System i Shops Plenty Annoyed About Missing WDSc Features
March 19, 2007 Bruce Guetzkow and Timothy Prickett Morgan
To say that developers who work on the iSeries and System i5 platform were annoyed that IBM has removed two key features–Screen Designer and Application Diagram–from the Standard Edition of its new WebSphere Development Studio Client (WDSc) Version 7.0 tool would be an understatement. Readers of The Four Hundred reacted with predictable and understandable frustration at last week’s story by Bruce Guetzkow explaining that it was a bad idea to only include these features in the Advanced Edition of the product.
Programmers at IT shops do not often get a lot of respect from IT vendors, since they do not have control of budgets. At least not directly. But IBM might have forgotten that programmers are the ones who recommend or do not recommend the tools that should be purchased. If programmers don’t ask for something, IT managers don’t cut checks.
IBM, if the feedback that we received is any indication, it looks very much like pulling features for green-screen programming into the pretty expensive WDSc 7.0 Advanced Edition while killing off CODE/400 in the future was a bad move–no matter what the big shots at Software Group might be telling you.
Having just completed reading Bruce Guetzkow’s article about the missing WDSc features, I’m afraid that I must agree wholeheartedly with Bruce’s assessment. Particularly in regards to the screen designer, what is IBM’s rationale for not including that with the standard version of WDSc?
Bruce’s issues aside, I have another question for IBM regarding their deprecation of CODE/400 without providing “standard” WDSc users a working alternative, with that question being, “how do you propose we customize our WebFaced screens in the future, IBM?” Yes, let’s not forget that CODE is currently the tool that can be used to “customize” screens that are to be WebFaced. So if they’re deprecating CODE, I have to assume they’ve rolled WebFacing customization into their new screen designer. But if you have to pay extra for screen designer, what does that do to IBM’s beloved “developer roadmap” bible? In one breath they’re saying WebFacing is the first step on the road map, but now they’re saying that before developers at the ENTRY LEVEL begin using WebFacing they have to pay for the ADVANCED LEVEL of WDSc?
Oh, that’s right. Maybe their long-term plans are to now charge us big bucks for WebFacing and HATS, too?
I totally agree with Bruce on this issue – IBM needs to get their act together on this. If you’re going to deprecate an entry-level product, you replace it with another entry-level product that, at the very least, contains equivalent functionality. Period.
I, for one, will not be upgrading to WDSc 7.0 until this issue is resolved.
Thanks for the response. Good point about IBM taking something away (CODE Designer) and not giving an equivalent in return (Screen Designer. . . . where’s the Print Designer?).
I have not done any Webfacing, so you have more information on that than I do. Thanks for sharing that. It will be passed on to IBM.
Thanks for the article. I just had my developers install Version 6 and we were going to get started using WDSc. Now I think we may wait until the smoke clears. I also believe that IBM should help give us the standard tools if they want us to move forward.
I have been using WDSc since shortly after V5 came out. I intend to continue using it (V6) as I’ve already gone through the learning curve. However, IBM clearly needs to straighten this mess out. If the company expects more people to adopt it, they need to give them something to adopt.
Thanks for the warning! I was starting to get interested in WDSc V7.0, since it’s the future and CODE/400 is not, but no way am I going to invest any time in it until there is a screen designer. I’ll be sticking with CODE/400 and DSU until then. Since I haven’t seen an IBM rep in years, please pass this along to IBM.
Remember that as long as you don’t move to Vista, CODE Designer will continue working, even with V7.0. Your message will certainly be passed on to IBM.
There are plenty of good features in V7.0, but IBM needs to straighten this mess out before I’ll invest the time in it.
Thanks for gathering these comments.
This site has been a midrange site for 30 years (360-20 /34 /36 /400 /iSeries /i5) and developers have always used green screen (POP, SEU, SDA, RLU). Management was convinced to budget hefty enough workstations for WDSC beginning next fiscal year. We were going to take the plunge and get into the 21st century with our new Vista PCs.
If CODE/400 won’t work in Vista and we can’t design screens in WDSC without a multi-thousand dollar per seat unbudgeted expense, then this experiment is over before it started.
IBM must be crazy, or secretly controlled by Microsoft moles intent on IBM’s destruction.
I completely agree with you, Bruce. I am working with WDSc 6.0 and was excited to hear of the 7.0 announcement. My excitement diminished when I learned that IBM wasn’t going to include the Application Diagram and Screen Designer features in the base version, which makes no sense unless they are merely trying to make money. They need to include these features in the base version so more developers will start adopting the product, rather than remaining completely with the green screen.
