On 4/30/2014 2:11 PM, John Yeung wrote:
Wow, Buck. That was quite eye-opening for me. I was the one who
originally introduced Eclipse into the conversion, but I didn't intend
it to be a red herring. I really had the notion (being limited to
SEU/PDM at my workplace) that the very least RDi would do is
"everything that C and Java programmers expect from Eclipse"
***PLUS*** further i-specific things.

Don't get me wrong, I love RDi. SEU gives me splinters. A little
history might be in order. (I can hear the groans now). Years ago, IBM
wrote a PC based editor called Code/400. In C. For OS/2. It was
midrange-aware, pretty snappy and had features similar to Brief and
SlickEdit.

When IBM... divested themselves of OS/2, they ported Code/400 to
Windows. It was still pretty good, but DLL hell and installer mayhem
and Windows 98 and NT and 2000 and XP... Anyway, IBM supported and
enhanced Code for a long time but programmer acceptance levels were very
low.

At some point, IBM management decided that developing a separate product
made no sense. In my mind's eye I can hear some bigwig: 'Why not
leverage the economies of scale and use the Enterprise-ready Eclipse
tooling that another IBM division is working on?' So they did. They
rewrote most of the functionality of Code as Eclipse plugins, and WDSC
was born.

That was the predecessor of RDi, and that's how we got here. IBM spent
a lot of effort treading water (i.e. porting existing functionality) and
that was effort not spent on delivering more advanced features.

Today, the RDi team are turning out some very nice work. They're torn,
of course, by management wanting to deliver cutting edge web tooling and
RPGers like me who want RPG refactoring. :-) Every release is better
than the last, and we're finally moving into territory that's beyond the
low bar of GUIfying the command line. In the 9.1 release we're getting
line level code coverage tooling, very nice.

I feel OK discussing philosophy here on non-tech but I think I'm pushing
it if I get into details of how RDi works. If you'd like, subscribe to
the WDSCI-L list and we can get into some detail there. One thing to
bear in mind is that there are many different flows... ways to approach
working with code. I tend to set up a separate connexion for each
project, and create unique filters for each application but I've
discovered that most other developers have a different approach. So the
problems they see, I may not. And the things that bug the living
daylights out of me, other people think are nits. (I dearly miss a
macro language and regular expression search AND REPLACE). So there are
differences between several of us on that list, but the things I've
learnt by reading how others approach a problem! Well worth it for me.

So, to close the circle, I don't think we midrangers ever had a
development environment. RDi is a far better editor than SEU [...]
But RDi is no development environment. It certainly does not
provide the RPG programmer with the same tooling that Eclipse
provides a C or Java programmer on Linux.

To me, this is kind of sad. I hope that long-time midrangers
understand that it's this kind of thing that makes outsiders or
newcomers react they way they do to IBMs pricing and technology. It's
*definitely* this kind of thing that makes it an uphill battle to
attract the best new talent to the platform.

I realise all too late that my note sounds like a cry in the dark. I
don't use RDi because it sucks the least. I use RDi because it's
genuinely made my programming (not just editing) better. That doesn't
mean I will settle for minimally acceptable: I want a development
environment that rivals those found on other platforms.

Having said that, the midrange is a different beast. I could write all
my apps in C, with EMACS and make but I'd be missing out on a lot of
very wonderful things IBM i offers that I can't get on Linux or Windows.
People coming to this platform should try to grok that, and not write
RPG as though it were C with a funny accent.

The fact that some midrangers can have this discussion is a very
positive sign for the platform in my opinion. It means that more of us
are familiar with how the other side does programming. I bet that we'll
take the best of what they have and integrate it with the best of what
we already have. We've been doing that for a long time now.
--buck

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