IBM recently released WDSc Version 6. I've had a little time to experience version 6. The interface has changed quite a bit, and I like it. It's a crisper, cleaner look, and you'll get used to it quickly. WDSc 6 is still new to me, so as I find new goodies, I'll keep you updated in the "Tools" subforum in the iSeries Network Development forum. You do the same!
Although WDSc is useful for many more development purposes than just a PDM/SEU replacement, I continue to use WDSc only for iSeries development. I don't use it for Web facing, WebSphere, or Java development. WDSc probably has many enhancements in these and other areas, but this article focuses only on the changes relevant for iSeries developers.
The WDSc 6 updates go beyond the pretty new interface. They include:
- A move to Eclipse 3.0.2. Under the covers, WDSc is based on the open-source Eclipse product. I'm sure that Eclipse 3.0.2 has many improvements over its older version, but the two worth mentioning now are the ability to tear off a view (even if you have an editor maximized) and the ability to get a pop-up list of open editors (by pressing Ctrl+E).
- An outline view for DDS source members.
- New features and a few bug fixes for the CL prompter.
- Changes to the debugger communications layer to support working in networked environments that include firewalls and Network Address Translation (NAT). The previous lack of support was a problem for my shop because using Service Entry Points (SEPs) was almost impossible if we were behind a firewall.
- A "fixed" check mark in the error list view. As you fix your source after a compile fails, a check mark appears beside the message if the source code related to the message is changed.
The Upgrade Process
Before you upgrade, back up your current WDSc workspace. I made sure my whole IBM directory, under My Documents, was backed up. Also, IBM has released PTFs specific to WDSc, and they must be installed for the debugger in version 6 to work.
I don't usually copy information from manuals and put it in an article, but I know that, far too often, I rush through installations without reading the migration notes. I want to make sure that you know what IBM says about migrating from WDSc 5 to WDSc 6, so here is a snippet of the documentation, just in case you skip this information during the installation process:
To migrate from WebSphere Studio V5.1.x:
Upgrading was seamless for me, though it took well over an hour on both the PCs that I upgraded. Make sure that you have something productive to do after you start the process. Maybe it's time to clean out that file drawer or to finally go through those back issues of iSeries NEWS, like you always said you would!
Startup for WDSc 6
The first dialog for WDSc 6 asks what workspace you want to use. I guided it toward my version 5 workspace at \My Documents\IBM\wdsc\workspace (Figure 1). The documentation seemed to indicate that I could move between version 5 and version 6 and share the same workspace. I created a highly customized set of commands and object lists in WDSc 5 and didn't want to have to start all over.
However, since I upgraded, I've had problems going between version 5 and version 6 with the workspace on both the PCs that I upgraded to version 6. After using the same workspace in version 6, I couldn't retrieve my customized perspective in version 5. When I changed the iSeries perspective in version 5 and went back to version 6, the changes were not there. I haven't experimented much more with this problem, because I haven't gone back to version 5 often. This might be a user (me!) problem.
The next window that appeared during the installation was the Rational Software Development Platform window (Figure 2). Because I haven't seen this window before, I played around with the links and read through the "What's New" information. The curving arrow in the upper-right corner of the window launches you into the development workbench.
The New Look
Figure 3 shows the iSeries perspective in version 6 - a real contrast to version 5's visual interface. All the features that you're used to in version 5, such as perspectives and fast views, are still there, but they're in different places within the workspace.
The menu options have remained the same, but even the toolbar icons (A) got a facelift. They do the same things they did in version 5; they're simply crisper in appearance.
The perspectives are to the right of the toolbar now (B). To get a list of all perspectives, use the first icon in the perspectives. You can also click the double arrows (>>) to get a list of perspectives. Like version 5, version 6 has all the flexibility you need to customize your workspace. To place the perspective list anywhere that you want, right-click the perspective tab, and choose Dock On. Your fast views appear at the bottom of the workspace (C), and they have a Dock On option as well.
I found that Remote System Explorer (RSE) works the same in version 6. The RSE title tab (Figure 4), along with other title tabs, has changed, however. The X to close a view is to the right of the tabbed name (A). And if there are too many tabs to show them all at once, double arrows (>>) (B) indicate that other tabs are available. Click the double-arrow symbol to get a list of other tabs that you can open (Figure 5).
There you have it: a brief look at getting WDSc 6 installed and using the new interface. I'm sure that IBM has other enhancements in store for us in the near future, so keep an eye on the "WDSc for PDM/SEU" subforum in the iSeries Network RPG forum, where we can all discuss WDSc.
Jef Sutherland is an iSeries NEWS technical editor and vice president of information services for Kampgrounds of America, Inc., in Billings, Montana. You can e-mail Jef at jsutherland@iSeriesNetwork.com.
Other Articles in This Series
You'll find the following articles at iSeriesNetwork.com:
"Connecting to the iSeries with WDSc" (January 2005, article ID 19664)
"The Coding Environment in WDSc" (February 2005, article ID 19770)
"Compiling Programs in WDSc" (March 2005, article ID 19876)
"Debugging Programs in WDSc" (May 2005, article ID 20059)
"Using Code Designer" (June 2005, article ID 20140)
"Using the Table View in WDSc" (September 2005, article ID 20239)