Remain Breaks New Ground With ALM Suite
July 15, 2019 Alex Woodie
Coding season just ended for Remain Software, the Dutch application lifecycle management (ALM) vendor with a growing US presence. That means customers are sorting through a torrent of new functionality in its flagship TD/OMS product, including improved hooks to DevOps tools like Git and Jenkins, a new cross-platform cross-reference module, and a nifty API generator too.
New stuff started emerging from Remain Software around the POWERUp conference in May, when IT Jungle sat down with company representatives to talk about development trends, current and upcoming releases of Remain’s software, and what customers are looking to get next.
Arguably the biggest trend among development shops is the ongoing shift to agile and DevOps methodologies. Organizations that employ development teams – which is still a lot of you out there in IBM i land – are eager to take advantage of new technologies and techniques for rapidly improving their software investments.
Git, Jenkins, and Jira, which emerged from the open source development community, are front and center in those efforts, said Wim Jongman, Remain’s co-managing partner and chief technology officer.
“IBM i people look at it and say, hey everybody is using it. How can we also integrate in those flows?” Jongman said via phone at COMMON‘s annual conference. “We love that kind of stuff, because we are open source guys and in love with new technology.”
But IBM i shops face real challenges integrating those open source tools into their current toolsets and workflows, Jongman said. That’s the role that Remain is filling with TD/OMS.
“If I want to manage my IBM i sources through Git, okay, then it’s probably hosted on GitHub,” he said. “But I still want to see that in my integrated change management. I still want to see that in one user interface in which I control everything.”
With the May delivery of TD/OMS V 11 Milestone 3, Remain delivered a new view that lets developers create and switch branches and analyze changes they have made to a particular Git branch. It also added a Jenkins Builds view to the Jenkins interface that lets developers define which builds they choose to trace in the GUI, according to the company.
Another feature delivered with that release was the new OpenAPI Studio, which essentially enables IBM i shops to package and deliver their software enhancements as REST APIs that adhere to OAS3 standards. The software is currently in incubation and available for download; Remain plans to charge for it when it’s fully baked.
OpenAPI Studio will simplify API creation for IBM i developers, Jongman said. “It’s all form based and it will help people to really quickly define REST APIs,” he said. “We’re also able to define REST APIs from an IBM i database. For example, if I have a customer file, and I want to expose my customer to a REST service, you right click on a table and we ask you which fields do you want to expose to this REST service? The user selects the fields and then we generate the serviced and the service definition automatically.”
Many programmers use cross-reference tools to untangle the web of causes and effects in RPG applications, and there are many good cross-reference tools already available in the market. But with last week’s delivery of TD/OMS V11.1 – the final release of the coding season for Remain – the company has delivered something more: a cross-platform cross-reference tool.
“As you start moving part of your code into these Node.js and PHP systems, what’s really important then is you don’t lose your ability to determine the impact of a specific change,” Jongman said. “Let’s say that IBM i is just one of the guys and no longer the big machine anymore. It is very important that you can do an impact analysis across your complete enterprise.”
TD/OMS V11.1 also introduced native branching to IBM i development. The company says that, by creating branches, developers can isolate development and testing efforts to only the task at hand. This allows them to push changes into production without impacting what other developers are working on.
“You’ll no longer be blocked by whatever is stuck in test or acceptance environments,” the company said. “We have also simplified some core concepts (e.g. no more follow/lead and required locking).”
This release also brings better integration with WebFOCUS, the BI tool from Information Builders, that will simplify deployments of WebFOCUS software. It also gets improved support for GeneXus, the popular low-code development environment from the Uruguayan company of the same name (formerly Artech). Finally, this release also brings support for floating licenses, which allow customers to avoid using named licenses.
Business has been swift for Remain Software over the past year, according to Laura Hamway, who joined the company last year and oversees its Virginia Beach, Virginia office. Hamway says sales are up 50 percent over the past year, which can largely be attributed to the U.S. expansion.
“We’ve been doing really well,” she said. “It’s been great having more presence over here.”
For more information, see the company’s website at remainsoftware.com.