EGL, now open source, continues to gain ground at IBM and is central to many newly enhanced Rational development tools.
If it were common knowledge that applications written in EGL ran two, three, four times as fast as those written natively in RPG or COBOL, or even Java, wouldn't programmers be just a little more interested in trying EGL for their next development project? But what happens when you, as a programmer, spend a lot of time writing an application—and it turns out to be a dog? Well, you look bad. And people think—"They sure put the wrong person on that job!" And then your boss starts to look bad, and he or she says—"Why the heck did you let me buy into that rapid application development myth anyway?"
And you must admit: What difference does it make how fast you finish something if, when it's all done, the product causes you to fail to meet your service level agreements? Well, there have been reports of that with applications written in EGL, unfortunately, but it's not EGL so much as developers not using best practices when first cranking up the Rational IDEs that allow them to whip out those EGL applications. Did you ever try to bake cake when you were 6? Came out kind of funny, right? Forget-about-it, because everything takes practice. Besides, once the POWER7 technology starts making its way through the business fabric, the word "slow" will drop from the IT vocabulary.
So where is all this going? Well, it's my way of introducing the latest release of Rational Business Developer V8.0.1, which was announced last Tuesday and will be generally available December 3.
Now most AS/400 folks are interested in what used to be called WebSphere Development Studio Client, or WDSC. WDSC ain't no more. It morphed into Rational Developer for i. Well, guess what? RDi has morphed into Rational Developer for Power Systems Software, or RD Power for short.
In RD Power, you got your support for Java, Java Enterprise Edition, C/C++ on AIX, COBOL on AIX, RPG, COBOL, C/C++, CL, and DDS on IBM i, and C/C++ on Linux. Then you got your studio bundles that include development tools and a compiler for C/C++ on AIX, COBOL on AIX, and C/C++ on Linux, new Power tools packages for AIX and IBM i that include Java and Java EE for developing portal, Web/Web 2.0, Web services and SOA applications. And new in version 8.0 is a Linux client for all features, C/C++ development tools for Linux, and enhanced debug, COBOL, and C/C++ development capabilities.
But I digress!
IBM Rational Business Developer (RBD) V8 is what we're serving up this week, and it's all new—a major release. RBD is a rapid development workbench for delivering cross-platform Web, Web 2.0, and service-oriented applications. According to IBM, it's a "powerful, flexible, extensible Eclipse-based workbench for EGL." The release is built on a new level of Eclipse, V3.6, and includes a whole new set of capabilities designed to improve developer productivity and be easier to use. Much effort went into improving the core user interface technology, Rich UI, with major improvements to the visual editor and a richer set of new widgets. IBM has added new capabilities to the debug and test facility as well as to generation and deployment.
So the RBD team set out to keep you working in the Rich UI visual editor design view rather than have to dive into the source view for UI development, give you a bunch more widgets, improve the look and feel of the resultant applications, and accelerate common tasks such as build and bind UI data forms from data records.
Among the new capabilities of RBD V8 straight from the announcement are:
Improved usability when developing Web 2.0 UIs with Rich UI visual editor
- Improved visual feedback as user is dropping new widgets and moving existing widgets
- Introduction of new grid-oriented layout widget, which allows for more precise placement of widgets
- Improved performance when adding new widgets and changing widget settings
- Use of Mozilla-based browser for visual editor canvas, which improves performance and decreases memory usage
New tools for quickly creating UI forms and grids
- New wizard creates UI data-entry forms and data grids from existing record definitions
Enhanced widgets and support for Dojo Toolkit 1.5
- Improved data grid widget supports sorting, pagination, selection, row-checking, column-level customization, support for cell editing, and more
- Support for building modern, rich Web 2.0 UIs with widgets from the open source Dojo Toolkit, including date/time pickers, graphs, currency, and other input widgets (with built-in validation), tab and accordion containers, tree views, and more
- Improved application styling with new Claro widget theme
New tools to simplify integration of existing RESTful Web services
- New wizard creates EGL records from existing XML, JSON, or XML schema
- New support for calling XML-based Web services from EGL services deployed to Java environments
- Support for serialization of EGL records to and from XML in code deployed to Java environments
Improved generation and deployment capabilities
- Enhanced support to generate the same EGL part to multiple languages
- Generation of debug code occurs automatically: Rich UI developers are no longer required to switch between workspace development and deployment mode
- Improved usability of build descriptor debug and target configuration panels.
Improved Web services development support
- Services can be tested without deploying to an application server
- Support for automatic deployment and configuration of services invoked from the Rich UI (referred to as dedicated services)
Enhancements to integrated debugger and test facility
- New option to enable suspension on first line of initial program, first line of called program, or first line of transferred-to programs
- Support for creating a breakpoint on a line with a condition, where execution only stops if the condition evaluates to true
- Support for creating a global breakpoint (not on a specific line) with a condition, where execution only stops if the condition evaluates to true
- Automatic prompting for database and remote system credentials during debug if no credentials have been specified previously or if the specified credentials are invalid
- Text reporting support added to EGL-generated COBOL applications
So, is a Rational tool in your future? You can evaluate most of them for a time for free, and if you haven't download EGL Community Edition—which is totally free—it's a great way to get started with EGL.