Sidebar

A New IDE for Your RPG

RPG
Typography
  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

ILEditor gains some traction and goes open source.

Way back in May of 2017, I wrote a piece called "What I Learned at the Spring COMMON Conference 2017" in which I touched on the need for a more lightweight Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for IBM i. My simple gripe is that I don't want to be bound by the limitations of SEU or the learning curve, price, and sheer size of RDi. I'm primarily a sys admin, but I do need to edit and compile some RPG and CL from time to time. When I do, I want to do it with a little more functionality and style than SEU.

Many believe RDi is just too expensive, and I do empathize with the independent programming consultant. I also understand the counterpoint that if you're a heavy-duty mechanic or a plumber or a carpenter, then you buy your own tools. There's a valid argument for both sides. For larger development shops, I still maintain that buying developers decent tools should be part of standard office expenses.

But I don't want to rehash all those arguments. I just had to provide a little setup.

A couple of months after I wrote my COMMON recap, I got a note on Facebook Messenger from Liam Allan saying he was building a lightweight IDE called ILEditor, and he wanted to know if I wanted to have a peek at it. He's read some articles I've written on the topic of IDEs, Orion, and RDi and figured I'd give an unbiased opinion because I really didn't have a dog in the fight. Fair enough, and I do like kicking tires. I received a download link and was editing some RPG and CL within a couple of minutes. That's what I'm talking about. The only real configuration I had to supply was the IBM i partition IP address and my user ID and password. After that, it was a matter of telling the IDE what source members to pull from. See Figures 1 - 4 below.

A New IDE for Your RPG - Figure 1 

Figure 1: The ILEditor welcome screen

A New IDE for Your RPG - Figure 2 

Figure 2: Viewing spooled files

A New IDE for Your RPG - Figure 3 

Figure 3: Viewing the error list

A New IDE for Your RPG - Figure 4 

Figure 4: Editing RPG with ILEditor

After a couple of months, ILEditor grew with some decent momentum and went open source in November 2017.

I sat down with Liam last week for a few minutes to discuss everything new with ILEditor.

Steve Pitcher: So, Liam, let's pretend I haven't seen the project yet. What is ILEditor?

Liam Allan: ILEditor is an editor for development of ILE applications on IBM i. ILEditor will support development with any ILE language, be it CL, RPG, COBOL, C, or C++. Error listing and syntax highlighting are available for all ILE languages.

SP: Why did you build it? There are other editors out there. I've written before that Orion had potential if it had more features. Orion is pretty bare bones but does look good and has promise.

LA: I needed a free IDE that I could quickly install everywhere and had all the functionality I needed. I am also a firm believer that there should be a free option since a lot of people are still using SEU.

SP: From an SEU perspective, why would a developer want to use an IDE? I ask because, even when RDi was free, a lot of people didn't use it.

LA: I suppose a daunting UI would be a stopping point. If you're going direct SEU to RDi, it can be tough because of everything that's available in Eclipse. There may be a learning curve for ILEditor, but the difference is that the UI and UX are not as complicated. You have Ctrl+O to open a member, the toolbox with all the available features, etc. Eclipse is so vast in what it can do. ILEditor has one focus, which is ILE development. ILEditor is small. It gets the job done, which is the requirement.

SP: And moving it to open source?

LA: From what I have seen, projects improve quickly over a short period of time because lots of people are contributing. For ILEditor, I have always been asking people or making GitHub issues with my ideas before they're implemented.

SP: It has a collaborative spirit from the start. What kind of feedback have you received so far?

LA: So far, so good. In December, it had around 350 downloads, and that's the most in a month since release. I provide an email address, or people can provide feedback or issues they find. They can also open GitHub issues. Dark Mode was an idea from a lot of Club Seiden (a Slack channel) members, and it's one of my favorite features. We also have two open pull-requests - one for SEU line commands and also one for content assist. I am still hoping more people will submit the issues they have or features they would like to be added. We've had two small bug fixes from a chap named Nathaniel Collier, which is great, who is always the guy working on the SEU line commands. He is also a casual user of ILEditor, so whenever I have an idea for it, I will discuss it with him for a second opinion.

