It's conference season again! For us, that means travel season--even more so than our normal travel schedule. Most of the conferences we attend are hosted by local user groups. We were in Wisconsin in March for one of our favorite events--the annual WMCPA conference, followed by our own RPG & DB2 Summit, which involved quite a lot of interaction with the MMSA user group in Dallas. One interesting aspect of both conferences was the increased number of younger developers in attendance. WMCPA always has a few because their president, Jim Buck, usually brings a group of his students along to assist and participate. But we were very pleasantly surprised to see the number of younger folks at Summit--we're used to Aaron Bartell being the youngster!
The following week (now) we're at the NEUGC event--a unique event where multiple local user groups in the area pool their resources to put on a successful and fun conference each year. Once again there seem to be a few younger folks around, but the really good news is that overall attendance is up. We should all applaud that. Next week, we head to Fort Wayne, Ind., for an all-day session focusing on RSE hosted by the local user group there. Then the day after returning from Fort Wayne, we head to Sweden for a developer conference there. The following week our own local user group, TUG, holds its annual TUG TEC event, which is followed by the grandaddy of user group conferences, COMMON in Anaheim. We'll be speaking at COMMON this year for the first time in a while; it will be nice to see some old friends again.
So what does all this have to do with Lawson? Today at one of Susan's RSE sessions at NEUGC, she had the pleasure of making one person really happy over the idea of using RSE to edit source code. In fact she was positively ecstatic. Many SEU users are happy when seeing the productivity features of RSE than leave SEU in the dust. But ecstatic? That is the reaction you get when you're a programmer who can't even use SEU to edit her RPG source code!
What would programmers be using instead? How about EDTF (Edit File)? Never heard of it? It's the green-screen editor for IFS stream files. You can get to it from WRKLNK. Imagine: no PDM or even SEU. Just WRKLNK and EDTF to edit your source code. Next to EDTF, even PDM and SEU look like the greatest programmer productivity tools ever invented. If you've not had the pleasure of using EDTF, perhaps you can remember eons ago using a truly rudimentary editor called EDLIN. EDTF is a tad more advanced that EDLIN but not a lot.
Why has this person been editing RPG source with as primitive a tool as that? Because her source code is stored in the IFS and it was the only editor that she knew of that could edit IFS stream files.
She's not alone. More and more shops are finding themselves in the position of having to edit source code in the IFS because Lawson's recent releases started storing and shipping all of their source in IFS files rather than source members in regular source physical files. Who knows why they would decide to make that rather strange decision? Perhaps someone out there among our readers can enlighten us. Perhaps even stranger is the fact that Lawson doesn't seem to have told their users that RSE is the way to go for editing the code.
Regardless of the reason, the effect has been a dramatic drop in programmer productivity among those RPGers who must make changes to the Lawson code because EDTF is the only obvious way to do it--at least if you're limiting yourself to green-screen tools.
Now the person in Susan's NEUGC session today has learned that RSE (packaged in RDP/RDi/WDSC) has no problem whatsoever working with source stored in IFS stream files, and hence her unbounded joy. RSE can seamlessly handle IFS files for editing, compiling, etc., in exactly the same way it works with source members for the rest of the IBM i community.
This individual wasn't the first Lawson programmer who couldn't wait to get her hands on RSE. One of our recent private classes was to an entire group of Lawson programmers who were equally ecstatic over the prospect of leaving EDTF in the dust.
Now, if we could only get the rest of the SEU users still out there to a have similar revelatory moments about how much more productive they could be ...