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TechTip: Some Lesser-Known RDi (and WDSc) Features

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Drag and drop save files (SAVF) between your PC and the IBM i. Search PC files with a preview of the found lines. Access your PC like Windows Explorer does.

 

There are some PC capabilities built into the Rational Developer for i (RDi) IDE that may not be immediately obvious. In this TechTip, I'll introduce you to a few that you may find useful. Note that this article is based on running RDi (or WDSc) on Microsoft Windows. There is nothing here that addresses a Mac- or a Linux-based machine.

 

Exploring Your PC with RSE

The Remote Systems Explorer (RSE) perspective can access your PC in much the same as Windows Explorer. It shows a hierarchical list of folders from which you can delete, copy, cut, paste, and move objects, and you can launch PC programs. The RSE interface is slightly different from Windows Explorer, so I'll do a brief run-through it.

 

In the Remote Systems pane, you typically see a "Local" connection that is your PC. If you expand it, you see something like Figure 1 below:

 

 081415LennonFigure1

Figure 1: Expand the "Local" connection.

 

If you expand "Drives," you see all the drives on your PC.

 

If you expand "My Home," you see the objects in your Windows user directory. "My Home" on my PC looks like Figure 2 below:

 

081415LennonFigure2

Figure 2: My "My Home" expanded looks like this.

 

Obviously, your list of directories will be different, but it should look like what you see in Windows Explorer if you navigate to your user directory. For example, since I'm user Sam on my PC, RSE is showing me the same directories and files that I see in C:\Users\Sam in Windows Explorer. (You can also add filters to the RSE "Local" connection if you just want to see a subset of your data.)

 

RSE doesn't show you directories that begin with period (.), but you can make them appear by changing your preferences to show hidden files. On the menu, click Window > Preferences and check "Show hidden files," as in Figure 3 below:

 

081415LennonFigure3

Figure 3: Make hidden files appear in RSE.

 

You can expand a directory and see the directories and objects in it. Windows Explorer works in two panes, while RSE works in a single pane, with directories first and objects at the bottom. Depending on the combination of Windows and RDi versions you are running, you may find that some directories you see in Windows Explorer are aliases and won't open in RSE. For example, in RSE "My Documents" may show up but won't open and the data is really found under "Documents."

 

If I expand my "Documents" directory and then expand my "Manuals" directory, I see this:

 

081415LennonFigure4

Figure 4: The directory is expanded to show objects.

 

You can right-click on an object, for example "Embedded SQL Programming.pdf," and open up a menu where you can rename, delete, copy, and move the object.

 

There is also an "Open With" submenu, as in Figure 5, below:

 

081415LennonFigure5

Figure 5: Use the Open With submenu option on an object.

 

If you click "System Editor," the PDF opens up in Adobe Reader, just as it would in Windows Explorer.

 

If you click "Text Editor," the file is opened with the RSE text editor. (Obvious caution: If you change it and save it, you will probably corrupt the PDF!)

 

Depending on the suffix of the file, other ways to open it may be on the "Open With" submenu.

 

RSE will also look inside JAR and ZIP files. As an example, see Figure 6 below, which shows an expanded .jar file and some of the other "Open With" submenu options:

 

081415LennonFigure6

Figure 6: Open an XML file that is inside a JAR file.

 

Searching Your PC

RSE can search PC directories and files. It is not an indexed search as you can get in Windows Explorer, but it is quite fast, and the way it presents the results is more convenient.

 

I did a lot of ad hoc SQL in my last job, and I ended up with many scripts that I could reuse with minor tweaks or as the basis for some new need. I got smarter in my naming, and even organized scripts by subdirectories, but there were still occasions when I had to resort to searching for something I knew I had previously run but couldn't lay my hands on.

 

Here's an example where I knew I had some SQL that worked on data in library SPACELIB but couldn't quickly find it.

 

I right-click on my SQL directory and then click "Search," as in Figure 7 below:

 

081415LennonFigure7

Figure 7: Start a search of a directory.

 

This brings up the search dialog. There may be many search tabs, but I use the "Remote Search" tab. I enter "spacelib" in the "search string" box and make sure that "Search subfolders" is checked, as in Figure 8 below. (There are other options in the search dialog that you can explore at your leisure.)

 

081415LennonFigure8

Figure 8: Complete the Remote Search dialog.

