The Coder’s Shortcut To Satisfaction
August 25, 2014 Dan Burger
If the words investigative, inquisitive, and analytical fit you like a kite fits in the hands of ol’ Ben Franklin, you probably don’t shy away from challenges–like building a robotic dog in your basement or learning to fly–programmatically speaking–without SEU, the old green-screen development tool. I can’t help you with your robotic dog, but here’s some help for those of you with SEU abandonment issues. Let me steer you to Susan Gantner’s recently updated version of Favorite Keyboard Shortcuts for RSE.
Gantner is possibly the most well-known trainer-educator-author in the IBM midrange. I’d make a bet her name recognition is better than any of the development tools that she has mastered over the years from CODE/400, to WDSC, to the current RDi environment. Of course, she hasn’t had her name changed multiple times, so that’s in her favor.
RSE, the byte size handle for Remote System Explorer, is the modern development tool within Rational Developer for i (RDi). RSE has been around. It’s been updated. And it’s been widely ignored. But wait, that’s not the same as totally ignored, and there are indications its popularity is on the rise. More folks with latent tendencies to be investigative, inquisitive, and analytical are walking toward the light.
In the last 12 to 18 months, Gantner has noticed “a significant increase in the number of RPGers moving from SEU or WDSC to the newer RDi environment.” It’s an encouraging trend that is not going unnoticed by IBM i advocates. “When people see you coding Free Form RPG in a graphical IDE, that ‘old technology coder’ image just melts away,” she says without a hint of remorse.
Converting old tech coders into new tech coders is why Gantner does what she does. The RSE quick start guide was designed to get people over the hump of “What do I do? Where do I find things that can be downloaded and installed?”
“The purpose is to get people interested in trying out some things, to provide some how-to instructions on some of the most-useful features, including the editor,” Gantner told me during a break in the action at the OCEAN Technical Conference last month.
Because RSE 9.0 was released earlier this year, the Shortcuts needed revision to stay current. Staying current, or reasonably so, is a big deal to Gantner.
“I originally did this shortcut guide for myself,” she says while taking a conversational trip back to the CODE400 days. “I typed it up and put it on the wall so I could remember shortcuts that were helpful to me, and I kept adding to it. I kept having these ‘Wow, I never knew I could do that’ moments.”
The current Keyboard Shortcuts is made to be taped to the wall or kept close by your coding cave. It’s available as a download–you’ll have to print it yourself–or in a printed version if you catch up with Gantner in person.
RSE includes all the shortcut keys, but the trouble, Gantner says, is information overload.
“You don’t want them all. You want a handy list of the most-useful, most-used shortcuts,” she says. “You don’t want to sift through all those that are not relevant for RPG, for instance.
“RPG developers tend to be productivity fanatics, so when we adopt a new tool, we need to learn all the tricks fast or we find ourselves bouncing back to our old comfort-zone tool. We just have to get past that initial hump in the learning curve to find out how much more productive than SEU RSE really is. I hope that this tips sheet and the companion RSE Quick Start Guide will help the IBM i community with that.”
Free downloads of Favorite Keyboard Shortcuts for RSE and the RSE Quick Start Guide are available on the System i Developer website. Hard copy handouts are also available by request.
Gantner, along with her husband, Jon Paris, and business partner Paul Tuohy are the SiD ownership team. SiD is best known for organizing and presenting the twice annual RPG & DB2 Summit conferences. The next Summit is scheduled for September 30 through October 2.