WDSc V7.0: Componentization of Advanced Edition Is Not Enough
April 2, 2007 Bruce Guetzkow
Over the past few weeks, there has been much discussion in this newsletter and elsewhere regarding IBM‘s announcement of the latest release of WebSphere Development Studio Client (WDSc), version 7.0. Most notable has been the ruckus caused by the deprecation of the CODE/400 toolset and the limiting availability of Screen Designer and Application Diagram to the costly Advanced Edition.
The deprecation of CODE was not a surprise. In fact, it was expected that when comparable tools were added to WDSc there would no longer be a need for CODE. What has shocked most developers is the timing. CODE will not be ported to the Windows Vista operating system. If you continue to run other versions of Windows, such as XP Professional, CODE will continue to operate. However, if your company orders a new PC today, you will get Vista as your operating system, effectively rendering CODE unusable. That leaves developers with the following choices for developing display files at no additional cost:
Of those options, SDA is the only “graphical” option. For a company that has told developers that they must modernize–and often told by IBM to do so–it is a giant step backward. Of course, there is another alternative: Purchase the Advanced Edition version of WDSc. This product has the new Screen Design tool that is the replacement for the CODE Designer. The cost for Advanced Edition is over $4,000 per seat (which includes the first year’s maintenance). Needless to say, many developers and their companies have balked at that level of outlay for a tool that was previously available at no additional cost.
In last week’s issue, this newsletter reported that George Farr, solution manager of WDS, WDSc, and the RPG compiler at IBM’s Toronto Labs, told attendees at the RPG & DB2 Summit in Las Vegas that IBM was willing to componentize the bits that go into WDSc Advanced Edition and offer those components as separately priced features. I believe this means that IBM may make the Screen Designer available at some as-yet-unknown future date for a more modest per-seat fee, perhaps in the $300 to $500 range. This is certainly more palatable than several thousand dollars per seat, but IBM is still telling its customers that in order to continue doing business as they have for many years they must now shell out several hundred to several thousand dollars. After paying that price, they will effectively have exactly the same capabilities that they have today.
Along came WDSc Standard Edition, IBM’s replacement for the green-screen tools such as PDM, SEU, SDA and RLU. These tools were not free–the cost was included as part of licensed program 5722-WDS (WebSphere Development Studio). Of course, IBM also created an Advanced Edition, intended as “an added set [of] premium tools to help accelerate the development of sophisticated, fully J2EE-compliant Java applications,” as described by IBM’s own Web site. Neither Screen Designer nor Application Diagram fall into this category.
IBM, like any other company, is in business to make a profit. No one begrudges IBM’s right to make a profit. But let’s not forget that any company that has purchased licensed program 5722-WDS has paid for WDSc and continues to contribute to its development through Software Subscription. As with everything in life, costs go up. If IBM is not making enough to cover its WDSc expenses, then it is well within its rights to increase the cost for 5722-WDS and Software Subscription. If IBM provides quality software, we are willing to pay for it. But we do not expect to be gouged for it.
Screen Designer and Application Diagram belong in the Standard Edition. Putting these tools into Advanced Edition was done without considering the needs of AS/400, iSeries, and System i customers, and the move was a serious blunder. Offering to “componentize” elements of Advanced Edition is nothing more than a vain attempt at appeasement and shows how little IBM understands the midrange development community. It smacks of sheer arrogance.
If IBM needs additional revenue for continuing development of WDSc and chooses to increase the costs associated with the licensed program or maintenance, then that is appropriate. IBM, admit this mistake and correct it. I have chosen to take a personal stand on this issue. I previously indicated that I will not install V7.0 until this situation is properly resolved. I am only one developer and the amount of revenue IBM makes or loses by my actions won’t ever be noticed. But I believe that installing V7.0 while this issue remains is tacit acceptance of the situation–and I can’t in good conscience do that.
One last thing. With the deprecation of CODE, we will not simply be losing CODE’s screen design functionality, but the ability to design printer files. So, has anyone seen Print Designer?