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RSE Lessons Learned While Teaching

Sometimes even teachers are schooled in new tricks—and they share them with you


As teachers, we firmly believe in the adage that the best way to learn something is to teach it. Preparing yourself for potential questions on a subject—even one you have experience with and know well—helps you see it from a different perspective.

 

Teaching also helps us learn because our students directly teach us by asking questions we’d never thought of (causing us to go in search of an answer) or simply pointing out features we hadn’t noticed. This is particularly true when it comes to Remote System Explorer (RSE) and related tools in either WebSphere Development Studio Client (WDSC) or Rational Developer for i (RDi). These toolsets are so vast and have so many options that it’s easy to learn more with each audience we face.

Just in the last month, we’ve taught on-site RSE classes to no fewer than four groups, including three classes for RSE newbies and one for experienced users. We thought we’d share a few of the lessons we learned. Perhaps you already know these, but we’d somehow missed them, despite using RSE daily for years.

This month, the lessons focused on source-change dates in the editor and the debugger.

Source-Change Date Lessons

In one class, we were asked how to navigate to lines of code based on source-change date. This shop used a feature like this in SEU when doing code reviews on changes made for a particular project. It wasn’t a feature we’d ever used in SEU and it never occurred to us to look for in RSE.

Our immediate suggestion was to use the “Filter by change date” capability in the RSE editor. To do this, right-click in the editor, choose Filter view...>Date to view just the lines of code that were changed on, before or after a specific date or within a date range. (To return to a full view from a filtered view, use Ctrl+W or right-click and choose “Show all.”)

While this feature seemed useful to us, the client felt the ability to simply position to each line of code by change date was a better way to accomplish code reviews. This let them view the changes in context without expanding each occurrence. That sent us searching for a way to do that.

Turns out a simple solution existed in a keyboard shortcut defined for the RSE editor—Ctrl+Shift+D. This brings up a Find Date dialog box that allows the same sort of searching as the filter view. The difference is that no lines of code are filtered out—the cursor is simply positioned to the next line of code that meets the date-search criteria. And once you’re there, if you decide the filtering approach might also be useful (e.g., if you want a quick look at how big the task of this code review might be based on the number of lines of code changed in total) you have the All button in this dialog that accomplishes the same thing as the Filter by Date option from the context menu.

 

Jon Paris is a technical editor with IBM Systems Magazine and co-owner of Partner400.

Susan Gantner is a technical editor with IBM Systems Magazine and co-owner of Partner400.



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