 

When I click the "Search" button, the "Remote Search" tab opens, showing me the two files where the "spacelib" string is found, as in Figure 9 below. Note that if the file name isn't completely shown, you can hover and see it all.

 

081415LennonFigure9

Figure 9: Get your search results.

 

You could obtain the same results in Windows Explorer, but Remote Search has a couple of extra features that make it better for me. Rather than open each file in an editor, you can expand the results (by clicking on the right-pointing triangle) and preview each occurrence of the search string (hover if needed to show the entire line), as in Figure 10 below:

 

081415LennonFigure10

Figure 10: Search results can be expanded to preview occurrences.

 

If you have a lot of hits, previewing the lines may help you more quickly isolate the file you want.

 

Double-click on a file name in the Remote Search tab to open the file at the first line. Double-click on a preview line to open the file positioned to that line, line 17 in Figure 11 below:

 

081415LennonFigure11

Figure 11: The file is opened and the cursor positioned.

 

You can also right-click on a file to get additional "Open With" options.

 

This example is working with text files, but you can also search other object typesfor example, Word documentsbut double-clicking to open the document may not work.

 

Copying SAVF Files

Some vendors deliver fixes as save files. Some shareware or freeware can be downloaded as a save file. For whatever reason, we sometimes need to upload a SAVF file from our PC. Typically, we'd use FTP. For some of us, the first FTP can be a bear. And often the second one, and probably the third…

 

Suppose we have downloaded a SAVF file named DEMO.SAVF to our PC and we want it on the IBM i. FTPing it is typically a multistep process, something like this:

 

First, on the green-screen, you need to create an empty save file to be the target of the FTP:

 

crtsavf lennons1/demo

 

Then on your PC, start a command session, get your directory right, and then run FTP commands:

 

C:\Users\Sam>cd downloads

C:\Users\Sam\Downloads>ftp pub1.de

Connected to pub1.de.

220-QTCP at 178.249.3.21.

220 Connection will close if idle more than 2 minutes.

User (pub1.de:(none)): lennons

331 Enter password.

Password:

230 LENNONS logged on.

ftp> cd /qsys.lib/lennons1.lib

250 "/QSYS.LIB/LENNONS1.LIB" is current library.

ftp> quote site namefmt 0

250 Now using naming format "0".

ftp> binary

200 Representation type is binary IMAGE.

ftp> put demo.savf

200 PORT subcommand request successful.

150 Sending file to member SAVF in file DEMO in library LENNONS1.

250 File transfer completed successfully.

ftp: 2745600 bytes sent in 12.37Seconds 221.94Kbytes/sec.

 

It is so much easier using RSE! For one thing, there is no need to create any empty save file on the IBM i. Just copy and paste! Simply right-click and "Copy" the PC save file (Figure 12):

 

081415LennonFigure12

Figure 12: Copy the SAVF.

 

Now navigate to the target library on your IBM i and click "Paste" (Figure 13 below).

 

081415LennonFigure13

Figure 13: Paste the SAVF into a library.

 

RDI will create a SAVF in the library, and a window will open showing the transfer process running (Figure 14 below).

 

081415LennonFigure14

Figure 14: This is the transfer progress window.

 

On the green-screen, run a DSPSAVF command to prove that the file transferred correctly.

 

This is so much more convenient than FTP. And you can also transfer save files this way from the IBM i to your PC.

 

Copying from PC to IFS

You can also move files between your PC and the IFS without having to map drives. In the "Local" connection, right-click and "Copy" the file. Then navigate to a directory in "IFS Files" and click "Paste" (Figure 15 below).

 

081415LennonFigure15

Figure 15: Move files between your PC and the IFS.

 

And, of course, you can go the other way, from the IFS to PC.

 

Conclusion

RDi has a number of features that bring your PC and your IBM i closer. The RSE view of your PC is very similar to Windows Explorer, the search functionality has additional features, and you can move files and SAVF objects from your PC to the IBM i with copy and paste. And there is similar functionality in WDSc if you are stuck on the last free version.

 

Sam Lennon

Sam Lennon is an analyst, developer, consultant and IBM i geek. He started his programming career in 360 assembly language on IBM mainframes, but moved to the AS400 platform in 1991 and has been an AS400/iSeries/i5/IBM i advocate ever since.