A New IDE for Your RPG - Figure 5 

Figure 5: ILEditor in Dark Mode configuration

SP: So what's next on the list for ILEditor? I've seen a lot of changes in the last few months. The Dark Mode feature is cool. Even little things like Access Client Solutions integration in order to fire up an emulator. I just noticed that today. Also the compare source members feature is pretty slick.

LA: As for the future, some of the main features we're looking at are:

  • Generate documentation from source (possibly making use of another OSS project, ILEDocs)
  • The ability to insert code snippets
  • Multilingual support
  • Code coverage is something I want to implement. It's really useful, and I want to make it easily accessible, so it's a high priority for me.

What I liked about ILEditor the most is the ease of use and low time to code. The fact that it's now a community effort makes it attractive because it has the capability to grow much faster in terms of features.

For existing features, here's what ILEditor does so far:

  • Source Member Editing - Browse, view, and edit source members inline with all the tools available.
  • Inline Error Listing - After you compile an object, you are able to get a pretty compile listing right within the interface. Each error is clickable, in which it will take you to where the error is located.
  • Multiple System Configurations - Set up multiple systems so you can switch between them easily.
  • RPGLE Fixed-to-Free - ILEditor provides functionality to convert your fixed-format code to free-format.
  • ILE Syntax Highlighting - ILEditor highlights your C, C++, COBOL, CL, and RPG sources to make it easier for you.
  • Store Source Physical Files Locally - Similar to iProjects, ILEditor provides the ability to clone and store your code locally (will save changes too) so you can make use of version control.
  • Quick Search Through Source Physical Files - ILEditor provides a function that allows you to quickly search your local members.
  • Quick Member Search - Open a member without taking your hands off the keyboard. Search for a member by library, SPF, or member name.
  • Member Diff - Simply show a modern diff between two source members to make better observations of changes.
  • Spool File Listing - See a list of spool files at the click of a button. Have them inline with the editor!

To get started, go to https://github.com/WorksOfBarry/ILEditor and download yourself a copy.

 

 

Steve Pitcher
Steve Pitcher works with iTech Solutions, an IBM Premier Business Partner. He is a specialist in IBM i and IBM Power Systems solutions since 2001. Feel free to contact him directly atspitcher@itechsol.com.
More Articles By This Author
Related Articles
BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS

LATEST COMMENTS

Support MC Press Online

RESOURCE CENTER

  • WHITE PAPERS

  • WEBCAST

  • TRIAL SOFTWARE

  • White Paper: Node.js for Enterprise IBM i Modernization

    SB Profound WP 5539

    If your business is thinking about modernizing your legacy IBM i (also known as AS/400 or iSeries) applications, you will want to read this white paper first!

    Download this paper and learn how Node.js can ensure that you:
    - Modernize on-time and budget - no more lengthy, costly, disruptive app rewrites!
    - Retain your IBM i systems of record
    - Find and hire new development talent
    - Integrate new Node.js applications with your existing RPG, Java, .Net, and PHP apps
    - Extend your IBM i capabilties to include Watson API, Cloud, and Internet of Things


    Read Node.js for Enterprise IBM i Modernization Now!

     

  • Profound Logic Solution Guide

    SB Profound WP 5539More than ever, there is a demand for IT to deliver innovation.
    Your IBM i has been an essential part of your business operations for years. However, your organization may struggle to maintain the current system and implement new projects.
    The thousands of customers we've worked with and surveyed state that expectations regarding the digital footprint and vision of the companyare not aligned with the current IT environment.

    Get your copy of this important guide today!

     

  • 2022 IBM i Marketplace Survey Results

    Fortra2022 marks the eighth edition of the IBM i Marketplace Survey Results. Each year, Fortra captures data on how businesses use the IBM i platform and the IT and cybersecurity initiatives it supports.

    Over the years, this survey has become a true industry benchmark, revealing to readers the trends that are shaping and driving the market and providing insight into what the future may bring for this technology.

  • Brunswick bowls a perfect 300 with LANSA!

