ILEditor 2 Gives IBM i Shops A New Development Option
May 6, 2020 Alex Woodie
Liam Allan recently unveiled ILEditor 2, a new integrated development environment (IDE) for IBM i. The new IDE sports a fresher look and better performance compared to the first version of ILEditor, as well as an extensible plug-in system, which should also deliver better code coverage.
For many years, members of the IBM i community have expressed frustration by the high price, size, and performance of Rational Developer for i (RDi), which is IBM’s flagship development tool for the IBM i community. While the IDE’s performance has improved in recent years, members of the community still bemoan the lack of a less expensive and lighter weight version of RDi. The number of IBM i shops using SEU and PDM, they say, would decline if there was a better, cheaper option than RDi.
As a young developer active in the IBM i community, Allan has certainly been part of this conversation. He responded to the need by creating ILEditor, a lightweight, Windows-based IDE that provided basic development capabilities for ILE languages on IBM i.
ILEditor, which was originally called Idle, was released in 2017. The free software provided features like syntax highlighting, the capability to browse source member, inline error handling, and some basic free-format conversion for RPG. It sported a relatively simple UI, but it was dependent on Microsoft’s .NET framework, which prevented the software from running on non-Windows platforms.
With ILEditor 2, Allan has taken the product in a new direction. For starters, it’s no longer confined to Windows and can now run on other platforms, which Allan says was a very important design point.
A quick look at a screenshot of ILEditor 2 shows a much improved UI, with a clean, modern look that will entice users into spending hours with their code. There’s even a “dark mode,” for developers who are into that.
According to Works of Barry, ILEditor 2 continuously compiles code as the developer writes it. “It doesn’t even take one click to compile your applications and see error listings,” it says on the ILE Editor website.
Like the first version, ILEditor 2 features integrated browsers for browsing source files, either in IBM i libraries or the IFS. It offers inline compiling and syntax highlighting, which works with ILE languages like RPG, COBOL, CL, C, and C++, as well as open source languages that work through PASE, like Python, PHP, and NodeJS.
The performance of the new IDE is significantly better than the first one, Allan tells IT Jungle. Another big change is that the connection to the IBM i server is handled over SSH instead of FTP, which Allan says was a welcome change.
ILEditor 2 also has some features that are only available on more expensive IBM i IDEs, like RDi, Allan says. For example, ILEditor 2’s code-coverage support should give users a better idea of the errors in their code. The software also offers features like “Go to Definition” and the capability to see all references at a glance.
But the biggest new feature may be the integrated plug-in system. According to Allan, the plug-in system allows customers to develop their own ILEditor 2 plug-ins or bring in outside extensions, which will allow customers to significantly expand their use of ILEditor 2.
ILEditor 2 ships with a plug-in that connects their IBM i server to Git, thereby allowing customers to track their work in an integrated manner. “We want developers to live in the future,” the company says on its site.
Interested parties can download ILEditor 2 from the company website at ileditor.dev. The company is currently charging £24.99 per license per month, which is about $31.