Guru: RDi V9.6, Part 6 – The New Object Table Gets Even Better
January 20, 2020 Susan Gantner
RDi V9.6 seems to be the gift that keeps on giving. I started this series about this release of RDi almost two years ago. You may have thought my last (fifth) tip in the series was the last on this subject, but it turns out there’s still more!
I wrote an entire tip earlier on the new and greatly improved Object Table view. In a related tip, when discussing the PDM perspective, I said that I thought there were a few enhancements still needed to make the perspective a good tool for easing the transition from PDM for RDi neophytes. Many of those were addressed in the last two point releases for V9.6.
The Object Table can now be much more easily navigated using the keyboard. The keyboard arrow keys (but not the tab key) can be used to navigate and give focus to cells in a table. Pressing the space bar will put editable cells into edit mode. So, for example, you can arrow over to the name, type or text of a member, press the space bar and key new details directly into the table cell. Of course, you can still use option 7 to rename, but this new “direct edit” feature is really nice!
With PDM we’ve had the option to automatically repeat an option through the remainder of a list using F13. The new Object Table can now repeat an option in the same way using the keyboard shortcut Alt+F1 (or option+F1 on Mac). You can also right click and choose Repeat File Option.
As with PDM, after repeating an option, it will also allow you to repeat a blank option to the end to allow processing a group of items in the middle of a list. Remember that you can sort the list in ascending or descending sequence by any of the columns. So, for example, if you want to copy several members that were all updated recently, simply sort on the Last modified column so they appear in the list together regardless of name. It’s also worth a reminder here about the Subset button in the Filter/Subset dialog on the left side of the table to quickly create a subset of an existing list—for example by entering some portion of the name or text for an item—similar to the F17 option in PDM. This could help create a subset of your existing list to make it quicker to process an option against a portion of the list. This subset options works against the current list without going back to the host, so it’s often faster than using the Filter button, which retrieves the list each time you hit Apply.
Figure 1 below shows an example of using a few of these new features.
Of all these latest improvements to Object Table, my personal favorite is the streamlined copy to feature using option 3. I often need to copy multiple source members to another (or sometimes the same) source file or library. I found that using the Copy option in Remote Systems was slow and cumbersome. For one thing, it required using two options – Copy after selecting multiple members followed by Paste after locating the target source file. Then it prompted the Copy Source File (CPYSRCF) command individually for every single member being copied (after asking for a new name if copying to the same member). Granted, I only need to press Enter on each prompt (after waiting for the prompt to appear, which can be sluggish on a less than speedy network connection.) But if I’m copying several members, that is still pretty cumbersome. That’s especially true when compared with putting PDM option 3 next to some members and getting a single dialog prompt where I can specify the destination (or new names) once. I press Enter and it’s all done.
In a huge step toward PDM affinity, option 3 in the new Object Table now works much more like it did in PDM. I now get a single dialog where I can specify the destination library and/or source file and/or I can change the names of the members and press OK (or Enter) and I’m done. Much nicer!
One warning about this streamlined option 3 for copying groups of members: The dialog that comes up assumes you want to copy the members you just selected to the same destination (source file and library) that you specified on the previous copy action you did (which may have been weeks before.) That saves some typing for occasions when that is what you want. However, it can be very confusing if you’re expecting it to behave the way PDM did (defaulting to the source file and library where the members came from). Just pressing Enter after changing the member names could end up copying the source to a completely different place to what you were expecting. Take it from someone who has done that a few times already. Be sure to note and change (if necessary) the destination at the top of the dialog each time you use option 3! Figure 2 below shows the resulting dialog for copying the members as shown in Figure 1. Note that the destination library and source file don’t match the location of the selected members.
Admittedly, with PDM, the members could only come from one source file and library, whereas members in an Object Table list could potentially come from many different places. So it wouldn’t always be possible to use the original location as the destination.
I suspect some of you reading this may be thinking “why doesn’t she just use the Copy Member(s) to … option?” It also works much like PDM, creating a single dialog where I can specify the destination and/or new member names. Its default destinations are much closer to what PDM does. And it works the same way from both Remote Systems and Object Table. The truth is that I personally do use Copy Member(s) to … most of the time. However, that option is not part of the base RDi package – it comes from the iSphere plug-in.
Although I prefer the behavior of the iSphere Copy Member(s) to … feature most of the time, I encourage you to try both options and choose for yourself. I have found at least one advantage to the new option 3 feature in the Object Table: it automatically refreshes the list of members after doing the copies.
If you don’t have the iSphere plug-in installed, I recommend that you give it a look. I’m an iSphere fan; there are many features of it that I use every day. I’ve written tips about it before. See the links in Related Stories below to learn more about it.
I have one more tip coming soon where we’ll look at a few more features added to RDi in V9.6, including a quick way to temporarily increase the font size in the editor, a “where am I?” indicator and new refactoring function.
Susan Gantner, an IBM Champion and co-author of the popular Redbook, Who Knew You Could Do That with RPG IV, is one of the top speakers/writers/trainers on IBM i development topics. She is a partner at Partner400 and System i Developer, and she hosts the RPG & DB2 Summit twice per year with partners Jon Paris and Paul Tuohy.