We recently had an email from a fellow RDi user asking if we knew what had happened to the HTML editing capabilities that had been in WDSC. He had not needed to use them since switching to RDi and now needed to use them. The simple answer, sadly, is that when IBM made the move from WDSC to the RDx versions, the additional Web tooling was dropped from the base package. We blogged about it a while back. The tooling has always remained available but in the higher priced configurations of Rational Developer.
After further research to establish that nothing was available in the basic RDi tooling, we went in search of some Eclipse plugins. Our initial attempts were not very helpful as "HTML" as a keyword to search the Eclipse market brings up hundreds of options. Not only that, but as it happens RDi is not based on the latest-and-greatest version of Eclipse (Kepler), but on the previous version (Juno). This increased the difficulty of the search. Another challenge is that it wasn't immediately obvious to us which of the tools was free and which for-fee. So, we did what we often do under such circumstances and reached out to the RDi community on midrange.com to see what others were using.
Several people suggested that we install the Eclipse Web Tools Platform extension to give us both HTML and additional Java capabilities, so that's the direction we chose. But that still left the "How" part and although we have done this before, each version of Eclipse is a little different. That's when another suggestion from the RDi group helped out. This time they pointed us to the Useful Stuff blog, which provided step-by-step instructions with images for _exactly_ what we needed. We followed the instructions and it worked beautifully.
Of course it's always dangerous to let Jon lose on anything like this as he inevitably gets into "Ooo, that looks interesting" mode. This time he decided that while he was extending his workbench he should try adding some PHP support. He's been using both Zend Studio and the PHP version of NetBeans, but thought it would be nice to have a single IDE for those times when he's working on a project that uses PHP, HTML and RPG. Because Zend Studio is based on the Eclipse PHP Development Tools project (PDT), it would (or should) be a familiar environment and indeed that is the way it turned out. For those of you thinking of following in his footsteps, we offer one word of caution: To find the PHP tools you can filter for "PHP" (just as the Useful stuff blog suggested you filter for "Web" earlier,) but when you do, you'll see two sets of options. You do _not_ want the ones identified as SDK. Just pick the three items identified simply as PHP Development Tools (PDT) and all will be well.
Once we have had a chance to work a little more with these Web tools we'll report back. In the meantime if you find any other Eclipse projects that are useful for RDi users, please let us know. We are already familiar with those from SoftLanding and TaskForce's iSphere (which we hope to review soon) but are always happy to hear of others via the comments section.