IBM Updates Development Tools and Compilers for i/OS 7.1
April 27, 2010 Alex Woodie
Along with new POWER 7 servers and new POWER 7 operating systems, IBM has delivered new development tools for the platform it calls “i for Business.” Tucked into IBM’s big April 13 announcement that introduced i/OS 7.1 to the world were new application development tools, new compilers for the POWER 7 hardware, new Web-enablement tools, and new change management tools.
IBM has changed the names of its products again with the i/OS 7.1 release (although not to the extent that it did with the V6R1 release, thank goodness). So first let’s lay out the names of the current crop of tools and where they fit in overall scheme of things:
Upon first glance, readers will note that the names of all of IBM’s development tools for i/OS have been “rationalized.” IBM no longer sells its flagship IDE (now RDP, formerly RDi and WDSc) under the “Rational” brand but requires customers to buy WebSphere Development Studio to get the ILE compilers. Almost all references to WebSphere have been wiped clean (except for that curious new RAD for WebSphere product, and those formal IBM program numbers, but who’s counting).
RDS for i 7.1
The new release of the ILE compilers, or Rational Development Studio for i 7.1 (program number 5770-WDS), brings a slew of new capabilities to programmers who target the platform.
RPG programmers gain new features such as: the capability to search and sort data structure arrays; support for ALIAS keywords; new and updated built-in functions, including %SCANRPL, %PARMNUM, and %LEN; new optional prototype capabilities; a new procedure for improving performance using the RTNPARM keyword; new XML-INTO options; the capability to pass any type of string parameters; the new DBGENCKEY option to encrypt debug data; support for the teraspace storage model; and support for Open Access: RPG Edition.
COBOL programmers will be ecstatic to begin using new RDS 7.1 features, such as: support for the COMPUTATIONAL-5 (native binary) data type; better XML generation performance; ease-of-use improvements to the VALUE clause for a national data item; the capability to complete compiling by turning turn off compiling optimization; the new DBGENCKEY option to encrypt debug data; support for the teraspace storage model; and new PROCESS statement options.
The Application Development Toolset (ADTS) subcomponent of RDS 7.1, which contains older development tools such as Screen Entry Utility (SEU), Screen Design Aid (SDA), and Report Layout Utility (RLU), gets one enhancement. IBM has added an exit point for SEU, SDA, and RLU that enable organizations to prevent programmers from modifying source code with these tools. This should help companies achieve compliance with new regulations.
As promised, IBM put the ADTS and the heritage compilers for S/36 and S/38 environments out to pasture with RDS for i 7.1 and i/OS 7.1 “Features introduced to ILE RPG and ILE COBOL following the 6.1 release are not recognized by the syntax-checkers used by SEU,” IBM stated in its announcement. Longtime AS/400 types who would otherwise continue using the old green-screen tools until the cows come home will need to upgrade to the new generation of Eclipse-based RDP tools if they want to take advantage of the new features in the languages or i/OS 7.1.
C programmers who target the i/OS platform will gain access to the new DBGENCKEY option to encrypt debug data. C++ developers gain this feature, as well as decimal floating-point support and support for C99 features (as defined by the ISO/IEC 9899:1999 C language standard).
RDS for i 7.1 works with a slew of POWER 5, POWER 6, and POWER 7 servers. For more information, see IBM’s April 13 announcement on RDS for i 7.1, Software Announcement 210-105 (PDF).
The version 7.6 release of Rational Developer for Power Systems Software (or program number 5724-Y99 in IBM’s software catalog) brings new capabilities to i/OS and AIX programmers.
For i/OS, RDP 7.6 gains support for i/OS 7.1 and all of the exciting features in that release. It also updates the syntax checking and program verification features, and improves the bidirectional text support, according to IBM’s announcement.
This release also introduces two new visual design tools with RDP 7.6. The new Screen Designer and Report Designer will give developers graphical tools for designing DDS display and printer files, respectively.
i/OS programmers must purchase an extra feature, called RPG and COBOL Development Tools for i (program number 5733-RDP), to enable RDP 7.6 to work with the platform’s preeminent programming languages. 5733-RDP becomes available on May 7.
IBM executives have said that the RPG enablement feature, 5733-RDP, is required to write the code that invokes the “handlers” for RPG Open Access (which bears the program number 5733-OAR). However, several third-party i/OS experts say that is not the case, and that programmers may program RPG Open Access connections into their source code using older tools.
Aside from RPG Open Access–which is not really a feature of RDP and which will work with i/OS 6.1 and 7.1–the most exciting new capabilities in RDP 7.6 appear to target AIX: the capability to write AIX applications in C/C++ or COBOL. Separate bundles are available that contain the C/C++ and COBOL development tools, as well as compilers.
You can read more about RDP 7.6 in IBM’s U.S. Software Announcement 210-120 (PDF).
WDSc Support Ends
Customers that use the old release of WDSC and WDSC Advanced Edition (AE) need to upgrade to a new RDP product or switch to RDi. With the launch of the new tools, IBM is ending technical support for these products. Support for RDi is expected to last for some time.
For more information on HATS, see “HATS Delivers an i Server to iPhone Connection” elsewhere in this newsletter.