Are you deeply invested in employing IBM AS400 applications for your critical business operations?
Are you looking to develop, modernize, or revamp your AS400 applications by incorporating the latest features?
If yes is your, AS400 RPG programming is here for you.
Business leaders and RPG programmer are popularly using RPG programming language to satisfy their modern technological needs such as –
- Enhancing existing RPG software
- Creating technical documentation
- Troubleshooting technical challenges
- Automating AS 400 business processes
With the increasing demand for iSeries developer, the RPG development market has also seen an upward trend in the number of RPG programming tools.
Recently, many companies and RPG developers migrated from SEU (Stoneage Editing Utility) to RDi (Rational Developers) in order to efficiently edit RPG codes.
In addition to this, there are many other effective code editors available for iSeries developer.
Want to know more about the tools leveraged by advanced programmers RPG?
Today, we are going to discuss a variety of advanced integrated RPG code editors with an aim to help you find the best suitable tools.
Let’s dive in.
SEU is the AS/400’s main source code editor. It is so important that all programmers should get acquainted with it. SEU is a full-screen editor.
Speaking of code editor tools, it would be sheer injustice if we didn’t talk about the good old days of IBM’s code editor SEU’s, and the green screen 5250’s supremacy that lasted for decades.
Not to forget, it was a golden era without the existence of the internet.
Every RPG programming professional and AS400 programme development services provider must have been familiar with SEU. Although it was 50 years old, it was the standard and reliable code editor for IBM AS400 and iSeries applications.
The Death of SEU
In 2008, IBM announced to withdraw the support for old SEU in a significant OS upgrade process, with the launch of IBM i V6.1. The move was purely intended to make the task force of RPG developer and service provider to adopt their flagship code editor, i.e., RDi.
While many iSeries developers have embraced RDi, some continue to use SEU to this day. It’s not that SEU is dead, but it has not received any latest updates.
For more than a decade, SEU syntax checking was part of IBM V6, and now it is a nightmare for most RPG developer to write new IBM i codes on SEU, as it counts the latest features as an error.
About IBM RDi
IBM RDi is another code editor earlier known as WDSC (WebSphere Development Studio Client). It was renamed as RDi after IDE went under a complete revamp.
If you are not using an IDE code editor for RPG programming, your AS400 RPG developers are probably stuck with years-old, inefficient text-based code editors. In this modern era, it’s high time for you to make a switch to modern code editing software.
Today, there are tons of IBM iSeries code editing solutions available such as Opensource, Freeware, Modern, etc. Let’s have a look at them one by one.
Top IBM iSeries Code Editor Tools
Green Screen 5250 Code Editors
IBM SEU (Source Entry Utility)
If an RPG programmer uses SEU to enter the source in a database file, it will add the sequence number and data field to every record available. RPG developer can also edit or delete that record anytime.
PC Code Editors
IBM Rational Developer for IBM i
Rational Developer for IBM i or RDi is the official tool for RPG developers. It’s a useful tool, but very expensive and extensive, calling for a substantial investment of time and resources. IBM rational developer is a widely used IBM code editor in the process of software development.
It provides an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) to develop, maintain, and modernize IBM iSeries software. It is integrated with development tools, like – search, build, edit, and code debugging. RDi is built on the Eclipse Framework and also offers faster and easier application development.
IBM regularly releases the RPG programming language enhancement, so rational developers is the only tool that allows RPG developers to stay updated with IBM i Services syntax changes and enable rapid code development.
Visual Studio Code
VS Code is a fast and lightweight tool for RPG programmer who is seeking a free, open-source, tool that comes with multi-OS compatibility. It feels like NOTEPAD++ on steroids.
Additionally, Visual Studio Code has a complete Git Integration enabling efficient handling of small and large projects.
The popularity of Visual Studio Code is increasing rapidly, but it is not limited to IFS. Its plugins can enhance the code capabilities and allow access to native IBM iSeries RPG web services and the database structure of LIBS and files.
Visual Studio Code (IBM iSeries Language Syntax Checking Plugin)
This is a decent plugin for highlighting languages like RPG, MI, RPGLE, CL, and DDS.
NOTE: This plugin was separated from the RPG Language Plugin
Visual Studio Code – Plugin for RPG Language
This plugin offers RPG source highlighting and ILE syntax checking for free if you have RPG version 7.1 and above.
ILEDITOR 2 – Code for IBM i
This is the best IBM iSeries software development plugin.
With this code from Visual Studio, you can easily manage your RPGLE, COBOL, CL, and C/CPP. It comes with various excellent features like:
- IFS Browser
- Easy Settings
- Object Browser
- Member browser and editor
- Errors are shown automatically
If you are in search of an alternative to RDi, MiWorkplace has got you covered.
