If there's one thing that folks in the IBM i community love, it's a name change, right?
Well, here's one that we never thought we'd see - one that puts us back to where we were a few years ago. Nope, IBM i is not changing its name to iSeries or AS/400 (but that would have been a good April Fool's joke a few weeks ago, wouldn't it? Wish we had thought of that.)
We're sure you have all followed carefully the progression of packages and names for the Eclipse-based development toolset from WDSC (WebSphere Development Studio Client) to RDi (Rational Developer for i) and then to RDP, or RD Power as some prefer (Rational Developer for Power Systems).
We're kidding of course. From the number of questions we get personally and see on forums, Internet lists, LinkedIn groups, etc., the litany of names has been a big source of confusion for many.
Guess what--we're going back to RDi again. Rational Developer for i. They've added "RPG and COBOL Tools" to the end of it, but still, it would seem that V9.0 (for those who have lost count, the current version is V8.5.1) will be called Rational Developer for i - or, we presume, RDi for short, as before.
We haven't seen any information yet on pricing, but we're hopeful that there won't be a significant increase beyond perhaps the (sadly) all-too-predictable 15% that seems inevitable with each turn of the crank.
As far as enhancements to function for IBM i RPG and COBOL developers, we haven't seen a lot. It appears that IBM Data Studio is now packaged with the new version vs being a free download that you could install yourself at 8.5.1.
Also listed are "Significant improvements to Remote Systems Explorer qualities of service." This sounds like lawyer-speak for bug fixes. We hope we're wrong but don't hold your breath. Then again, bug fixes would also be welcome.
There are two new packages, in addition to the basic RDi package:
1) Rational Developer for i RPG and COBOL
+ Modernization Tools, Java Edition - this would appear to replace the Rational
Developer for Power Systems Software Power Tools for i.
2) RPG and COBOL + Modernization Tools, EGL Edition - this would appear to replace the oddly named RDi SOA toolset, which never changed to RDP when all the similar products did, for some reason.
From what we understand, if you have Rational Developer for Power Systems (what we've referred to as RDP) and have an active SW maintenance agreement, you will be entitled to a no charge license to the V9.0 RDi package. Someone reported on the WDSC-L list on Midrange.com that it will require a new Activation Kit to be used to install it, however.
Likewise, if you have a license to the RDP Power Tools, you're entitled to V9.0 RDi + Modernization Tools, Java Edition, and if you have a license to RDi SOA, you're entitled to V9.0 RDi + Modernization Tools, EGL Edition - both assuming active SW maintenance, of course.
So is all this good news, bad news or no news?
Until pricing is clear and, of course, we see how well the actual V9.0 code performs, it's hard to say. The new packages do seem to more accurately reflect what people really need. AIX/Linux developers have their own product and IBM i folks have RDi - as we did before. If you want/need more significant Java and/or EGL support, there are additional features for that.
Anything that simplifies the ordering process is a step in the right direction of course. But will the Rational reps stop trying to write up orders for RAD when IBM i shops call to get "Rational" to develop their RPG code? We can but hope!