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IBM i > DEVELOPER > RPG

New Free RSE Goodies


We’re big fans of RSE (Remote Systems Explorer) and related tools found originally in WDSC and more recently in RDP (Rational Developer for Power Systems). One of the great things about the toolset being based on Eclipse is that it’s designed to be easily extendible via plug-ins. We’ve recently installed a new set of open-source plug-ins we thought some of you fellow RSE fans may be interested in.

iSphere was developed by Task Force IT-Consulting GmbH in Germany and contains three tools:

  1. A message file editor
  2. A binding directory editor
  3. A compare and merge editor

We’ll talk about downloading and installing it in a moment, but first a quick look at why you may want to.

Message File Editor

We work with an application that uses message files extensively and working with and maintaining the messages can be tedious. In addition, it’s one of the tasks that’s way slower to do in RSE than in green screen. So a message file editor is a great help.

Once installed, you can simply right-click on a message file in RSE and use the Edit Message File option. A complete list of messages appears—very quickly—in the edit window. You can filter the list by keying in a keyword, making it simple to find the message you’re interested in, and then a right-click on that message to change it, using a very snappy edit window. You can also, of course, delete, display or copy an existing message or create a new message—all from the context menu (i.e., right-click). This is so much faster and easier than using the CL commands!

You may be wondering what’s so different about this tool compared with using RDP to get a list of messages in Remote Systems and right-clicking on a message to change it in RDP. We found the iSphere tool to be much faster and a much more usable interface. The “native” support in RDP simply does a prompted CL command, which on our systems, at least, is sluggish at best. The speed of the iSphere plug-in is orders of magnitude faster than the RSE approach.

We can’t show you the speed difference, but if you take a look at Figure 1 and the following figures, you’ll see what we mean about the very streamlined and straightforward interface.

Binding Directory Editor

The next tool is one we felt was way overdue—the binding directory editor. We always either used green screen for maintaining our binding directories or created user actions in RDP mapped to the appropriate CL commands. The plug-in is so much nicer and faster! Simply right-click on a Binding Directory in Remote Systems and choose “Edit Binding Directory” (Figure 2).

A list of binding directory entries appears that’s similar to the message file editor. As with the message, you can choose to change an existing entry, add new ones or delete them (Figures 3a and 3b). As with the message file editor, this all works very quickly.

Compare and Merge Editor

Next is the compare and merge editor. We’ve used a compare and merge tool in another plug-in in the past, but we find this one a bit more straightforward. Simply right-click on one of the source members you want to compare and choose “Compare Source Members” (note: this is different from the standard Eclipse feature “Compare with”). You’ll then be prompted for the source member you want to compare with (the same or different source file, library, even system) and you may choose some other options, such as whether to open for edit (necessary to use merge, of course) or for browse. You can also choose whether to consider a difference in change date to be significant in the comparison (Figure 4).

One of the things that makes this easy to use is that they ask for the “left” and “right” members—the way they will appear in the editor when comparing. Something to note is that if you’re merging changes, the merge tool moves changes from the right side to the left side. Therefore, when you start, right-click on the member you want to merge changes into (this becomes your left-side member) and then specify the member that’s the source of the changes as the right-side member. A three-way comparison is also possible.

Once it’s open in the editor, you’ll see tool icons in the upper right of the split screen (Figure 5) to copy a selected change from right to left or to copy all non-conflicting changes right to left. You also have icons to move to the next/previous difference and next/previous change.

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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