What is BOB for IBM i?

July 8, 2024

What is BOB for IBM i?

By NickLitten

July 8, 2024


BOB – is a tool to compile and recompile objects in the IBM i (AS400 iSeries) universe.

What is bob for ibm i? 1

Better Object Builder (BOB) is a free and open-source build system designed for the IBM i platform. It’s used to create native QSYS objects. Initially developed by S4i Systems, a leader in Electronic Document Management, BOB was originally created to build their own software programs. In 2021, IBM began investing in BOB, expanding its capabilities to handle pseudo-source and buildable project definitions across multiple directories. The project is now hosted on IBM’s public GitHub and actively maintained. BOB leverages GNU Make as its build engine, making it consistent with thousands of Linux and Unix software projects. Here’s what sets BOB apart:

  1. Speed: BOB only compiles objects that require recompilation due to new or changed source code.
  2. Reliability: It understands object relationships, ensuring that when an item changes, everything dependent on it is rebuilt.
  3. Industry Standard: Object dependencies are specified using standard makefile syntax.
  4. Flexibility: Customizing compile parameters and creating special object recipes is straightforward.
  5. Ease of Use: Initiating a build for an entire codebase is as simple as a single command or a button click if Rational Developer for i integration is installed

I’m stoked to start playing with BOB – if this integrates neatly with Visual Studio code and the excellent Code4i plugin this will be a game changer!

  • I believe Edmund Reinhardt from IBM did some development on this. He spoke at our local user group (Toronto Users Group for Power Systems) meeting two years ago. Here is a video I thought was good:

    YouTube on Getting started with BOB, hosted by Liam Allan with Edmund Reinhardt

    • Excellent – thankyou. I’m playing with right now…. looks really powerful and will (hopefully) replace my use of PDM and green screen for compiles. Once I figure it out and get it all working, I plan to record a couple of “how to” videos with walk throughs…

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