IBM Kills iAccess for Windows, Older RDi Versions
April 18, 2018 Alex Woodie
Spring is still weeks away in the Upper Midwest, where it still feels like winter. But that didn’t stop the IBM i leadership in Rochester, Minnesota from embarking upon some spring cleaning by sending out to pasture some development tooling and admin interfaces for IBM i, including older releases of RDi and all of iAccess for Windows.
IBM yesterday announced that effective April 30, 2019, it will withdraw IBM i Access for Windows. That announcement puts the final nail in the coffin of the old Windows-based client that traces its roots back to OpsNav.
Here’s the short announcement posted to IBM Support’s “upgrade planning and future software releases” webpage: “Effective April 30, 2019, IBM will withdraw support for IBM i Access for Windows (5770-XE1). Replacement product is IBM i Access Client Solutions (5733-XJ1).”
Over the past few releases, IBM has been piling new functionality into the ACS product, which is the run-anywhere, Java-based client interface that IBM unveiled back in August 2012 as the new strategic replacement for older clients, including IBM i Access for Windows and others. Sometimes called iAccess for Windows, this product has been around in one form or another since the early 2000s.
However, the writing has been on the wall for quite a while that iAccess for Windows’ time was limited. While some IBM i professional will lament the loss of the Windows-based client, nobody can say they were surprised by the decision.
IBM also announced it is withdrawing support for several Rational development tools, including Rational Developer for i (RDi) versions 9.0 and 9.1. There are no replacements planned, and support is also scheduled to end April 30, 2019.
RDi is IBM’s flagship integrated development environment (IDE) for developing applications in RPG, COBOL, Java, and Enterprise Generation Language (EGL) that run on the IBM i platform, although the actual RPG, COBOL, and C and C++ compilers are sold separately through a product called Rational Development Studio for i.
The Eclipse-based product features a drag-and-drop user interface and modern IDE amenities like content assist. It’s also integrated with IBM Rational Host Access Transformation Services (HATS) to modernize 5250 green screens, and also hooks in with Rational Team Concert (RTC), IBM’s lifecycle management product.
IBM debuted RDi version 9.0.2 four years ago with the launch of IBM i 7.1 Technology Refresh (TR) 8. At the time, the big new feature getting lots of attention in RDi 9.0.2 was free-format RPG. The latest version of RDi is version 9.6, which the company unveiled in October 2017 along with IBM i 7.3 TR3 and IBM i 7.2 TR7 and shipped in November.
The announcement raised speculation that IBM could be planning a refresh of the RDi product. However, IBM has not communicated any major refreshes of the RDi product or replacements. At this point, customers will be well served by continuing with more recent versions of RDi.
In addition to the core RDi 9.0 and 9.1 products, which has the Passport Advantage program number 5274-Y99 and the Advanced Administrative Systems (AAS) program number 5733-RDW, IBM is ending support for an array of associated tooling, including version 9.0 and 9.1 versions of RPG and COBOL Tools for Multiplatforms, RPG/COBOL + Modernization Tools EGL Edition, RPG/COBOL + Modernization Tools Java Editions. It’s also ending support for certain Rational Developer for AIX and Linux and Rational Business Developer for Multiplatforms (RBD) products.
You can read IBM’s RDi withdrawal notice here.