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RSE Frequently Asked Questions

Susan had a lot of questions after her recent webcast - WDSC & RSE...A Few of My Favorite Things for System i Network as part of the RPG & DB2 Summit Webcast Series. Actually, there were so many questions that she decided to answer them here for everyone to see.

Click on the next to a question to view the answer. You can also download RSE Keyboard Shortcuts or check out other useful RSE tips here.

Question: When using the RSE editor, how can I split the screen, like I could do with F15 in SEU?

Answer: You can edit source in a split screen in RSE. It's actually far more flexible than with SEU because you can split it either horizontally or, as I prefer, vertically and both sides of the split are editable (if you want them to be). There are a couple of ways to do this and in one case, at least, the process involves several steps to set it up the first time. Because of the length of the explanation, we've included the details here

Question: Is this webcast the same as the training session at the RPG & DB2 Summit "RSE Jump Start Workshop" ?

Answer: No, not at all. First of all, the webcast content was really only about 45-50 minutes and the workshop is 4 hours (minus a few minutes of break time). Also, the content and focus of the workshop is quite different. The webcast was meant primarily to talk about some of my favorite features of RSE. The Jump Start Workshop is aimed at actually helping you get started using the toolset. So we'll talk about hints for installing the tool, making your first connection and much more detail about my favorite customizations to the "out of the box" configuration that we only had time to touch on briefly in the webcast. We'll also take a look at 2 additional perspectives besides RSE: iSeries Projects and the debugger.

Question: We use the iSeries Project Perspective. Will iSeries Project Perspective still exist in RDi? And will it still work the same?

Answer: Yes, the Projects Perspective still exists in RDi - they are called i5/OS Projects in RDi, but it's the same as iSeries Projects (much like the iSeries is the same as System i!)

Question: We are a COBOL shop. The content-assist features available for RPG are much more robust than what is available for COBOL. Do you know if there are any plans to enhance content-assist for COBOL to make it at least as good as RPG?

Answer: The support in RSE for COBOL is far less than I'd like it to be. Content-assist as well as Outline View is significantly less than the RPG support. It's an unfortunate fact of life on our system, I'm afraid, that there are so many more RPG developers out there that it gets far more attention, even when it comes to development effort in IBM. The reason content-assist isn't very good is because all the information for that feature comes from the Outline View. We complained about the COBOL Outline View support at least 2 years ago and unfortunately haven't heard of any plans to enhance it. It could be in the works, but I would, frankly, be surprised if it was. If I hear differently, I'll post a revised answer.

You may find at least some kindred spirits using COBOL on the WDSCI-L email list on www.midrange.com. They won't be able to tell you much about IBM's future plans, but perhaps they can help you out with whatever workarounds they have found.

Question: I use MS Visual Studio for Visual C++ development. The content assist is much more friendly and robust. It is always "on", i.e. you don't have to hit a key to activate it, attempting to complete what you happen to be keying. Any chance they will allow the same functionality in WDSC and RDi?

Answer: It's funny you should ask for that. Originally, content assist was on all the time and lots of people - myself included - begged them to turn it off. In other parts of RSE, I believe it can be enabled via a preference, but I've looked for such a preference in RSE and can't find one. If I do find a way to do that, I'll post a revised answer here.

Question: We use RSE today for our development. If we have a full license for WebSphere Server and Client (WDS) on the iSeries will that include RDi when it becomes available? If not, will it be the $795 per seat charge you mentioned?

Answer: As things stand at the moment, unless you paid extra for the advanced version of WDSC (WDSC-AE), you are not entitled to RDi when it becomes available. There is currently discussion of some kind of change in terms or pricing in this scenario, so it's possible that something may change. But for right now, the answer is that it will cost $795 per seat to get your developers upgraded to RDi.

Note that you can still continue to use WDSC and be supported for fixes, etc. until 2010, but you won't get any enhancements, including even enhancements to recognize new features in new releases of the language syntax.

If you use DDS screens for your applications, upgrading to RDi will give you a DDS screen designer. But of course, you currently have license to the CODE screen designer already, so that may not be a big deal to you. Perhaps of more interest may be the Application Diagrammer in RDi which is similar to the CODE Navigator feature, but is much more advanced and more flexible. And of course, there are some smaller enhancements in RDi over WDSC, such as the ability to have some long running tasks (such as refreshing your Outline View) run in a background task so that it doesn't tie up your workbench.

Question: I accidentally hit Ctrl-Shift-L. It is a pop-up with many shortcuts on it. If you hit Ctrl-Shift-L again it brings you to the preferences page.

Answer: Obviously this is more an observation than a question, but I'll take the opportunity to add to it. Yes, it's an excellent way (the easiest, I think) to get to the page where you can define your own keyboard shortcut keys.

Some people may wonder why we bothered publishing our own System i Developer Keyboard Shortcuts cheat sheet when this list exists within the toolset itself. I think you may find that there are some keys that are not in the Ctrl-Shift-L list, but much more significantly, you'll also find that there are WAY more keys - many, perhaps most, of which do not apply to the type of work we do in host-based RSE type development. I found that sifting through the list in the tool to find the subset of keys I want is more time-consuming that looking at the (admittedly low-tech) piece of paper tacked up next to my workstation.

