RDP 8.5 Brings New RPG Views, Hooks To Team Concert
June 4, 2012 Alex Woodie
IBM last week announced version 8.5 of Rational Developer for Power Systems Software (RDP), its suite of development tools for writing IBM i, AIX, and Linux applications for the Power Systems server line. The new release of RDP brings two IBM i-related enhancements, including a “live outline” view of RPG code and better hooks into the Rational Team Concert change management system. IBM also unveiled version 8.5 of Rational Developer for i for SOA Construction, which brings several HATS enhancements.
There are 10 different tools that fall under the Rational Developer for Power umbrella. Nine of these feature the “Rational Developer for Power Systems Software” (RDP) name, and IBM i shops will be most interested in two of these. The first is RPG and COBOL Development Tools for i, which is an integrated development environment (IDE) for developing applications using RPG, COBOL, DDS, CL, C, and C++. The second is Power Tools for i, which is a multiple-IDE bundle that includes the RPG and COBOL Development Tools for i and “a significant subset of capabilities” from Rational Application Developer (RAD) for WebSphere Software.
Then there is Rational Developer for i for SOA (service oriented architecture), which doesn’t live under the Rational Developer for Power umbrella at all, but tags along behind it (in the rain, as it were). RDi for SOA combines the core RPG and COBOL Development Tools for i functionality with Rational Business Developer (RBD) and HATS (Host Access Transformation Services). For any of the RDP products or RDi for SOA, IBM i shops will also need the server-side compilers, which are sold as Rational Development Studio for i.
All three of these IBM i products will benefit from the new “live outline view” feature in the RPG and COBOL Development Tools for i component of RDP version 8.5. The new feature automatically refreshes the outline as the developer codes, based on parsing of the RPG done at the desktop level. IBM says the new feature will save time and boost the productivity of RPG coders.
The RPG and COBOL Development Tools for i product also gains enhancements to the i Project perspective, which will result in better integration with the Rational Team Concert for IBM i change management system that IBM introduced several years ago.
IBM says there is now full two-way synchronization between the IBM i projects that a developer has loaded into his local workspace and their associated libraries sitting on remote IBM i servers. Version 8.5 also lets a developer view the text description of the objects and source members in the properties view when they are selected, IBM says.
There is also a new compile menu that allows a developer to submit a compile command. IBM says these improvements bring the i Project perspective capabilities closer to parity with the Remote Systems Explorer perspective.
IBM i shops that are modernizing their apps using the RDi for SOA tooling will see several new features in the HATS Toolkit with HATS 8.5, including: support for the Apache Geronimo application server as well as support for Google‘s Android mobile operating system and Chrome Web browser.
RDP 8.5 brings several other enhancements that are common to all platforms, including: access to better data development tools through integration with IBM’s Optim Data Studio tool; support for build specifications for multiple contexts; service reliability enhancements that allow the server-side explorer and debug agents to crash more gracefully; support for lightweight debuggable executables that ride alongside the main application; and support for 64-bit desktop operating systems (thanks to support for running the Eclipse-based tools in the 64-bit JVM).
The biggest enhancements in RDP 8.5 benefit Linux and AIX users. With this release, IBM included an application porting and migration advisor tool for AIX and Linux apps written in C, C++, and COBOL; a performance analysis advisor tool for C and C++ apps running on AIX and Linux; and a new code test analysis tool for C, C++, and COBOL apps running on AIX and Linux.
IBM says that, as a result of the new capabilities, RDP is no longer a set of tools for just developing applications on the Power Systems platform, but can also be used for migrating, porting, and optimizing applications from other platforms to run on Power Systems. No word yet when, or whether, the IBM i tooling will gain the migration, porting, and optimization capabilities that IBM has made available to Linux and AIX.
RDP 8.5 tools and RDi for SOA 8.5 will be available for download on June 15. For more information, see IBM U.S. Software Announcement 212-167 (PDF).