Who Needs Custom Perspectives In RSE?
March 12, 2014 Susan Gantner
Who needs custom perspectives in RSE? Just about everyone. At least everyone could probably benefit from them. As you know if you’ve read my earlier tips, I’m a huge fan of the Remote System Explorer that is part of WDSC, RDi and/or RDP. But I rarely use it as it comes “out of the box” from IBM/Rational. I customize it in many ways, including creating my own custom perspectives.
I use custom perspectives primarily for two purposes:
In this tip, we’ll look at the “reset perspective” point in detail. I’ll cover the “special-purpose environments” in a follow-on tip.
If you’re like me and occasionally mess up your perspective (read on for how I manage to do that), you’ll find the “reset perspective” option very handy because it allows you to back out your latest changes without losing every customization you have made. You’ll find this option under the Window pull-down menu in RSE.
Most everyone who uses RSE modifies the “out of the box” perspective to some extent. If nothing else, you have probably stretched the shapes and sizes of the views–meaning the boxes inside the RSE perspective such as Remote Systems, outline, the editor window, etc.–to match your monitor shape and size. Perhaps you have also made more adventurous changes to your RSE perspective, such as moving views around, closing some views you don’t use and opening some that you do use that aren’t there by default, such as the Snippets view, as advocated by Paul Tuohy.
Once in a while, you may find that one of your more adventurous changes wasn’t really for the better and you’d like to go back to the way it was before. No problem! Just use Window→Reset perspective and you’re back to your original version of that perspective.
Here’s another common way of messing up a perspective. Maybe you haven’t really been that adventurous, but you realize that your perspective doesn’t seem quite right. Perhaps you seem to be missing a view. The most common (and frightening) view to disappear unexpectedly is the Outline, as Jon Paris described in this article. As Jon stated, one of the ways to recover the missing view is to use “reset perspective.”
So what does all this have to do with custom perspectives? Everything! Because when you say “reset perspective,” you reset to the last version of the perspective you’re currently in. So, if that’s the “out of the box” version of RSE, then you have just reset yourself back to the very beginning point for RSE, which is as IBM envisioned the RSE perspective to be.
It’s probably much better to reset your perspective to your own vision of what it should be–resized for your monitor and with all the views you normally use in your preferred positions.
So how do you create your own version of the RSE perspective? You simply use the “save perspective as” option, which is located just above “reset perspective” option in the window pull-down menu.
While you could (at least in recent releases) overlay the default RSE perspective, I advocate saving your perspective with your own name, such as “My RSE.” The reason for this is that you may decide someday that you really want to start over completely from the IBM default and if you have already overwritten that one, that makes life difficult.
Now you have a different issue. You have the original RSE perspective and your own (e.g., My RSE) perspective. You probably no longer want to use the original one and you certainly don’t want it to be the default perspective if/when the tool restarts from scratch.
So if you want your own RSE perspective to be your default perspective, then use Window→Preferences and choose “Perspectives” from the “General” section. Select your new perspective name and use the “Make Default” button to the right.
For those of you already comfortable with switching between perspectives, you can probably skip the next part and tune in for part two of this article to be published at a later time. For those of you still new to the tool set, here are some tips on switching between perspectives.
If you have created your own personal RSE perspective, you probably want to close the original RSE perspective. You could use the Window→Close Perspective option, however, that closes the perspective you are currently in, which is likely your customized perspective. So you must now find the original RSE perspective, select it before choosing “Close Perspective.”
You might find yourself wondering, “How do I choose a perspective?” Here are some pointers. If you are running a version earlier than 9.0, you may or may not see all your open perspectives in the tab in the upper right side of your workbench. It will look something like the figure below. (Note: to see your version, use the Help pull down menu. The last option is probably “About” followed by the name of the version of the tool you have installed.)
If you only see one or two perspectives in that tab, grab the left edge of the tab with your mouse and drag it further left to expose more open perspectives. If the perspective that you want to switch to does not appear in the tab, you can open it by using the “Open Perspective” icon, which is the icon with the “+” sign in the figure above.
To close a perspective that appears in the tab, simply select that perspective and then choose Window→Close Perspective, or, alternatively, right click on the perspective name in the tab and choose “Close.”
If you are at V9.0 or later, then the Eclipse base you’re using automatically extends the tab to show all the open perspectives.
As I’ve shown here, creating your own customized perspective can help you recover from lost views or get you back on track after your great idea of changing the perspective turns out not to be such a great idea. Of course, from time to time after you have made some changes to your perspective that you really like, then you need to remember to re-save your customized perspective so you don’t lose all your more recent enhancements.
Susan Gantner is half of Partner400, a consulting company focused on education on modern programming and database techniques and tools on the IBM i platform. She is also a founding partner in System i Developer, a consortium of System i educators and hosts of the RPG & DB2 Summit conferences. Susan was a programmer for corporations in Atlanta, Georgia, before joining IBM. During her IBM career, she worked in both the Rochester and Toronto labs, providing technical support and education for application developers. Susan left IBM in 1999 to devote more time to teaching and consulting. Together with Jon Paris, she now runs Partner400, and appears regularly at many technical conferences, including System i Developer’s RPG & DB2 Summit. Send your questions or comments for Susan to Ted Holt via the IT Jungle Contact page.