Rational Team Concert for Power now caters to RPG developers, according to IBM.
IBM announced upgrades to both RDi and Rational Team Concert last month, giving developers on the IBM i platform more choices and making it just a little easier for them to be a part of the larger enterprise application development environment, according to IBM. They will also have to get used to a new name for their development tool.
The new tools could help bridge divisions between the IBM i world and the other application development teams in a mixed-platform enterprise, according to Charles Chu, director of enterprise modernization for IBM Rational Software.
"I think it's very difficult to be integrated in with the rest of the enterprise and the rest of the development environment if you're using a unique tool just for you that no one else uses," says Chu. "If you're using a source-code management tool that no one else uses and no one can see what you do, you effectively create a barrier for yourself," he says.
RDi, which provides development tools for RPG and COBOL on IBM i, will now be called IBM Rational Developer for Power Systems Software V7.5 (see Joe Pluta's article "We Finally Have a Green-Screen Development Tool!" for details about the specific enhancements to this product). It's part of a family of development tools from Rational that includes the following, in addition to IBM Rational Developer for Power Systems Software:
- IBM Rational Application Developer for WebSphere Software, which provides Java and Java Enterprise Edition tools
- IBM Rational Business Developer (no name change), which provides EGL development tools
- IBM Rational Application Developer, which provides tools for Web, Web Services, and SOA designers and developers as does IBM Rational Business Developer
- IBM Rational Team Concert for Power, which provides application lifecycle management for Power Systems development
Enhancements to Rational Developer for Power Systems, which Pluta is cleverly calling RDPi, includes visual editing of DDS display and printer file source code, among other changes:
- Integrated error feedback for compiling source with embedded SQL statements
- Improved debug support for attaching to dynamic jobs
- Integration with IBM Rational Team Concert for Power V2.0
- Ability to store non-source-based objects in an i project, transfer them between the project and target library, and version them inside Team Concert
Only just renamed in 2008 from WDSc, IBM Rational Developer for Power Systems Software has a number of feature sets that can be purchased individually. The IBM Rational RPG and COBOL Development Tools for i is a feature of the larger product that replaces RDi as IBM's top software development environment for IBM i native application development. RDi users with current maintenance can obtain the new features at no charge. See the IBM announcement.
Chu said that Rational has updated its compilers to take advantage of the new POWER7 chip architecture "so the value is that our IBM i installed base can also enjoy the benefits of the new hardware." Chu also said the company has released the pieces for RPG and COBOL development and has issued a statement of direction for COBOL and C/C++ development features on AIX.
According to Chu, IBM Rational has segmented the tools by market "where appropriate," and there is different pricing to address the different market segments. For a customer that wants RPG-only capabilities, there is one price, which, he claimed, would be competitive with the market price for development tools on that platform. If the user wants a different platform feature set, say for Java, it will be a different price, also market-based. "When we have C/C++, it will be priced appropriately relative to C/C++ IDE providers," Chu said. Users in one forum speculated pricing for the RPG feature could be above $1,500, but a page on the IBM Web site reported it as $860 for a user license.
Chu's comments about integrating orphan developers into the larger application development environment were focused around what IBM Rational Team Concert can do for an individual developer as well as for an organization as a whole. There are different editions of Rational Team Concert, one of which is even free (Rational Team Concert Express-C is free for 10 developers). Rational Team Concert for Power Systems Software, built on the new open Jazz platform, now runs natively on IBM i, Chu said, and it has been upgraded to accommodate the unique ways that RPG developers process code. "There are certain processes and expectations of a traditional RPG developer for how one does application development—check in, check out—that are unique to IBM i, so we've baked in those processes and that set of functionality into Rational Team Concert for Power in this release," said Chu. "Just as you can imagine, the C and C++ folks have a certain way of doing things, as do the COBOL developers for z/OS, so what we've done is that we've added that capability for IBM i in Rational Team Concert."
IBM believes that Rational Team Concert will become an increasingly important product in the future as companies begin to realize how much money they can save by having a collaborative development environment that provides support for geographically distributed teams on a common platform. There is even an IBM Rational Team Concert ROI Calculator available on the IBM Web site for users to help estimate potential savings.
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