Remain Hooks Change Management System Into GitLab
November 13, 2019 Alex Woodie
IBM i shops that manage their code using Remain Software’s change management software just gained a slew of new ways to hook their system into GitLab, an independent Git-based provider of DevOps solutions. The new software, TD/OMS V12 Milestone 1, also brings better integration with unit testing and cross referencing, while a new release of Remain’s Gravity bolsters management of cross-platform development projects.
With a steady cadence of quarterly updates and one big release per year, Remain Software is endearing itself to IBM i developers who like predictability and perseverance. IBM i technology may not be moving incredibly fast at the moment, but the wider IT world is, and Remain is showing it’s investing to keep its customers on the cutting edge.
In terms of cutting edge, support for the Git version control system has been around on the IBM i server for a while now. There are many third-party repositories based on open source Git technology that have popped up on the Web, with GitHub – snapped up by Microsoft in 2018 for a staggering $7.5 billion — being the biggest and most popular.
In the wake of that massive acquisition, another firm called GitLab is emerging to take the reigns as the biggest independent Git-based repository. The 9-year-old San Francisco company has its eyes set on providing software development teams with a whole spectrum of DevOps functionality atop the basic version management system provided by Git, including wiki, issue-tracking and CI/CD pipeline features.
GitLab, which moved operations from Microsoft Azure to Google Cloud in 2018, is used by teams working from tier-one firms like IBM and Sony. It has attracted $368 million in venture capital over the past 14 months, and is currently valued at $2.7 billion.
With TD/OMS V12 Milestone 1, Remain Software is giving IBM i users a reason to use GitLab. Among the 40 new features in the new release of the IBM i change management suite are a host of new integration points with GitLab, including support for uploading IBM i and IFS sources; workflow integration; ticket integration; and merge-request integration. The features are accessible via Remain’s plug-in for Rational Developer for i (RDi).
“Gitlab is a popular code repository because it can easily be installed on-site,” says Wim Jongman, CTO and co-managing partner of Remain Software. “With the Gitlab support you are able to bidirectional link GitLab issues [both on and off premise] with TD/OMS tasks. Tasks can be used to create Git branches and TD/OMS can automatically create a GitLab pull request when developers push code to the main repo.”
Remain has also added unit testing capability into the new version of TD/OMS. Users can now run checks on pieces of code directly from the TD/OMS GUI. The software also is integrated with RPGUnit and iRPGUnit, two open source unit test facilities, Remain says.
“Unit testing is a very important step in the development cycle,” the company says. “We all know that sometimes changes have a negative impact on a requirement previously coded, and utilizing automated scripts and setting up unit testing helps ensure that all scenarios are tested, not only those that pertain to the current change.”
TD/OMS’s cross reference (Xref) capacities was also bolstered with this release. For starters, the Xref module is now integrated with TD/OMS and can be accessed directly from the TD/OMS menu, the component view, or the LPEX editor, Remain says. Users can also now initiate an Xref search by simply positioning the cursor on a word or a group of words, according to Remain. The company has also connected Xref IBM i and IFS search results with a task, making it even easier to navigate the software.
Pinpointing how IBM i code interacts with code from other platforms isn’t easy, but it’s made easier with TD/OMS, according to Jongman. “The cross reference enables companies to index all source code across all platforms into one big index,” he tells IT Jungle. “By doing so, the user is able to efficiently find references of outside code to the IBM i. It is all accessible within the RDi GUI.”
Meanwhile, Remain has also bolstered Gravity, its cross-platform project and workflow management tool that’s designed to help development teams manage multiple projects and processes. With Gravity V5 Milestone 1, Remain has delivered about 30 new features, which focus largely on giving customers more control over user interface configuration.
To that end, the Gravity UI now makes it easy for a user to know exactly how many links (such as attachments or comments) are associated with an item being tracked by the software. The company has also made it easier to copy links, and to specific exactly how to open it via a new dropdown menu.
Gravity isn’t yet perfect, but Remain felt comfortable enough letting users remove the “Report a Gravity Bug” link from the bottom of the screen, giving users more real estate to configure themselves. The Netherlands-based company is also letting users configure the main menu to their liking.
Logging into Gravity should be improved thanks to new administrator options, while new LDAP support lets admins add users automatically if they’re a member of an LDAP group. New Xref group settings give users more control over the behavior of this feature, while a new “exact match” search will enhance Xref search results limited by certain special characters in the text being searched, Remain says.
This was the first new release from Remain since it delivered TD/OMS V 11 Milestone 3 in May. Now the company turns to delivering three additional Milestone releases over the coming months. “Our main focus always is programmer productivity,” said Jongman, who indicated probable subtopics will include integration with DevOps tooling, including Jenkins, GitHub, and GitLab.
For more info, see www.remainsoftware.com.