It is a low-end tool that costs you only €99 per year.
Although it lacks some features compared to RDi, it is a good alternative for RPG programmer who is seeking a reliable tool at a more affordable price for RPG programming language code editing.
Moreover, the software provides a free version to the users of PUB400. That means PUB400 offers an alternative to RDi, without any cost.
With the free version of MiWorkplace, you’ll get a pre-configured connection on the IBM i server.
Orion is a streamlined code RPG code editor designed for RPG programming developers and it is a completely browser-based tool.
IBM has integrated this open-source Editor into IBM iSeries services and incorporated syntax highlighting for RPG, COBOL, etc. Orion automatically saves your source of data whenever you make changes.
You can use this code editor if the source is in the IFS. It’s a little lean but proves competitive against Notepad++. It has also been included in the 5733OPS option and has built-in support for Git.
This is a notepad editor and not an IDE (interactive development environment). It is a multi-tab layout and can also extend functions with plugins. It is a decent alternative to SEU.
Also, there is a plugin available for free-format RPGs, which extends Notepad++ availability into the world of basic RPG editing.
Now, as you are well-aware of the popular RPG programming language tools, the RPG developer must know about the standard practices that can make their code efficient, and maintainable.
So, what are the best practices RPG software programmer should follow?
Top 7 Standard Practices RPG Developers Must Follow
The RPG programming coding standards differ depending on the industry and the project it is being built for. The standards for developing an enterprise CRM will differ from that of automobile software.
We have listed the top AS400 programme standards that all RPG programmers must follow to achieve cleaner, more readable, and more efficient code development with fewer errors.
Let’s dive in.
Highlight on Code Readability
Code readability is of high importance especially where there is a large number of RPG developers involved in multiple, long-term projects.
This practice has empowered new-age AS400 programme developer to follow and optimize their resources.
You can achieve that by –
- Automating the monotonous tasks
- Writing as few lines and avoiding long lines
- Allocating proper and self-explanatory naming
- Dedicating a single function to carry out a single task
Standardize Headers for Different Modules
For a programmer RPG, nothing is better than finding the right information at the right time, minimizing time wastage.
How do you maintain an easily navigational codebase, you may ask?
By establishing standardized headers for different modules.
For instance –
You can include-
- Module name
- Author’s name
- Date of creation/modification
- Brief description of the module’s purpose
Turn Daily Backups into a Habit
Backing up the RPG code for an AS400 programmer is a non-negotiable practice.
The habit of daily backups protects you against virus attacks, hardware failure, power outages, human error, and software corruption, and saves you from unpleasant situations.
Don’t use a Single Identifier for Multiple Instances
Using a single identifier for multiple instances of wearing the same tie every day.
It may sound convenient initially, but it can cause confusion and inefficiencies in the long run.
Document Every Crucial Step of the Process
Accurate and well-organized documentation is like a guide for both the present developer and the future explorer.
Utilize the extra time to elaborate the functions in the RPG programming script and save future contributors from the guessing game. Avoid explaining self-explanatory concepts and create a focused and valuable resource.
Deploy in Small Batches
Working in small batches is a simple and highly effective idea that helps you reduce the risk of inviting critical bugs that take longer to resolve.
RPG programmer who deploys code in smaller batches is likely to achieve quick issue identification and resolution than the RPG developer who deploys extensive code changes in one go.
Use Version Control
Version control is a popular yet underused practice in the arena of RPG development. It is like the time machine of your code that offers a structured approach to track changes, seamlessly collaborate and access the history when required.
Now with these RPG programmer best practices and RPG code editor tools at your disposal, you are well-versed in the essentials of writing efficient, readable and structured code that is easy to navigate for future contributors as well.
Looking for a qualifying RPG talent that follows the best RPG programming practices and translates your AS400 application challenges into solutions?
We, at Integrative Systems have got you covered.
Integrative Systems – Your Best Choice for Qualified RPG Professionals
Your choice of RPG developers decides the future of your AS400 system and ultimately, the growth of your business.
Whatever your IBM i needs, ideas, or challenges are, our team of RPG programmers have got you covered.
We bring you a ready-to-deploy team of talented RPG programmers who scale your RPG team to redesign efficiency.
For 25+ years, our RPG developers have dedicatedly helped startups, SMEs, and enterprises to translate their AS400 challenges into solutions.
You may ask – Why should we join hands with your company for RPG staff augmentation?
- We deliver what we promise
- We are an IBM Silver Business Partner
- We listen to your needs and prioritize your success
- We are INC 5000 One of America’s Fastest Growing Company
Are you ready to take your AS400 application development to new heights?
Join hands with us for a promising journey.
Got any questions for us?
Reach out to us at [email protected] and book a FREE consultation call with our RPG programming professionals.