I’m not as familiar with the product, so this may not be worth much, but it also seems like IBM could give WDSc more features regarding system commands. I still need to use the green screen for certain commands, though I could probably use iSeries Navigator more.
If you want to forward my comments on to IBM, that would be fine with me. Maybe they will listen, if enough of us complain.
You bring up a good point about command functionality. As programmers, we do far more than write code. We need to execute the application (test), look inside DB files to make sure we update files correctly (actually V7.0 now has something to help with this), and, we often have other responsibilities like watching QSYSOPR message queue, etc. I know there are ways to see much of this in Navigator, but I haven’t spent enough time learning that, either. I know the basics, but haven’t forced myself to use it like I have with WDSc.
Count on IBM getting your comments. We need to make sure they listen,
I think the Application Diagram, and the new Screen Designer Technology Preview, the long-awaited replacement for the now-deprecated CODE Designer tool should be part of the standard WDSC 7.0, not just in the Advanced Edition
I totally agree with your statements. I had the same quizzical thought when I read the announcement “Why are these two green screen features only in the Web oriented version?” They definitely belong in the Standard Edition.
I am ordering the upgrade however as I desire the SQL RPGLE support which has been a real pain not having.
I am placing a ticket with our Business Partner today asking them to contact IBM and request they include those two features in the Standard Edition. Not sure it will do anything, but it’s a start.
I can certainly understand why you’d order 7.0. Embedded SQL support has always lagged behind the RPG compiler development (although great strides have been made), so any improvements are always welcome.
Any comments you can share with IBM will only help. We all need to do this.
Just wanted to let you know that I now have a PMR logged at IBM and they are supposed to be contacting me regarding this. I’ll let you know what they have to say once I’ve spoken with them.
Super! Anything that gets their attention. Please, do keep me informed. I’d love to hear their comments,
I just got off the phone with the WebSphere group at IBM. I explained that we’d like to see the two features moved to the Standard Edition, why it makes more sense for green screen developers and thus makes more sense for IBM. I also referenced your article and told them there are more developers out there who would also like to see the change.
They’re moving it up to the next level, so we’ll see what happens next. I’d guess the next wait will be longer. Hopefully more readers will contact IBM and get this changed.
Interesting! I agree that it’s likely to take a little longer for the next level, but I find it intriguing that they actually discussed it with you instead of saying, “You need to order Advanced Edition.” At least a glimmer of hope.
I’ve gotten very little real work done today…spent most of the day responding to emails. Keep ’em coming! Regardless of the outcome, thanks for your efforts,
I agree 100 percent. I will not ask my company to purchase the Advanced Edition, nor will I upgrade to 7.0 as long as the Screen Designer is bundled with the Advanced Edition tools. This is disappointing to hear, as I was looking forward to taking advantage of the other 7.0 enhancements. Someone needs to send IBM some “stick-um”, because it seems like every time they’re racing for the end zone someone drops the ball.
Perhaps some smart third-party will come up with reasonably priced tools in the meantime…effectively doing an “end-run” around IBM. Like you I’ve decided to draw a line in the sand.
I agree. IBM’s decision to omit the Screen Designer feature and application diagram from the Standard Edition of the WDSc software is nothing short of bizarre. I see little hope in IBM increasing the use of these tools without building a groundswell of support from the established users. As one, I too feel this move by IBM is a backward step and simply serves to frustrate and annoy the very people it needs to spread the word and modernize the way people approach development.
If IBM was hoping that the masses were going to jump on V7.0, this is just what is needed to keep them from ever trying it. Bizarre? Yes. Typical? Unfortunately, also Yes.
I think IBM has once again missed the boat.
IBM wants developers to use WDSc and not green screen. So, many of us have devoted many hours and lost productivity hours learning WDSc.
I have been using WDSc since it was called CODE/400 and ran on OS/2. Then CODE/400 was written for Windows. Then it became WDSc. One glaring hole in WDSc was the omission of a way to design DDS screens. How did IBM fix this? It included CODE/400 as part of the tool. Two steps forward and one step back. Finally, IBM has a Screen Designer in WDSc and then decides not to include it as part of the Standard Edition and withdraw CODE/400 from WDSc. One step forward and two steps back.
Does IBM really think that customers are going to spend $3,500 per developer to create DDS screens? My company won’t. What is IBM thinking? Or are they? IBM is sending a mixed message about WDSc. With IBM’s “wisdom,” it is no wonder that the i5 is dying, or at least not growing the way it should.
