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RDz Family Helps Organizations Address New Paradigms and Business Expectations

Application development in the modern enterprise environment is growing increasingly complex and fast-paced. Over the years it has evolved from single-language, single-platform applications to multilanguage, multiplatform applications, to mobile- and cloud-based applications. The recent phenomena of social media, mobile and cloud have not only introduced new technologies, but have also changed the expectations for application development, usage and delivery.

To help enterprises thrive in this rapidly changing environment, the development tooling must evolve to accommodate the new era of application development. The need for an integrated development environment (IDE) that helps enterprises modernize, develop, test and deploy applications rapidly is greater than ever. Enterprises are looking to equip their staff with the right set of tools to optimize productivity while helping them meet business expectations. The Rational* Developer for System z* (RDz) family of tools is evolving to help organizations take on the new application development paradigms, ever-changing technological landscape and business expectations.

The RDz Family

As a product, RDz celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2013. For a decade, the tool handled the changing landscape of application development, emerging technologies and development paradigms while continuing to help z/OS* application developers be more productive. Initially, when it was known as WebSphere* Studio Enterprise Developer (WSED), the tool provided an IDE for z/OS technology-based application development, supporting access to z/OS artifacts (e.g., edit, syntax check, compile, debug, etc.). As the service oriented architecture (SOA) pattern emerged, the tool evolved to add the support for enterprise Web services enablement of z/OS applications, targeting runtimes like CICS* and IMS*.

The next milestone in the evolution of tooling was to help enterprises develop, debug and deploy mixed workload, multilanguage, multiplatform applications. In its current state, RDz allows organizations to do all of that—plus develop, debug and deploy mobile applications that invoke a CICS or IMS transaction in the back end. In addition to keeping up with the application-development trends and evolving tooling features, RDz expanded its family to include Rational Development and Test Environment (RD&T) for System z. The RDz family and its integration with the IBM Collaborative Lifecycle Management solution play a key role in helping enterprises implement and adhere to the best practices of continuous integration and continuous testing—necessary steps to enable companies to adjust to the market shifts that are pushing for more frequent and faster time to market.

As an IDE, RDz has evolved from the standard edit, compile and debug scenarios to cover the end-to-end spectrum of the development lifecycle. The RDz family helps developers do their tasks in a productive way while meeting the enterprise standards and rapidly evolving technologies. The various stages of application development include:

  • Source access: The key for any developer to start his work is access to the team’s software configuration management (SCM) system. Most organizations store their source code in some form of a source code repository. As an IDE, RDz has out-of-the-box support to access Rational Team Concert* (RTC), CA Endevor, IBM Software Configuration and Library Manager (SCLM), and also provides a framework that allows customers to connect their SCMs to RDz.
  • Analysis: A common perception is that developers spend most of their time editing code, but in reality, much time is spent trying to analyze and understand the code and its flow. This is even more cumbersome in the z/OS world where, over the past 30 to 40 years, the applications have evolved and are mostly written in procedural languages like COBOL, PLI, etc. The program control flow and the perform hierarchy/call hierarchy features in RDz aim to help application developers gain faster understanding of the program flow. The visual and tree display of the program logic helps anyone, experienced or newbie, get their heads around complex programs easily (see Figure 1).
  • Edit, compile and debug: Once program analysis is complete, it’s time for editing. RDz provides rich COBOL, PL/I and JCL editors with content assist, real-time validation of the syntax, formatting, etc. These features are standard in the distributed application development space, but for a z/OS application developer, having syntax errors flagged while typing is a huge productivity boost. Without this feature, the developer has to do a compile of some sort and sift through the listings to fix errors. The capability to edit multiple sessions at the same time, along with a set of other views such as outline view, job monitor view, etc., help eliminate the need to jump between different views, and thus helps get things done faster. These features help bridge the gap between the distributed and z/OS application development landscape. This is a key factor for enterprises because as experienced mainframe programmers retire, new hires with distributed backgrounds won’t need to relearn a new development tool or paradigm (see Figure 2).

Alisa Morse is offering manager for IBM Z Enterprise DevOps portfolio products and solutions including IBM Developer for z Systems, IBM Debug for z Systems, IBM Application Performance Analyzer for z/OS and IBM Application Delivery Foundation for z Systems. She is responsible for driving DevOps for Enterprise Systems offering strategy to meet the needs of IBM Z software delivery teams.

Cynthia Krauss is the product line manager for RDz.

Venkatuday M. Balabhadrapatruni is a senior technical staff member at IBM and the chief architect for RDz.



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