SEU vs. RDi – what are the advantages?

IBM i

Aug 05

In the 1980’s and 1990’S the source code editor was a text based green screen tool (PDM/SEU) which is still in use at AHP today. This text based editor does not syntax check any of the new programming languages nor does it allow more than 20 lines of source code to be displayed at any time. In the late 1990’s SEU was replaced by the new generation of Windows based program code editors. The early version of the code editor was the Websphere Developer Studio (WDSc) and was re-branded Rational Developer for IBM i (RDi) a few years later.

The short answer to “why use RDi” can be summarized as:

  • Improve developer productivity
  • Common development tools platform
  • Improve developers skills

Rational Developer for i is intended for IBM i application programmers or analysts who want to start using modern, more productive development tools. It is the industry standard alternative to the text-based user interface PDM/SEU toolset, providing easier ways to perform everyday tasks. In addition to all PDM functionality, the RSE also includes a number of enhancements that are not available in PDM/SEU:

  • A tightly integrated edit, verify, compile, and debug environment. For example, you can make changes in the editor and verify that there are no syntax or semantic errors. Once you’re ready, launch compiles directly from the editor and the error list view is automatically updated with compilation errors. You can double-click errors to position the cursor to the corresponding line in the editor and, from there, you can even set a line breakpoint that is used when debugging
  • An outline view that shows a high-level overview of RPG, COBOL, and DDS source members. In ILE RPG, you can see which lines read and update a field or record. Rational Developer for i Page 5 Highlights The Rational Developer for i development team ran a limited enrollment tool adoption project for new customers to better understand the challenges when migrating to a new toolset
  • Open language-sensitive help (F1) from the editor window in a fully integrated help system
  • Program verifiers that perform exactly the same syntax and semantic checks as the DDS, COBOL, and RPG compilers but locally on the desktop. This ensures that your source will compile cleanly, offloading cycles from the IBM i operating system and allowing disconnected development
  • Full-screen source editor with color tokenizing, which makes it easier to see which lines are comments and which parts are OPCODES, fields, etc.
  • The flexibility to edit multiple members easily at once, side-by-side, or to open multiple, editable views on the same source member
  • A single workbench view that lets you access libraries, objects, members, jobs, and IFS files and run CL commands
  • A single debugger that can handle C, C++, RPG, COBOL, and CL and supports debugging of multiple jobs on multiple systems
  • Customization of IBM i connections based on development projects. Each connection can have its own library list settings, compilation commands, user-defined actions, and filters. Set this up once and share these configurations with the rest of your team
  • Configuration of workbench layout and editor preferences (colors, tab stops, etc.) to fit individual development styles
  • A foundation for moving to Web development, XML, Web services, and mixing Java and RPG / COBOL

Once an RPG developer uses RDi, speed of programming and speed of problem resolution drastically increases. Quality of Code is drastically increased. Not to mention the fact that the programmer will find him/herself being naturally draw into the world of modern programming, naturally embracing new coding techniques and improvements. I am not a lone voice in the darkness, here are recent web articles and blogs from industry pundits (non-IBMers) that deal with the same issue.

A hard dollars and sense ROI calculation for IBM’s RDi – Charlie Guarino

How much is too Much for RDi – Jon Paris

More on RDi’s value equation – Susan Gantner

To plug in your own numbers and assumption use this ROI Calculator

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About the Author

IBM i Software Developer, Digital Dad, AS400 Anarchist, RPG Modernizer, Alpha Nerd and Passionate Eater of Cheese and Biscuits. Nick Litten Dot Com is a mixture of blog posts that can be sometimes serious, frequently playful and probably down-right pointless all in the space of a day. Enjoy your stay, feel free to comment and in the words of the most interesting man in the world: Stay thirsty my friend.