SoftLanding Adds Support for Source Stream Files
February 3, 2021 Alex Woodie
IBM i shops developing in a mix of open source and native languages can now manage all of their development projects together in a new release of SoftLanding Systems’ TURNOVER software. The big change that enables that open source support is how SoftLanding adapted its change management software to support stream files on the IFS. The company also took the opportunity to add a new Web interface and rebrand its entire TURNOVER suite of products.
First, let’s clear up the name changes. TURNOVER Lifecycle Manager is the new name of the change management software that used to go by TURNOVER for iSeries. In addition to the flagship application lifecycle management (ALM) product getting a new name, SoftLanding Systems, which is the New Hampshire-based subsidiary of UNICOM Global, also took the opportunity to change the name of several related products, including special versions of the ALM tool for working with fourth-generation languages, including LANSA, CA 2E, and ProGen Plus, as well the special version for SVN and the TURNOVER Data Manger product.
But the big news here is that TURNOVER software running on IBM i is now capable of managing the stream files and associated workflows that involve the IFS alongside traditional ILE languages that compile source code and store it in QSYS.
While the TURNOVER software has supported data and files residing in the IFS for many years, and also supported Java and open source development with its TURNOVER for SVN offering, the addition of stream file support in a single product that also supports traditional QSYS development was no small undertaking, says SoftLanding Operations Manager Jim Fisher.
“The significance of this release is its support for IBM i-specific source stream files,” he continues. “Not only are you developing your source directly on the IFS (with RPG, COBOL, C, CL, etc.) stream files, but, in addition, you are then compiling from the IFS to create native objects that reside in QSYS.”
With the update to TURNOVER Lifecycle Manager, source stream files are now supported in the same manner that native QSYS source has been managed. That means that users can follow a familiar lifecycle process to manage their stream file source code, Fisher says.
“This should come as welcome news as it will deliver consistent management of changes, mitigating risk that would otherwise exist without an ALM solution providing these capabilities,” he says. “It also ensures that source code access is permitted/restricted in a familiar way and, of equal importance, changes are tracked in the same way to ensure audit compliance. SoftLanding customers love TURNOVER’s auditing capabilities as it really hits the mark with auditors and therefore makes annual reviews a relatively painless experience.”
While native development isn’t going away, IBM i shops increasingly are looking to open source technologies like Python, PHP, and Node.js, as well as Web technologies like HTML, to bring new developers and applications to the IBM i server. By enabling these organizations to save the IBM i-specific stream files generated by these environments in a single, environment, it will cut down on the opportunities for work to fall between the cracks.
“TURNOVER already provides great workflow capabilities for native source and objects, both through its native 5250 interface and Eclipse plug-ins which, as you hopefully know, were the first to market in the IBM i application lifecycle management space,” Fisher says. “We’ve built upon these strengths to ensure that source stream file developments for their RPG, COBOL, C, etc., can be managed with an easy and familiar approach. Naturally, the experience is superior through Eclipse, however, there’s also good levels of support for managing source stream files through the 5250 interface as well.”
The support for stream files will not only bolster how younger developers interact with IBM i, but it will also position SoftLanding to provide more integration among platforms in the future.
“Coding in source stream files will undoubtedly hold appeal for next-gen developers as it will feel like a more natural fit for them,” Fisher says. “On a wider, organizational level it also provides the opportunity to align source code management across other platforms. That means that, as well as improving the user experience right now, this release paves the way for other new developments that will enable a more connected IT ecosystem going forward. We will be announcing more about that over the coming months.”
The company also rolled out a new Web-based GUI that will complement its existing interfaces, including Eclipse plug-ins, the 5250 screens, as well as its first-generation Web interfaces. According to Fisher, the new GUI is designed to provide high-level insights, while giving them the capability to drill down into more detail as necessary.
“Previously the Web interface gave those responsible for managing software releases a convenient way of reviewing and approving software changes while on the move,” Fisher says. “The new release extends those capabilities to being able to run and, if something goes wrong, recover software changes from the palm of your hand, which is something that many customers are keen to see.”
For more information, see the company’s website at www.softlanding.com.