Let's be serious: The number of IT shops that need the powerful features in WDSC 7.0 Advanced Edition (AE) are limited. However, through what appears to be a simple packaging mishap, Screen Designer and Application Diagram(er) are available only with WDSC 7.0 AE.
This means you have to pay $3,480 per programmer (per PC) for WDSC AE in order to have the WDSC equivalent of SDA. You also get a lot more that justifies that fee, but if you want only Screen Designer, yikes!
I'm sure IBM will have its hands full at RPG World and COMMON this spring with programmers complaining about the irony of finally bringing WDSC features up to the old CODE/400 level and then charging them $3,480 for a GUI version of SDA.
In my opinion, sometimes IBM makes mistakes. I believe the company will change this packaging as soon as possible. I think we need to keep mentioning the fact that WDSC 7 is a good solution and the Screen Designer is a part of that.
While I also loved CODE/400's version of the Application Diagram, it too is currently only available in WDSC AE.
If you haven't used the Screen Design tool in WDSC AE, you wish you could. I have to say this is one cool tool. Too bad we didn't have it 10 years ago, but at least it's out there—if ever so just out of reach.
The new screen design tool takes on the user interface of most popular WYSIWYG editors today, such as FrontPage, DreamWeaver, and CodeStudio, in that it provides three editing modes:
This allows you to dynamically jump between edit modes and change attributes. If you're familiar with DDS, jump over to the Source editor and key in your DDS keyword; the Design and Properties views are instantly updated to reflect your modifications. Likewise, move something around in the Design view, and the Source and Properties are updated.
WDSC's Screen Designer is the coolest new tool in the software suite. It is powerful and flexible, and it does just about anything you can think of with DDS (no, it won't allow editing of RPG output specs in Design view).
In 2007, we finally get "SDA II," a great tool for creating and maintaining green-screens. Am I the only one who sees the irony in this? Anyway, I'm sure at some point IBM will repackage Screen Designer along with WDSC Standard Edition. If not, it'll be a powerful package that only a select few get to utilize, and that would be a shame.
Bob Cozzi is author of the best-selling The Modern RPG IV Language, Fourth Edition as well as RPG TNT: 101 Dynamite Tips 'n Techniques with RPG IV and is host of the i5 Podcast Network, which provides free video and audio podcasts to the i5 community. You can also see him in person at RPG World in May 2007.