Free RPG Editor Takes on Unit Testing
October 26, 2010 Alex Woodie
The RPG Next Gen project is looking to add automated unit testing to its repertoire of open source capabilities for RPG developers. In a blog posting earlier this month, RPG Next Gen founder Mihael Schmidt discusses his plans for integrating the existing unit test capabilities of the RPGUnit project at Sourceforge.net with his Eclipsed-based alternative to IBM‘s development environments for IBM i, including the current RDp and older versions, RDi and WDSc.
Schmidt launched the open source RPG Next Gen project in 2009. The German’s main goals with launching the project were to provide a free and lightweight alternative to IBM’s RDp/RDi/WDSc development tools, which are costly and heavy with features. Schmidt also wanted an RPG editor that ran on Linux; however, the latest release of IBM’s IDE, RDp 8.0, which becomes generally available today, now runs on Linux workstations.
While RDp now runs on Linux, don’t expect Schmidt to back off his plans for RPG Next Gen. He is continually posting new releases and adding new features to the project, which lives on the Web at rpgnextgen.sourceforge.net. Earlier this month, Schmidt discussed plans for integrating the RPG unit testing capabilities of the RPGUnit.org project with his own RPG Next Gen project.
Schmidt plans to use RPGUnit and other open source tools to achieve the state of continuous test automation of RPG development. RPGUnit already contains most of the RPG-related features, such as writing, compiling, and running test cases. However, RPGUnit is designed to be used as a standalone product, which Schmidt says is not very convenient for developers who use the RPG Next Gen Editor, or even the RDp/RD/WDSc tools.
Schmidt has already developed a working plug-in that makes the RPGUnit functions available from the RPG Next Gen editor. The plug-in, which he will post for download before the end of the year, enables RPG Next Gen users to execute one or more tests from the Remote Explorer component of the editor, which is based on the Eclipse framework. Eventually, Schmidt plans to bolster the plug-in with a wizard for creating a skeleton code from an existing service program, and an editor for creating test suites.
RPGUnit has not been updated in more than three years, but that doesn’t deter Schmidt. “I think that is not necessarily a bad sign,” he writes via e-mail. “The project does what it is meant to do and it does it well. It is very well- and clean-coded. Thanks to the original author of RPGUnit.”
The second stage of this project is to create a state of continuous integration between development and test activities. Schmidt foresees using a product such as the Hudson continuous integration server to automate RPG test execution and, eventually, to control the compile process as well.
The whole idea behind using a continuous integration (CI) server such as Hudson is to accelerate the development and QA process without cutting corners. With a CI server overseeing the test lifecycle and continuously generating builds, bugs are more quickly identified and programmers are assured of a cleaner build to work from.
Integration with the Hudson CI server is a longer-term project that won’t be completed this year, Schmidt says.
For more downloads of RPG Next Gen or to contribute to the project, see the project’s website at www.rpgnextgen.com.