Giving RSE a Split Personality
March 14, 2007 Susan Gantner
A commonly asked question by WebSphere Development Studio Client (WDSc) and Remote Systems Explorer (RSE) newbies is: “How do I view source in split screen like I can in SEU?” The answer is that you can’t do it exactly like SEU, but then why would you want to? The RSE editor offers far greater flexibility.
How do you split your RSE editor screen? There are basically two types of split screen modes and they are accomplished very differently. I’ll cover the easier one first, which is to split your editor screen into two views of the same source.
Having two views of the same source allows you to have one side of your screen showing your D specs and the other in the C specs, for example. Since both views are editable, this means you can easily add data definitions to your source member without losing your place in the logic. This type of split is very simple to do. Right click in the editor view and select View –> Open New View. The keyboard shortcut for this is Ctl-2. You can see an example of this “New View” support in Figure 1 below. To close the extra view, choose View –> Close View from the context (right click) menu. You should note one important prerequisite to using this feature–you must have at least Version 6.0.1 installed to do this.
For the more common type of source split–that is, splitting the screen with different source members on each side–there are two small secrets you need to know. First, to split the editor screen, you will use a click and drag action on the tab of one of the members you want to see in split screen. Drag it either right or left (for a vertical split) or to the bottom (for a horizontal split). While you are dragging, the cursor will take on the appearance of a stack of file folders. Do not drop it until the file folder icon changes to a small black arrow, which will happen at the edge of the editor view. See Figure 2 below to see what this looks like.
When you drop the tab upon seeing the arrow, voila! The editor window will split.
If you are in the RSE perspective, however, the problem now is that the split screen is within the relatively small editor view within the workbench. You may think, “No problem. I’ll just double click on the tab to go to full screen.” The problem is the full screen editor only shows one of the two sides of the split. Now you need to know the second secret–to split the editor screen and see both sides of the split in full screen mode, you need a perspective that has only the editor view in it–that is, no Outline, iSeries Error List, Remote Systems, etc.
IBM doesn’t ship a perspective like that with WDSC. You could create this perspective yourself. Or you could get one the way I did–by downloading the open source plug-in from SoftLanding Systems called RSE Extensions. This plug-in contains several useful tools, including a spool file viewer, but the relevant one for this discussion is a special WDSC perspective called the “iSeries Editing Perspective.” This perspective has only one fixed view–the editor view–and it has several Fast Views for the more commonly needed views from the RSE perspective, such as Remote Systems, Outline, iSeries Error Log, etc. After installing the RSE Extensions, use the Open Perspective option from the Window menu to open your new iSeries Editing perspective. Once in this perspective, when I split my editor screen by dragging and dropping the member tab, the editor view splits and remains in full screen mode.
I can do much of the work I need to do in the iSeries Editing perspective because I have access to the fast views for opening other source members, viewing errors after a verify or referring to my Outline. But anytime I want to go back to working in the RSE perspective (or my customized view of the RSE perspective), all I need to do is choose that perspective from the list of perspectives that reside at the top right corner of the WDSC workbench. Alternatively, I can use the Open Perspective option from the Window menu.
The RSE Extensions package can be downloaded for no charge and is very quick and easy to install. If for some reason you can’t install the open source plug-in from SoftLanding, you could create a similar perspective on your own. Create Fast Views for any views you want to have access to in this special perspective and then close all the other views except the Editor view. Then use the “Save Perspective as…” option from the Window pull down menu to give your new perspective a name.
Have fun with split edit screens in RSE. This is one split personality that comes in handy.
Susan Gantner is one of the most respected System i gurus in the world and is one of the co-founders of System i Developer, an organization dedicated to RPG, DB2, and other relevant software technologies for the System i platform. Gantner, who has worked in IBM’s Rochester and Toronto labs, left IBM to focus on training OS/400 and i5/OS shops on the latest programming technologies. She is a regular speaker at COMMON and other user groups, too. You can contact her at susan@SystemiDeveloper.com.