Maybe there is a reason why IBM did this. If so, the company needs to explain the reason. Maybe there is code that Screen Designer and Application Diagram Viewer need that are only in the Advanced Edition. If so, then that was a poor design by IBM and a poor reason to push people to the Advanced Edition.
Designer in CODE/400 is a good tool for screen and printer files. It will be a tough decision if I have to choose between losing Designer or keeping current with WDSc.
Come on IBM. Think before you act.
I wholeheartedly agree with Bruce about WDSC and feel that IBM is trying to do its best to kill the iSeries with this move. We are just about to enter our PC replacement three-year update cycle. If we cannot use these tools on Vista that means we won’t be upgrading any development PC soon. Also I develop in Windows and got my last IDE for free and it had all the pieces I would every need to develop whatever my heart desired. Since screen design is such and integral part of my development, I can’t see moving to Version 7 until IBM fixes this.
Remember that CODE Designer still works with V7.0 . . . until Vista, that is. As I indicated, I was fortunate to get a PC before the “Vista is everything” deal. Let’s hope IBM hears us and sets it right.
Well, I just read the article today from Bruce and have been following the threads in midrange.com with interest. From what I understand Timothy is going to communicate directly with IBM about this craziness, so I wanted to put in my two cents–which is similar to everyone else’s, but numbers count.
I have been preaching WDSC to EVERY shop I demo and sell my company’s product (at http://www.rpg-xml.com). I even go as far as using WDSC in my demos to encourage usage through “seeing it done”. This is a risk on my part because I risk alienating users that are strictly SEU, but I see enough value in their migrating that I take on that risk.
I do a lot of RPG programming, but very little has to do with designing screens–mostly Web services related. The principle of the matter is what has my underwear in a knot because I wonder what stunt the IBM packaging yahoos are going to pull next that will make us evangelists look silly. IBM, if you need more money for developing/supporting tooling why not add it to the compiler pricing versus trying to stick it to people that most likely will never be able to justify the per seat price tag.
On another note I am starting to speak at conferences this year on topics including WDSC and will now have to add the disclaimer to “write your IBM senator to change the ruling.” What else can we say to people we are trying to convert? I just don’t think this is the kind of press you want IBM. Making your user base mad/frustrated will never get you where you want to go.
I couldn’t agree more. Here we are at Version 7.0 (I know it didn’t start at 1.0, but even so. . .) and they are FINALLY adding guides to help the uninitiated to get started. Those of us who have taken the time and suffered the pain to learn the tool and promote it whenever they can–now look silly.
Until we get an explanation of the rationale for this insanity or an apology and correction, I can’t in good conscience promote it any more. I will continue to use it and I’ll help anyone who asks, but if I see people using green-screen tools, I will now bite my tongue on making any comments about improved productivity, etc.
Of course, even this won’t make me try to learn RLU (the Really Lousy Utility).
I am always astounded at how obtuse IBM can be. WDSC or CODE/400 was always something I wanted to learn, but never had a PC with enough processor power to use it. Now when I am in a position to try it and was looking forward to it, they pull this nonsense. When will IBM learn that you if you constantly play carrot and the stick that after awhile, everyone is going to shy away, no matter how juicy the carrot is?
Obtuse and nonsense . . . and on the mark.
These two features alone are the reason that I keep the old CODE/400 product loaded on my PC. From the Systems Admin view of things, I don’t use these features much but when I do they are critical tools. They are also very good at displaying the nature of programs and how display files work to applications developers. The apps people that have worked on the platform for years are amazed at how easily a program overview can be done while the new kids on the block like it because they are still learning what a green screen is.
After reading the article on IT Jungle this morning, I was extremely disappointed in IBM.
–Bruce (a different Bruce from IT Jungle’s Bruce)
“However, I will not be downloading or ordering V7.0 until this travesty is remedied.”
I am the WDSCi evangelist in my shop and we will not go to V7.0 unless IBM recognizes its bait and switch tactic and reverses its decision. Out of seven programmers here, five still use CODE/400 or PDM. V7.0 was supposed to be the version that would get the rest to switch – and IBM’s decision to ignore the i5 customer (AGAIN) is another slap in the face to IBM’s most loyal customers.
If IBM really thinks we’re that dumb, then maybe we should be using Microsoft tools after all.
IBM = I’ve Been Misled.
Everyone needs to contact IBM. The top brass need to know how this impacts us.