    FortraBrunswick is the leader in bowling products, services, and industry expertise for the development and renovation of new and existing bowling centers and mixed-use recreation facilities across the entertainment industry. However, the lifeblood of Brunswick’s capital equipment business was running on a 15-year-old software application written in Visual Basic 6 (VB6) with a SQL Server back-end. The application was at the end of its life and needed to be replaced.
    With the help of Visual LANSA, they found an easy-to-use, long-term platform that enabled their team to collaborate, innovate, and integrate with existing systems and databases within a single platform.
    Read the case study to learn how they achieved success and increased the speed of development by 30% with Visual LANSA.

     

  • Progressive Web Apps: Create a Universal Experience Across All Devices

    LANSAProgressive Web Apps allow you to reach anyone, anywhere, and on any device with a single unified codebase. This means that your applications—regardless of browser, device, or platform—instantly become more reliable and consistent. They are the present and future of application development, and more and more businesses are catching on.
    Download this whitepaper and learn:

    • How PWAs support fast application development and streamline DevOps
    • How to give your business a competitive edge using PWAs
    • What makes progressive web apps so versatile, both online and offline

     

     

  • The Power of Coding in a Low-Code Solution

    LANSAWhen it comes to creating your business applications, there are hundreds of coding platforms and programming languages to choose from. These options range from very complex traditional programming languages to Low-Code platforms where sometimes no traditional coding experience is needed.
    Download our whitepaper, The Power of Writing Code in a Low-Code Solution, and:

    • Discover the benefits of Low-code's quick application creation
    • Understand the differences in model-based and language-based Low-Code platforms
    • Explore the strengths of LANSA's Low-Code Solution to Low-Code’s biggest drawbacks

     

     

  • Why Migrate When You Can Modernize?

    LANSABusiness users want new applications now. Market and regulatory pressures require faster application updates and delivery into production. Your IBM i developers may be approaching retirement, and you see no sure way to fill their positions with experienced developers. In addition, you may be caught between maintaining your existing applications and the uncertainty of moving to something new.
    In this white paper, you’ll learn how to think of these issues as opportunities rather than problems. We’ll explore motivations to migrate or modernize, their risks and considerations you should be aware of before embarking on a (migration or modernization) project.
    Lastly, we’ll discuss how modernizing IBM i applications with optimized business workflows, integration with other technologies and new mobile and web user interfaces will enable IT – and the business – to experience time-added value and much more.

     

  • UPDATED: Developer Kit: Making a Business Case for Modernization and Beyond

    Profound Logic Software, Inc.Having trouble getting management approval for modernization projects? The problem may be you're not speaking enough "business" to them.

    This Developer Kit provides you study-backed data and a ready-to-use business case template to help get your very next development project approved!

  • What to Do When Your AS/400 Talent Retires

    FortraIT managers hoping to find new IBM i talent are discovering that the pool of experienced RPG programmers and operators or administrators is small.

    This guide offers strategies and software suggestions to help you plan IT staffing and resources and smooth the transition after your AS/400 talent retires. Read on to learn:

    • Why IBM i skills depletion is a top concern
    • How leading organizations are coping
    • Where automation will make the biggest impact

     

  • Node.js on IBM i Webinar Series Pt. 2: Setting Up Your Development Tools

    Profound Logic Software, Inc.Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application. In Part 2, Brian May teaches you the different tooling options available for writing code, debugging, and using Git for version control. Attend this webinar to learn:

    • Different tools to develop Node.js applications on IBM i
    • Debugging Node.js
    • The basics of Git and tools to help those new to it
    • Using NodeRun.com as a pre-built development environment

     

     

  • Expert Tips for IBM i Security: Beyond the Basics

    SB PowerTech WC GenericIn 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

    Don't miss this chance to take your knowledge of IBM i security beyond the basics.

     

     

  • 5 IBM i Security Quick Wins

    SB PowerTech WC GenericIn today’s threat landscape, upper management is laser-focused on cybersecurity. You need to make progress in securing your systems—and make it fast.
    There’s no shortage of actions you could take, but what tactics will actually deliver the results you need? And how can you find a security strategy that fits your budget and time constraints?
    Join top IBM i security expert Robin Tatam as he outlines the five fastest and most impactful changes you can make to strengthen IBM i security this year.
    Your system didn’t become unsecure overnight and you won’t be able to turn it around overnight either. But quick wins are possible with IBM i security, and Robin Tatam will show you how to achieve them.