Question: What issues have you seen with change management systems?

Answer: Check with your change management vendor about how to interface with development objects using RSE. Most of them (e.g, Arcad, Implementer from MKS, CMS from Aldon, Turnover from SoftLanding, and probably others) have their own plug-ins to WDSC/RDi so that developers can do things like check out and in, promote, etc. development objects using the workbench. Some of them plug into RSE, others, I believe, plug into a similar perspective called iSeries Projects. It's best to contact your vendor to get their advice on using their tools with WDSC/RDi.

Question: How do you get Outline View if it does not appear?

Answer: It depends on what you mean by "it does not appear." Do you have the Outline tab but there is no data in it? In that case, there is probably a message telling you to press Refresh to populate the outline. The Refresh button appears in the top right corner of the view and looks like 2 yellow arrows chasing each other in a circle.

On the other hand, if you have no view at all that says "Outline" on it, then it has probably been closed at some point in the past, probably by accident. It's a very easy thing to do by mistake and is one of the most common problems we see in our hands-on classes that we teach. To get it back, use Window->Show View->Other... From the resulting dialog click on the plus (+) sign beside the "Basic" entry - and then select Outline from the resulting list and click on "OK" - Voila your outline view is back! By the way, a shortcut to find the Outline view is to key "Outline" in the box at the top of the "Show View" dialog when it appears. That way you don't need to remember that Outline appears in the "General" category.

Another way to get your Outline View back is to use Window->Reset Perspective but this a more drastic move in that it puts the perspective back to the original RSE layout when you installed it (or back to the last saved version of whatever perspective you are using.)

Question: You mentioned caching file definitions. How do you do that?

Answer: Whenever you either verify a source member from the editor or refresh to populate your Outline view, the external file definitions are automatically cached. I believe there is a preference to turn file caching off, but caching is generally a good thing to do because it speeds up processes using those externally described objects. Of course, when a file definition changes, the cache doesn't automatically get updated, so you may find that your Outline doesn't include the changes and/or you get verify errors due to the old cached version of the file. Refreshing your Outline can accomplish a re-cache, but it could take longer than is needed, so you could also go to the file object (not source) that you know has changed in the Remote Systems view, right click and choose "Cache File Descriptions" to refresh only the file that changed.

Question: Are there any different PC requirements for RDi as opposed to WDSC RSE?

Answer: The memory and processor requirements for RDi are about the same as for the "RSE only" selective installation of WDSC in V7. If you installed the complete WDSC (or more than the RSE/iSeries Projects option) then the memory and processor requirements for RDi are slightly less - 800 GHz processor, 512 MB RAM and just under 1 GB of disk.

Question: When clicking on a field(m) in the outline view I am taken to a comment line.

Answer: Have you tried refreshing your Outline view? (press the Refresh icon to the right of the Outline tab.) That's the only thing I can suggest that might get them back in synch.

Question: Is there an SDA equivalent in WDSC 7.0?

Answer: You can install and use the CODE Designer which ships with WDSC 7.0. It's a separate disk and it's not easy to find. The label says "Optional Software: CoOperative Development Environment and VisualAge for RPG". Then you can right click on a DSPF source file member and say "Open with CODE Designer". You can also start it from "Start Programs..." to create new display files. It also works for printer files. It is not integrated into the workbench, except that you can launch it as a separate application from within the RSE workbench.

Question: We use WDSC and iSeries Project Perspective. Does this still exist in RDi?

Answer: Yes, the Projects perspective exists in RDi. The only difference I've noticed is that it's called "i5/OS Projects" now.

Question: We are planning to install WDSC/RSE soon. What do you recommend - can we self install or should we get help? We are just RPG, not web developers.

Answer: The installation is simple. I don't think you should need assistance for that. If you're not doing any web development at the moment, then select the "i5/OS Development Tools - Remote System Explorer & iSeries Projects" option during installation and de-select all others (e.g., web and Java development tools). When you start WDSC the first time, you will see a screen that says on the tab "Welcome". Personally, I don't find that information very helpful, so I recommend just closing it (press the x on the tab). Then you will see a document open in the editor window called "iSeries Remote System Explorer Introduction". This is very basic but it is helpful in getting the first few tasks accomplished to get connected.

Many shops are successful at getting started with using the toolset on their own from this point. However, to get the full effect of the productivity benefits of the toolset, many shops find education very helpful. We offer on site education for getting started with RSE as a service. If you are interested, see our services page

Question: Did I hear that RDi is available now? If so, where?

Answer: RDi is not available yet. It has been announced for "first quarter 2008" so we should see availability soon.

Question: We have version 6. Would getting version 7 cost extra?

Answer: As long as you are current with software maintenance, you should be able to get WDSC V7.0. You need to order the no-charge supply feature code 2658 for WDS (WebSphere Development Studio).


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