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Our Perspective on RDi’s DDS Design Perspective

In an earlier article, we took an initial look at the DDS Designer in what was then called Rational Developer for Power Systems (RDP) and since renamed to Rational Developer for IBM i (RDi). Since then, a few details have changed about the Designer and we’ve had more time to work with it and develop a few tips to make it work better for us. So we thought we’d revisit the DDS Designer for an update.

In the earlier release, we advised you to right-click on DDS source members to open them with the Designer because double-clicking didn’t automatically use the Designer by default. That changed some time ago—now double-clicking on either a DSPF or PRTF source member will use the DDS Designer by default. Even if you prefer to edit the DDS source directly rather than use the graphical designer, this shouldn’t present a problem. Once the file has been opened, simply click on the “Source” tab at the bottom of the Designer window and you’re in the “normal” Remote System Explorer (RSE) editor but with the advantage that you can use the Designer and/or Preview tabs to check the effect of your source changes.

Additionally, the first time you open a DSPF or PRTF member, it will ask if you want to open the special DDS Design Perspective. The question pops up in a dialog box: “This kind of editor is associated with the DDS Design perspective. Do you want to open this perspective now?” If you choose yes, your perspective will change. You may also choose the option to “Remember my decision” so you won’t be asked every time. We covered the differences between the DDS Design perspective and the regular RSE perspective in the earlier article. If you’re unfamiliar with those differences, you may want to read that now because the rest of this article is related to the decision about which perspective to use for DDS Designer work.

Just Say No

We’d like to propose that you don’t want to answer “Yes” to that perspective switch question. The DDS Design perspective and the regular RSE perspective may only have a few differences, but some of them are significant.

The most obvious is the Palette view, which is required when designing screens and reports to add new items to the design. As we suggested in the earlier article, we prefer to simply close the separate Palette view (by clicking on the X in the tab next to the word “Palette”). This results in the Palette integrating itself into the design window. If the integrated Palette isn’t obvious, look for a small triangle near the upper right margin of the design window. Clicking on that triangle should cause the palette to pop out from its hiding place. We find that “attached palette” to be a much better way of working because it’s always there, whether you’re in full screen or “normal” RSE mode. So that difference becomes a “so what?”

Then there’s the relocation of the Properties view to the larger space under the edit/design window. This is critical because the Properties view is used so frequently with the Designer and is designed to need a lot more space than the tiny little box underneath Remote Systems in the RSE perspective affords.

Most of the other differences between RSE and DDS Design are minor or will be handled automatically. An example of that is the Field Table. As soon as you Show Fields on a file in any perspective, it automatically inserts the Field Table view into that perspective.

That means that if we could just solve the issue of the limited space for the Properties view in the standard RSE perspective then we wouldn’t really need the DDS Design perspective at all. As it turns out, solving the Properties space issue is also easy. Simply grab the tab labeled Properties, drag it to the right and drop it on top of the tabs underneath the editor/designer window (e.g., where several other views probably already exist, such as Remote System Details, Commands Log, Error list, etc.). When you drop it on top of one of those other tabs, it joins them at the same level.

Voila! The Properties view is now in exactly the same place it would be in the DDS Design perspective. Even better though is that Outline view is still to the right of the editor/design window, exactly where we’re accustomed to seeing it. You may notice that you still have the Remote Scratchpad view left below Remote Systems (it was hidden beneath Properties before you moved it). If you actually use it, we advise you move it over into the same space where you just moved the Properties view. Alternatively, if like us, you don’t use the scratchpad feature, you can simply click on the X to remove it altogether. A nice side effect of this is that there’s now more room in your Remote Systems list, which is always helpful to reduce scrolling.

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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