How IBM Improved Application Development with the Spring 2023 TRs
April 19, 2023 Alex Woodie
IBM i developers have a few exciting new features to look forward to with the latest Technology Refreshes for IBM i 7.5 and 7.4, including a new release of RDi and new RPG and COBOL functions in the compilers.
As part of the Spring 2023 announcement for IBM i 7.5 TR2 and 7.4 TR8, IBM last week unveiled a new release of Rational Developer for i (RDi), version 9.8, that brings new functionality to the Eclipse-based integrated development environment (IDE).
According to IBM’s announcement letter, RDi RPG and COBOL Tools Edition runs on
One of the new features with RDi RPG and COBOL Tools Edition version 9.8 is support for Eclipse version 4.23, which was first released by the Eclipse organization in March 2022 (the latest release is version 4.237). IBM says this version provides new base functionality and better integration with other modern application development tools, including Git, XML, Maven, and Gradle, among others.
RDi 9.8 also brings support for p2, which is Eclipse’s provisioning platform and is an alternative to IBM Installation Manager. IBM says p2 improves the provisioning experience by managing installations and updates for the developer.
“When you install software components with p2, dependencies between plug-ins are automatically resolved and the software components are automatically configured,” IBM says.
Other RDi specific features introduced with the 9.8 release include a new IBM i host connection that defaults to a secure connection; a new history view for QSYS files; and the most current versions of Access Client Solutions (ACS) and the Java Toolbox.
IBM also released a statement of general direction with this announcement. IBM says it’s planning to support RDi RPG and COBOL Tools 9.8 running on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 9 workstations. It’s also planning to support the IDE with IBM Installation Manager. No timeframe was given for either statements, which is not atypical for IBM.
RDi 9.8 is a new release, not a fix pack, which means a new install of RDi is required, IBM says. There is a new license activation kit required to be used with this release, IBM says. RDi 9.8 becomes generally available on April 28. You can read the IBM announcement letter for RDi for i RPG and COBOL Tools Edition 9.8 here.
But wait, there’s more app dev news! IBM also used the launch of IBM i 7.5 TR2 and 7.4 TR8 to update its ILE RPG and COBOL compilers, which are delivered with the Rational Development Studio for i, or RDS, product.
RPG gets the bulk of the new stuff with this release, which is par for the course. That includes an enhancement to the %SPLIT opcode that enables a special parameter, *ALLSEP, which indicates that a value should be returned for every separator.
There’s also new string built-in functions (BIFs) for %LEFT and %RIGHT that enable users to return the leftmost or rightmost characters from a string, while new BIFs, %PASSED and %OMITTED, enable users to test whether a parameter was passed.
SELECT is enhanced to allow an operand, IBM says, while new operation codes WHEN-IS and WHEN-IN specify the value to compare to or a range or list of values to compare to within the SELECT operand.
Finally, a new command parameter PPMINOUTLN for CRTBNDRPG and CRTRPGMOD is added to control the record length of the temporary file used by CRTSQLRPGI when the RPGPPOPT parameter is *LVL1 or *LVL2. This parameter is specified by using the COMPILEOPT parameter of CRTSQLRPGI, IBM says.
COBOL was also enhanced with a new COPY REPLACING statement. The REPLACE statement are enhanced with the addition of LEADING and TRAILING phrases, which enables users to replace only the leading or trailing occurrence of a character or string in a record, IBM says.
Finally, a new command parameter TGTCCSID for CRTBNDCBL and CRTCBLMOD specifies the CCSID used by the compiler to allow compiling from Unicode source in IFS, IBM says.
RPG and COBOL users alike will benefit from a new boolean attribute for indicator parameters when generating Program Call Markup Language (PCML).
You can read the IBM announcement letter for RDS with the general announcement letters for IBM i 7.5 TR2 and for 7.4 TR8.
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