Guru: RDi 9.6, Part 12 – New Features Targeting New RDi Users
December 6, 2021 Susan Gantner
In my previous tip about the latest release (184.108.40.206) of RDi, I promised to cover new features targeting easing the transition from PDM/SEU for new RDi users. If you’re an experienced RDi user, don’t tune out yet — you may find something of interest, too.
I’ll discuss most of these features in the context of the PDM perspective. This is the perspective designed specifically to ease the transition to RDi. It was introduced originally back in 220.127.116.11 and I covered a little about it in a tip back then. While it was created to target new users, it seems that many experienced RDi users also prefer the simplified interface. Personally, I still use the traditional Remote System Explorer perspective, but I admit that it may be more out of habit than having given the PDM perspective a chance to win me over.
I am, however, a huge fan of the enhanced Object Table view that was introduced at the same time. I use that in my RSE perspective every day. I’ve written before on what I love about the Object Table and its more recent enhancements. I’ll refrain from further gushing here about how great it is, except to say that even if you don’t like the idea of the PDM perspective, give the enhanced Object Table a try in RSE (Window > Show view > Object Table). You may be surprised at how useful it can be.
PDM Perspective Is Now The Default
Beginning with 18.104.22.168, when you create a new workspace, it will default to the PDM perspective initially. Prior to this release, RSE was the default. Is that a big deal to those who don’t want to use PDM perspective? Not at all. Just switch perspective once RDi starts (and close PDM if you have no plans to use it) and it will remember that. There’s even a link to open RSE on the initial “New IBM i Connection” tab in the editor for new workspaces. Figure 1 below illustrates that.
New IBM i Connection Dialog
In Figure 1, you can see how the new dialog makes it easier to configure a basic connection to IBM i. This appears automatically in the editor for a newly created workspace. It is also available from any perspective from the new Connections pull down menu in RDi.
Only the basic connection info is required: host name, user ID and password. Note the link to create a connection with advanced properties to get the full capability available when creating new connections using the Remote Systems view, including the ability to specify a nicer/different name for the connection than the host name.
You can also enter the name and library of a source file that you want to work with. If you specify a source file, it will automatically populate your Object Table with the members in that file, similar to WRKMBRPDM or Work with Members from a PDM menu. Figure 2 shows the resulting PDM perspective after connecting via the dialog above. Note that the extra space taken up in Object Table by the command entry dialog can be hidden by pressing the blue arrow highlighted in the figure.
Note that the absence of the Remote Systems view is one of the primary differences between the PDM and RSE perspectives. Once here, the idea is that developers will interact with the Object Table. For example, to open one of the members shown, they can use option 2 for edit or 5 for browse or they can double click on the name, which opens it for edit by default. Not all of the familiar PDM options work from the Object Table, but many do. You can tell which will work by right clicking on an item in the list and looking at the list of available PDM options.
Of course, the contents of the object table can be changed by modifying the selections in the Filter tab shown to the left of the table, including, as you may expect, changing from a member list to list of objects or libraries.
To subset a list of currently shown items in a table, use the Subset tab next to the Filter tab. Since none of this is new for 22.214.171.124, feel free to review some of my earlier tips about Object Table for more ways to use it.
Editing, Compiling and Library List in PDM Perspective
Options conspicuously absent from the list of PDM options to use in Object Table are 14 and 15 to compile. This really isn’t a problem, as there are lots of other options for compiling a source member. There are Compile and Compile (Prompt) options from the context menu in the table. Or — to compile a member open in the editor — use the Compile menu options or the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Shift+C. Figure 3 shows the view with source code opened for edit, including the Compile menu which didn’t exist in Figure 2 since no code was open.
Figure 3 also shows the Library List view — used in place of the Library List filter in RSE. It appears in the same area as the Outline in PDM perspective. Again, this is not new for 126.96.36.199 but it wasn’t open by default in the RSE perspective so I decided to remind RSE users of this feature that I covered in a tip about 188.8.131.52 enhancements.
Everybody (?) Needs A Green Screen Sometimes
One more thing to make the transition to RDi smoother is an easy way to open a green screen emulation session. Hopefully no one will consider using this as a way to edit code with SEU inside RDi! But in my experience, RDi developers do need to use green screens for various other things. So this is an easy way for new RDi users to do that —and have the emulation screen integrated into the RDi workbench.
This is the same emulator that those using the RSE perspective could use by right clicking on Objects (or the connection name) in Remote Systems and choosing Host Connection Emulator (not Launch 5250 emulator, which launches ACS). Of course, since there is no Remote Systems view here, there has to be a new way. There’s a new icon that appears both in Object Table and in Library List (Figure 4 shows it in Library List). Hover over it to see “Open Host Connection Emulator.” Click on it to have an emulation session start up inside the RDi editor window.
This option doesn’t appear in the Mac version of RDi — nor does the Remote Systems option mentioned above —because of the software that provides this feature.
Check Out New Videos!
Steve Ferrell from HelpSystems has created a short video showing how a new RDi user might get started using some of these new features. Another of Steve’s videos illustrate using the Library List view to change the library list — for an individual session and also how to modify your default library list for future sessions. And you can find lots of other useful short videos, including a play list called “Your PDM can NOT do that!”. I encourage you to explore and consider subscribing to Steve’s RDi videos.
RDi keeps getting more and more new features. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next!