Remain Hooks TD/OMS Into Azure DevOps
September 28, 2022 Alex Woodie
Remain Software’s change management suite for IBM i, TD/OMS, will soon gain support for Microsoft Azure DevOps, providing another code repository for IBM i shops. The Dutch company has a host of other enhancements for various DevOps products — including a new analytics dashboard for KPIs, enhancements to Octo, and new features for its API product — that it’s looking to deliver with next week’s release of Milestone 1. This company is also working on developing an alternative to IBM’s Merlin.
Remain delivers updates to its various IBM i DevOps products on a regular cadence that starts in early summer, just after the previous major release is delivered. For the 2022-2023 coding season, which will culminate with the delivery of TD/OMS version 15 next June, the first milestone for is slated for October 5, and the second milestone for February 18. There may be a third milestone before the run is done, and TD/OMS v15 gets out the door.
Among the features that Remain is aiming to get into TD/OMS version 15 is support for Microsoft Azure DevOps, which will give TD/OMS full coverage of all the major source code repositories, says Wim Jongman, the managing director of Remain Software.
Remain doesn’t anticipate huge demand for using Azure DevOps to store IBM i source code in its installed base. However, there are TD/OMS customers that may use Azure DevOps to store source code for certain application components, such a Web or desktop front-end to an IBM i database-driven application. These customers desired Azure DevOps support in TD/OMS to enable a fully integrated experience, from ticketing all the way into downstream delivery of the application, Jongman says.
While Microsoft owns GitHub, Azure DevOps doesn’t share many similarities with it. In fact, it’s a completely different product, with many more enterprise features than the popular open source repository that it acquired in 2018 for $7.5 billion, according to Jongman.
“You have tons of options and structures where you can have organizations and sub-organizations, and you can detach the ticketing from the repositories, so it’s very complete, but also complicated,” Jongman says. “It took a little longer [to support] because it was a bit more complex.”
Milestone 1 will also feature new MyWorkspace analytics dashboards for TD/OMS that gives developers and their manager a quick view into KPIs, or what Jongman dubs critical performance indicators.
For example, one KPI displays the number of projects a developer is currently working on, which will be handy for managers in organizations that have a policy that says developers should not work be working on too many projects at one time.
“So if a developer is working on more tasks than five, then we say, OK we need to have to talk to these people because they can’t focus,” the Remain Software owner says. “They’re a little bit scatterbrained.”
The dashboard features other pre-canned KPIs, such as development projects that are missing source files or failed source code transfers. Users can also create their own KPIs using basic SQL to query the TD/OMS database, Jongman says.
The MyWorkspace dashboard is created using Octo, which is Remain’s strategic Web application framework. Originally unveiled earlier this year with Milestone 2 of the TD/OMS version 14 release cycle, Octo will be a vehicle for many Remain projects in the coming years.
MyWorkspace will also allow users to view Kanban tasks, which were also previously unveiled. The Kanban system will help busy developers stay on task, and even help them execute DevOps tasks, Jongman says.
“So you can see, OK what is still to do, what is in development, what is in test?” he says. “Then you can just drag your components from dev into test like that to deploy. It’s to make life a little bit easier for the people who actually have to do the deployments, or for manner who want to take a look a what’s going on in their environment but not from an RDi or green screen point of view, but from this very nice screen.”
Octo itself is based on the “perspectives” functionality in Eclipse, says Jongman. Eventually, Remain hopes to use Octo to deliver 50 to 60 “mini apps” for TD/OMS, he says. The apps will be able to answer questions like “What are my open tests? What are my components? What is my impact analysis? Where are my spool files? All of these little things and you want to organize that in a specific way so that you can organize it the way you want to.”
Milestone 1 will also see Remain bolstering its TD/OMS integration with X-Analysis, the IBM i cross reference tool from Fresche Solutions. According to Jongman, the integration now allows X-Analysis to see into the external code repositories and index the code to track potential impacts down the line.
“The world obviously does not stop with everything that hooks into this file on the IBM i, so what we want to also show is what other sources do you have and where do you have them, a Git repository on GitLab or GitHub or somewhere else,” Jongman says. “Maybe you have some database scripting on the Linux server or on a Windows or a Mac.”
Remain already support cross-reference indexes via X-Analysis with TD/OMNS. “But now we have included it at the fingertips of developers,” Jongman says.
Milestone 1 also features full integration with SonarQube, an open source static analysis tool. SonarQube is widely used in the Java world, Jongman says. But the SonarQube company also offers an RPG plug-in, which provides access to RPG code.
SonarQube is handy for telling you certain things about your code, according to Jongman, such as that your RPG subroutines or procedures are 100 lines, when they’re only supposed to be 50, or that you are violating some naming convention for data structures.
Remain had previously announced SonarQube integration. The support has been solidified for this release, according to Jongman.
Last but not least, the company has bolstered its API development tool, called Remain API Studio. The product already supported the capability to generate RPG Free-based Web services that use REST and comply with the OpenAPI standard (previously called Swagger).
With this milestone, the company is rolling out session support, which will give users more detailed information about how the product is being used, as well as support for Java Web Tokens (JWT).
“You can now say, OK, how many calls did I have for this request?” Jongman says. “If you’re opening up your REST service, you want to know who’s using it, so you can give them an user ID or an API token or whatnot, and then that API token will be logged for the session and you can see how many calls were made, how well these calls performed, and then you can send bills or do other analytics on that front.”
Lastly, the company has added support for JWTs, which is a lightweight, encrypted way of popular authentication to Web services.