I regularly use WDSc and CODE Designer while developing on the iSeries. I’m sure that my employer will not spring for $3,480 to upgrade all the developers to the advanced edition. I agree that the new beta RSE Screen Designer should be included with the standard edition, not the Advanced Edition geared towards Java development.
Thanks for the response. Let IBM know what you think,
This is unbelievable. We are making extensive use of the IBM Webfacing tool. If your only choice to maintain screens will be LPEX or SDA then you are in trouble. For one thing SDA will lose Webfacing comments if you move or resize a field when in SDA. Save the screen from SDA and the fields you change have lost their Webfacing comments. There goes your Webfacing project.
LPEX does not have a WYSIWYG designer so you cannot see what your screen looks like.
We will be stuck between a rock and a hard place. We have been moving our programming staff in the direction of Code Designer with a bit of success and finally feel like we are using a modern tool only to find out it is going away.
Another problem arises in that all of our PCs are leased and before the end of this year we will be forced to move to Vista. What do we do then? I will be copying this to my business partner.
Remember that you will continue to have CODE Designer available until you move to Vista. FWIW, WDSc is currently not supported on Vista either. I’m sure this last bit is just temporary (IBM probably has this in the works, just not ready for prime time yet).
It is no surprise that CODE would be deprecated (the timing isn’t great, but we knew it would eventually happen). But leaving us with SDA as the only “graphical” editor for screens once you move to Vista is ridiculous. And RLU for printer files? At least we can “design” in LPEX. . . . now where did I leave those printer layout forms?
When will IBM get a clue?
In OS/2 days they tried charging big bucks for development tools and SDK’s and M$ gave them away. Everyone other than big Corps wrote for Windows. It wasn’t the big applications vendors that gave M$ it’s niche in the market (then it started charging for its development stuff). It was the little guy, the kid down the street that wrote a game or two, or someone that saw a need for a small specialty program and sold it as shareware. Look where OS/2 is today and what we are stuck with!
Isn’t doing the same thing and expecting different results the definition of insanity? Or are they doing the same thing an expecting the same results and hoping we wouldn’t notice?
To me it looks like this the work of the same guy (team) that constantly keeps changing the systems name. Definitely he is a cousin, if not the same person.
It’s always be evident that “Corporate IBM” has never been happy that Rochester could design and build something better than they did back in the Syetem/3 days, and I don’t think they have ever let go of that. Because if they had the AS/400, AS400, iSeries, i5, System i, System i5, or whatever it’s called!!!! would have/could have overtaken the big iron back in the System/38 days had it not been for all the strangleholds put on the systems and marketing to keep for becoming bigger that the mainframes.
Sinister plot or shoddy marketing? Either way it’s a travesty to the good people that have devoted their lives and livelihood to creating one (if not “the”) best computers and OSes out there.
I don’t mind paying a _reasonable_ price for tools. WDSc isn’t really “free”, it’s what I call “IBM-free”, meaning that we’ve paid for it by paying for (in this case) the compilers. So, if IBM truly needs more revenue (and we understand that they are in business to make money), then do it in a reasonable and appropriate way.
I’ll continue to use WDSc for development…but there is no way I can justify purchasing AE.
I agree, SDA especially, should be in “free” version of WDSc 7.0.
Thanks for the response. Let IBM know how you feel,
I fully agree with Bruce about this!
Thanks for the response,
My IBM rep agrees as well!
Great story about the missing features in WDSC 7.0! It mirrored an exact same discussion we had here last week. One point you should have made is about Advanced Edition is the absurd license fee that is being charged for it. Is anyone going to fork out that amount of money? On a per-seat basis, the cost to our team would be horrendous.
This is definitely a case of IBM shooting itself (or at least, the transition to WDSc) in the foot…
I left off the price because I’m still waiting to hear back from my BP. I have heard $3,500 and $4,640, but suspect the latter includes a year of maintenance. For anyone doing standard green-screen development, AE is simply not justified. I am the only developer here, and it is still an unjustified cost.
IBM has been pushing to get developers to move to WDSc for years, and it is happening very slowly. Those of us who done so understand the pain, but also see the gain. With this move I’m not sure if they’ve shot themselves in the foot or severed their heads!
Yep, we heard $3,500 as well. Per seat!
Nasty–I just can’t see it selling, and especially not to the PartnerWorld-accredited, because there is no discounting.
Oh well, I have always had a soft spot for green on black…
I just got a new laptop…pretty powerful…and it didn’t cost that much. If I had other reasons to need AE, then I’d need AE. But Screen Designer isn’t going to be that reason.
