Guru: Ready or Not! Part 4 of Big Changes in RDi V9.6, PDM Affinity with Object Table
July 16, 2018 Susan Gantner
I’m beginning to feel like a broken record — still more new RDi features with V9.6. I’m excited that there are so many great new features to talk about. In this tip, I’ll cover the primary feature added with fix pack update V188.8.131.52 — enhancements to the Object Table for PDM affinity.
To me, the enhancements to the Object Table view to make it look and feel much more like PDM are the most significant in the release. There are some other smaller — but still very welcome — enhancements as well, which I’ll cover in a later tip.
Why would the developers of RDi want to do anything to make it look and feel more like the green-screen PDM tool? I suspect the primary motivation initially was to make it easier for non-RDi users to make the transition by using an interface that is more familiar. But don’t think that if you’re already an RDi fan you won’t find anything interesting in this new support. I’ve found it very useful and I haven’t used PDM much in the last decade or so.
See Figure 1 below to see what the new Object Table looks like. The example shown is a list of members in a specific source file. Note that the Command section at the bottom of the list can be hidden when it’s not needed, which is what I normally do to make more room for list items.
The Object Table is not new, it has been in RDi since back when it was called WDSC. Still I find that many RDi users have rarely, if ever, used it. Before V9.6, the Object Table was populated one of two ways. My favorite way to populate it was to right click a named filter, a library or a source file in the Remote Systems view and choose “Show in Table.” There was also an option from the Object Table’s view menu to “Work with > Libraries…, Objects…, or Members…” to populate the table.
Viewing the lists from Remote Systems in the Object Table has always been helpful by providing more information about the items in the list. I used Object Table often primarily to see the text on members and objects back before I had the option of getting that in the Remote Systems view with the help of the iSphere plug-in. Even now, there are other features of the Object Table that come in handy. For example, I can sort on any of the columns of information in the table by clicking on the column name. I can also customize the columns in the table to show even more information such as an item’s size, the date of creation and/or last change.
What’s new in V9.6 are the parts on the far left (A) and the far right (B). The Option column (A) behaves much like the option column in PDM. Some (but not all) numbered PDM options work in this new table. For example, if I’m looking at a table containing a list of source file names, I can enter 12 next to a source file to see a list of the members in that file. Then I can enter a 2 to open one those members for edit or 5 to browse it. Of course, I can also double-click on a member in the list to open it as well, as I would do from Remote Systems.
What about the PDM user options that begin with a letter rather than a number? They will work here as well, with a few prereqs and caveats. The prereq is that you must first create those as RDi User Actions. That’s pretty simple to do. In most cases, you can use copy/paste to re-create one of your PDM user actions as an RDi User Action. The caveat, of course, is that the action you’re trying to do must be feasible to be done within RDi. For example, most DSPxxx or WRKxxx kinds of commands will not work (at least without using STRRSESVR, which I avoid like the plague!) because they require a green screen to show the results. The really cool thing is that RDi User Actions are not limited to two-character names, so you can finally give your user options/actions names that are much nicer and easier to remember!
The other new feature (B in Figure 1) is called the Quick Filter Control panel; here you can specify the filtering you want when retrieving your list. This provides a more obvious way to specify what the “Work with >” view menu options offered before. There is also a “Subset” button in that panel which will subset an existing list. Since the subset action operates locally on the current list, it can often operate much faster than adding more details to the filter, which would force a refresh of the list from the host.
Note that below the Filter/Subset section there is an option to specify a named filter. This can be used in two ways. If you already have a named filter in Remote Systems, you can key in that filter name and press the Load button to bring that list into the table. This would have the same effect as right clicking on the named filter and choosing “Show in table.” Alternatively, it allows you to name and save the filter used to create the current list. Simply press the Save button to create a new named filter in Remote Systems. I have found this to be a far easier way to create named filters. If you like using this method of integration with Remote Systems filters, you may decide to move the Quick Filter Control panel from the right side to the left side of the table so that it is physically closer to Remote Systems.
There are other options and ways to use the Object Table that I’ll leave you to explore on your own. One feature I encourage you to look at is the ability to see more/different columns of information. A quick way to see all the information available is to use the view menu (C in Figure 1) from the Object Table toolbar and choose “Show columns > All.” If you find all the information crowds the table too much, you can customize the items you want to see via Preferences (use the View menu again to get there) and then choose “Show columns > Customized.”
I like having the option column as an alternative way to interact with items in the list, particularly for user actions which always seem a little cumbersome to get to in Remote Systems. And I prefer the new Quick Filter Control panel instead of using the Work with… options. But maybe you won’t like these new features as much as I do. If that’s the case, you’ll be happy to know that you can remove the option column by using the customize columns feature described above. You’ll also find an icon in the toolbar to hide the Quick Filter Control. Then you’ll be left with your “classic” Object Table that you had before.
If you missed out on any of the first three tips in this V9.6 series, check out the related stories links below. In my next tip I’ll cover a few more features added with the V184.108.40.206 fix pack, including one that builds on this PDM affinity to help new RDi users get started more easily.