  • Security Bulletin: Malware Infection Discovered on IBM i Server!

    SB PowerTech WC GenericMalicious programs can bring entire businesses to their knees—and IBM i shops are not immune. It’s critical to grasp the true impact malware can have on IBM i and the network that connects to it. Attend this webinar to gain a thorough understanding of the relationships between:

    • Viruses, native objects, and the integrated file system (IFS)
    • Power Systems and Windows-based viruses and malware
    • PC-based anti-virus scanning versus native IBM i scanning

    There are a number of ways you can minimize your exposure to viruses. IBM i security expert Sandi Moore explains the facts, including how to ensure you're fully protected and compliant with regulations such as PCI.

     

     

  • Encryption on IBM i Simplified

    SB PowerTech WC GenericDB2 Field Procedures (FieldProcs) were introduced in IBM i 7.1 and have greatly simplified encryption, often without requiring any application changes. Now you can quickly encrypt sensitive data on the IBM i including PII, PCI, PHI data in your physical files and tables.
    Watch this webinar to learn how you can quickly implement encryption on the IBM i. During the webinar, security expert Robin Tatam will show you how to:

    • Use Field Procedures to automate encryption and decryption
    • Restrict and mask field level access by user or group
    • Meet compliance requirements with effective key management and audit trails

     

  • Lessons Learned from IBM i Cyber Attacks

    SB PowerTech WC GenericDespite the many options IBM has provided to protect your systems and data, many organizations still struggle to apply appropriate security controls.
    In this webinar, you'll get insight into how the criminals accessed these systems, the fallout from these attacks, and how the incidents could have been avoided by following security best practices.

    • Learn which security gaps cyber criminals love most
    • Find out how other IBM i organizations have fallen victim
    • Get the details on policies and processes you can implement to protect your organization, even when staff works from home

    You will learn the steps you can take to avoid the mistakes made in these examples, as well as other inadequate and misconfigured settings that put businesses at risk.

     

     

  • The Power of Coding in a Low-Code Solution

    SB PowerTech WC GenericWhen it comes to creating your business applications, there are hundreds of coding platforms and programming languages to choose from. These options range from very complex traditional programming languages to Low-Code platforms where sometimes no traditional coding experience is needed.
    Download our whitepaper, The Power of Writing Code in a Low-Code Solution, and:

    • Discover the benefits of Low-code's quick application creation
    • Understand the differences in model-based and language-based Low-Code platforms
    • Explore the strengths of LANSA's Low-Code Solution to Low-Code’s biggest drawbacks

     

     

  • Node Webinar Series Pt. 1: The World of Node.js on IBM i

    SB Profound WC GenericHave you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application.
    Part 1 will teach you what Node.js is, why it's a great option for IBM i shops, and how to take advantage of the ecosystem surrounding Node.
    In addition to background information, our Director of Product Development Scott Klement will demonstrate applications that take advantage of the Node Package Manager (npm).
    Watch Now.

  • The Biggest Mistakes in IBM i Security

    SB Profound WC Generic The Biggest Mistakes in IBM i Security
    Here’s the harsh reality: cybersecurity pros have to get their jobs right every single day, while an attacker only has to succeed once to do incredible damage.
    Whether that’s thousands of exposed records, millions of dollars in fines and legal fees, or diminished share value, it’s easy to judge organizations that fall victim. IBM i enjoys an enviable reputation for security, but no system is impervious to mistakes.
    Join this webinar to learn about the biggest errors made when securing a Power Systems server.
    This knowledge is critical for ensuring integrity of your application data and preventing you from becoming the next Equifax. It’s also essential for complying with all formal regulations, including SOX, PCI, GDPR, and HIPAA
    Watch Now.

  • Comply in 5! Well, actually UNDER 5 minutes!!

    SB CYBRA PPL 5382

    TRY the one package that solves all your document design and printing challenges on all your platforms.

    Produce bar code labels, electronic forms, ad hoc reports, and RFID tags – without programming! MarkMagic is the only document design and print solution that combines report writing, WYSIWYG label and forms design, and conditional printing in one integrated product.

    Request your trial now!

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

    FortraRobot 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

    FortraRobot 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.