IBM i Startup Tackles “Awkward” Git Integration
September 30, 2019 Alex Woodie
If you have ever felt that working with Git on the IBM i platform was a little awkward and could be refined to fit your native IBM i development experience on RDi or SEU just a bit better, then you might be interested in learning about a new utility called iForGit that was recently released by IBM midrange veteran Richard Schoen and his new startup, MobiGoGo.
Git came to the IBM i three years ago, and there’s no denying that it has been a hit. Since Linux developer Linus Torvalds released it nearly a decade-and-a-half ago, the open source software has become the de facto standard way that the mainstream IT development world tracks and stores source code.
For all its promise for IBM i developers, integration with the platform has left something to be desired. That’s according to Schoen, a longtime IBM i developer who recently left HelpSystems and founded MobiGoGo, where he developed iForGit.
Schoen says that iForGit “solves the problem of awkward IBM i Git source management” by providing a native IBM i command interface that allows Git to be integrated into Source Edit Utility (SEU) and Program Development Manager (PDM) workflows, as well as work with the more modern Rational Developer for i (RDi) environment.
iForGit works with traditional IBM i source file members as well as IFS-based source members, and enables developers to instantly connect them to a Git repository for version control. The software’s commands also work with SSH terminal sessions, which allows it to integrate with VS Code for integration from editors such as Visual Studio Code, the free source code editor from Microsoft, and other environments.
iForGit can provide value for IBM i shops that already have a version control system in place, as well as those that don’t, according to MobiGoGo. It’s all about leveraging the power of Git to simplify development tasks, wherever you currently sit on the development curve.
“The main purpose of iForGit is to allow any IBM i shop to immediately simplify the IBM i source edit, commit, and change review process and quickly add Git version control for compliance if the business has no source management in place,” Schoen says. The process of source control can be made 100 percent transparent for SEU/PDM developers, “so they don’t have to remember to commit a source version,” he adds.
For those companies that already have a version control system, iForGit can be easily slipped into the development flow and start providing value in just a matter of minutes, Schoen continues.
“IBM i source can continue to stay in source files for as long as desired, so there’s not a ‘big bang’ learning curve or requirement to move all source to Git right away,” he continues. “Companies can start out by using Git more as a source member versioning and backup system that tracks changes and gets developers out of the source member copy business.”
iForGit brings some key advantages that make it a compelling alternative to other version control systems, Schoen says. For example, customers have the choice of using IFS directory storage on the IBM i server, or they can use one of the many online or self-hosted Git repositories, such as GitHub (owned by Microsoft), Gitlab, Bonobo Git Server (for Windows), or Bitbucket. Many of these services bring an array of additional tools for things like ticketing, project management, continuous integration, and other custom source management workflows, which sweetens the pot even more.
Customers that want a more complete source management and automated build processes, iForGit commands can be used in conjunction with open source and commercial IBM i enterprise source and project management toolsets, Schoen says.
Schoen launched MobiGoGo earlier this year to provide an avenue for bringing software and services to market. In addition to IBM i, Schoen is well versed in the .NET world, and also develops software for Web and mobile delivery, not to mention Macs and the Cloud. Schoen was the founder of RJS Software Systems, a developer of document management and forms software for IBM i and Windows, which he sold to HelpSystems back in 2014. Schoen was the director of document management for HelpSystems following the acquisition.