are at it, hit the Contact button up at the top of this page and let us know what you are thinking, too. We’ll be happy to forward your comments to IBM and to publish them in this newsletter.