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    SB PowerTech WC GenericCyber attacks often target mission-critical servers, and those attack strategies are constantly changing. To stay on top of these threats, your cybersecurity strategies must evolve, too. In this session, IBM i security expert Robin Tatam provides a quick recap of IBM i security basics and guides you through some advanced cybersecurity techniques that can help you take data protection to the next level. Robin will cover:

    • Reducing the risk posed by special authorities
    • Establishing object-level security
    • Overseeing user actions and data access

     

     

     

  • 10 Practical IBM i Security Tips for Surviving Covid-19 and Working From Home

    SB PowerTech WC GenericNow that many organizations have moved to a work from home model, security concerns have risen.

    During this session Carol Woodbury will discuss the issues that the world is currently seeing such as increased malware attacks and then provide practical actions you can take to both monitor and protect your IBM i during this challenging time.

     

  • How to Transfer IBM i Data to Microsoft Excel

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_Generic3 easy ways to get IBM i data into Excel every time
    There’s an easy, more reliable way to import your IBM i data to Excel? It’s called Sequel. During this webinar, our data access experts demonstrate how you can simplify the process of getting data from multiple sources—including Db2 for i—into Excel. Watch to learn how to:

    • Download your IBM i data to Excel in a single step
    • Deliver data to business users in Excel via email or a scheduled job
    • Access IBM i data directly using the Excel add-in in Sequel

    Make 2020 the year you finally see your data clearly, quickly, and securely. Start by giving business users the ability to access crucial business data from IBM i the way they want it—in Microsoft Excel.

     

     

  • HA Alternatives: MIMIX Is Not Your Only Option on IBM i

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericIn this recorded webinar, our experts introduce you to the new HA transition technology available with our Robot HA software. You’ll learn how to:

    • Transition your rules from MIMIX (if you’re happy with them)
    • Simplify your day-to-day activities around high availability
    • Gain back time in your work week
    • Make your CEO happy about reducing IT costs

    Don’t stick with a legacy high availability solution that makes you uncomfortable when transitioning to something better can be simple, safe, and cost-effective.

     

     

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  • Backup and Recovery on IBM i: Your Strategy for the Unexpected

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Robot automates the routine tasks of iSeries backup and recovery, saving you time and money and making the process safer and more reliable. Automate your backups with the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution. Key features include:
    - Simplified backup procedures
    - Easy data encryption
    - Save media management
    - Guided restoration
    - Seamless product integration
    Make sure your data survives when catastrophe hits. Try the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Manage IBM i Messages by Exception with Robot

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Managing messages on your IBM i can be more than a full-time job if you have to do it manually. How can you be sure you won’t miss important system events?
    Automate your message center with the Robot Message Management Solution. Key features include:
    - Automated message management
    - Tailored notifications and automatic escalation
    - System-wide control of your IBM i partitions
    - Two-way system notifications from your mobile device
    - Seamless product integration
    Try the Robot Message Management Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Easiest Way to Save Money? Stop Printing IBM i Reports

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Robot automates report bursting, distribution, bundling, and archiving, and offers secure, selective online report viewing.
    Manage your reports with the Robot Report Management Solution. Key features include:

    - Automated report distribution
    - View online without delay
    - Browser interface to make notes
    - Custom retention capabilities
    - Seamless product integration
    Rerun another report? Never again. Try the Robot Report Management Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Hassle-Free IBM i Operations around the Clock

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413For over 30 years, Robot has been a leader in systems management for IBM i.
    Manage your job schedule with the Robot Job Scheduling Solution. Key features include:
    - Automated batch, interactive, and cross-platform scheduling
    - Event-driven dependency processing
    - Centralized monitoring and reporting
    - Audit log and ready-to-use reports
    - Seamless product integration
    Scale your software, not your staff. Try the Robot Job Scheduling Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • ACO MONITOR Manages your IBM i 24/7 and Notifies You When Your IBM i Needs Assistance!

    SB DDL Systems 5429More than a paging system - ACO MONITOR is a complete systems management solution for your Power Systems running IBM i. ACO MONITOR manages your Power System 24/7, uses advanced technology (like two-way messaging) to notify on-duty support personnel, and responds to complex problems before they reach critical status.

    ACO MONITOR is proven technology and is capable of processing thousands of mission-critical events daily. The software is pre-configured, easy to install, scalable, and greatly improves data center efficiency.