Misys Partner Launches IBM i Client for Subversion 1.75
June 26, 2012 Alex Woodie
A Russian partner of IBM i banking software developer Misys last week announced that it has completed work on a new IBM i client for the popular open source Apache Subversion version control system. A developer at Banking Technologies & Consulting says the IBM i client, called iSVN, enables RPG and CL programmers to access external SVN repositories and utilize SVN features, such as code checkout and update commands, from the comfort of the 5250 green screen.
Moscow-based Banking Technologies & Consulting (BTC) provides support and localization for the EQUATION core banking system from Misys for financial service companies in Russia and other former states of the USSR. BTC does a lot of consulting work for EQUATION users, which requires writing new RPG programs and integrating them into its customers’ existing RPG programs.
With so much RPG code in the mix, BTC at some point realized it needed a way to manage the source code for its customers, BTC developer Alexei Baranov tells IT Jungle. The company looked at change management products of some well-known vendors, but found that they were too expensive for a company of about 40 people, or too proprietary and difficult to use to be widely adopted by the company’s developers, he says.
Instead, BTC looked to SVN, an open source version control system that has gained a lot of market share since it was initially released in 2000. SVN brings numerous advantages to the RPG programmer, Baranov says, the primary ones being that SVN is simple and widely used around the world. “But until this moment, RPG programmers have been deprived of these elegant tools.”
BTC is not the only organization that has embarked upon a plan to bring SVN’s riches to the IBM i populace. Several years back, the folks at SoftLanding Systems (now owned by UNICOM Systems) ported SVN to run natively under i5/OS. Today, UNICOM sells the software as TurnOver for SVN v100. However, the product is based on SVN version 1.4, which is six years old. As a result, the BTC crew decided to put together their own IBM i binary of SVN with the latest SVN code.
The porting work was completed in March, and BTC started to put its new iSVN client into production in the middle of May. But then Apache released version 1.75 of SVN. In the interest of having the latest and greatest release of SVN to work with, the company decided to hold off the release, and did the additional work required to port SVN version 1.75 to IBM i.
iSVN is a native implementation of the Subversion client for the IBM i platform. It works with all supported versions of IBM i, from i5/OS V5R4 through IBM i 7.1. The software works by storing working copies of RPG and CL source code on the IFS drive, where they can be accessed by the green-screen iSVN client or by any external SVN client.
By synchronizing the source physical file members with the working copy on the IFS, developers gain access to all the SVN features, including versioning (code update and checkout commands), branching, merging, and two- and three-way source comparison. “The RPG developer receives full access to all the long-awaited source version control features directly from the green-screen session,” Baranov says.
BTC also added an IBM i-specific feature that enables the output of standard streams stdout and stderr to be sent to the joblog. It also generates *STATUS messages in addition to the standard output, “a small but very handy feature when working in a green screen,” Baranov says.
iSVN is just one of several ports that Baranov and his team have completed at BTC as part of its “i5PortAll” initiative. In addition to iSVN, the company has ported SQLite, OpenSSL, Zlib, gSOAP, and Libconfig to IBM i. Several of these are typically used in conjunction with a SVN implementation, but BTC is not providing separate access to these IBM i binaries at this time.
“In our projects, we are actively using the tools and libraries [that] are . . . the gold standards for software development,” Baranov says. “These tools are not new, but the [IBM i developers] usually miss this functionality. In scope of i5PortAll initiative, our company has completed porting of some libraries and developer tools to the IBM i platform.”
BTC is making iSVN available for 30-day trials. Beyond that, a license key must be purchased from BTC to continue using the product. The tier-based licensing chart starts at €1,000 for a P05 box for the first year, with a €500 annual maintenance fee in subsequent years. A P10 license costs €2,000, with a €1000 annual maintenance fee. Maintenance includes technical support, bug fixes, and enhancements.
For more information and trial downloads of iSVN, see www.btc.info/en/products/233/.