I couldn’t agree more with your article on 7.0 Standard Edition missing two key components, especially the screen designer slated to replace the soon to be defunct CODE/400. I cannot help but liken this action to a schoolyard drug dealer; get the masses hooked on using the new technology by giving it away for free, then when they come back for more and better, charge a premium because we now know they can’t live without it. Possibly, if enough people scoff at their attempts to extort a few more thousand dollars from those already heavily invested, IBM will rethink its “roadmap to the Web” strategy and put these basic tools back in the basic package.
The only thing I can think of is whoever made the decision to put Screen Designer into AE had no clue as to who would be using it and why. I don’t know enough about the Application Diagram, but from the description it is clearly a “green-screen” development tool. IBM might have a justification for putting it into AE, but it still seems odd.
Let’s hope IBM figures it out and sets it straight.
PS: Just one question…if we’ve been promoting WDSc, does that make us pushers? 😉
Until reading your article “WDSc Version 7.0 Standard Edition Is Missing Two Key Features,” I was excited about the latest version. Thank you for this critical information. I had written a letter to Susan Gantner about being the only developer in my group using WDSC for iSeries development and the reluctance of other developers in adopting this great tool.
Most of our development involves screen design and after using Code Designer for the past three years, there is no way I can return to SDA. Of course, for us, this may be moot as our new management wants to drop the iSeries for SQL Server and VB.NET. I have never understood why IBM bites the hand that feeds it and sends more business to Microsoft and others. Like you, I will not install 7.0 until IBM corrects this travesty. Thanks again for this warning.
I’m glad to hear that you’re using WDSc. It is a great tool. You bring up another excellent point: IBM Marketing (is that an oxymoron?). Our LUG in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, held its annual technical conference last week and one IBMer acknowledged that IBM has a difficult time marketing the System i. He also went on to talk about how far ahead IBM is with its technology compared with its competitors. Of course, he was preaching to the choir. What difference does any technological advantage have if no one knows about it. The System i seems to be IBM’s latest OS/2.
I continue to hold out hope that IBM will rectify the WDSc situation.
Your article on WDSC 7 and IBM’s illogical positioning of the Screen Designer and navigator is spot on. I too have been a vocal advocate with my development team and peers on adopting WDSC but never again. IBM has let us down badly and needs to correct this immediately.
I love using WDSc, but it’s getting harder to be a cheerleader when the coach never shows up for the game. For now, the pom poms are going into storage.
I have used WDSC for three years now. In our shop, I’m the one who is advocating this development tool. As you pointed out and we all know, getting familiar with WDSC is not easy. Other developers are looking at me, and ask me why I’m pushing them to such a difficult tool. But despite its teething troubles I like it, and now I know my way around in it, I won’t go back to SEU.
But when I read the announcement of WDSC 7.0, I have the same feeling as you described. Is this the way IBM thanks the developers who were loyal enough to trust that some day WDSC would have grown out to that complete and easy to use IDE they were promising?
Screen Designer is a base tool that belongs in the Standard Edition. Maybe IBM thinks that they can push companies to go off the green screen programming by taking away their tools, but that will work contra productive. IBM will better reach that goal by making tools like HATS and Webfacing free.
Of course, I won’t stop using WDSC, but I do stop advocating it to others until IBM will add the Designer to the Standard Edition. I will not ask my company to buy an Advanced Edition. We have paid enough.
I’m with you on not asking the company for Advanced Edition. There is no justification for that expense. I understand that IBM is in business to make a profit. If the company I work for didn’t make a profit they couldn’t keep me or any employees. If IBM needs to charge for Screen
WDSc is a great tool and the developers working on it are outstanding. IBM won’t get people to buy AE in order to get the Screen Designer. . . .it just won’t happen.
Thanks for writing that article. While I also eagerly read the new specs on WDSc 7.0, I was equally dismayed to find the Screen Designer was an Advanced Edition feature. I hadn’t noticed the deprecation of CODE/400, but then, I don’t use it or it’s SDA replacement, I just can’t afford to use both WDSC and these applications. So, I’m not that unaccustomed to running the old SDA as well and it looks like we must continue to do just that.
Every now and then you just have to wonder about the IBM roadmaps. We must keep watching out for those pot holes that drain off cash and stifle our development processes.
I really like the “roadmap” and “pot holes” analogy.
If you haven’t tried the CODE Designer, it is very much like SDA, only more powerful. As long as you aren’t moving to Vista, CODE is still available.
I hope IBM changes its mind and puts the Screen Designer where it belongs. Only time will tell,