VS Code for IBM i — Tips and Extras

Visual Studio Code 1.35 iconVisual Studio Code is a widely used IDE in the non-IBM i world. Recently we released Code for IBM i, a freely available extension for VS Code that supports RPGLE and COBOL development for IBM i. You can read about the basics of Code for IBM i and about code coverage functionality in my previous posts.

Today I’m going to cover three additional tips for using Code for IBM i. Of course, for any of this to work, you need to install Code for IBM i.

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Visual Studio Code, RPG and Code Coverage

This is the second post in my series on RPG and COBOL development using Visual Studio Code and Code for IBM i. Today’s topic is Code Coverage.

What is Code Coverage?

This stackoverflow answer explains precisely what Code Coverage is:

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Visual Studio Code, RPG and IBM i

Visual Studio Code 1.35 iconVisual Studio Code is an IDE and platform for developers to write backend, progressive web apps, frontend, and everything on the spectrum of development. I have created an extension for VS Code, called Code for IBM i, that allows users to work on and maintain their IBM i code. VS Code is the best IDE for extensibility, which is why I wanted to take on such a task.

While Visual Studio Code was built to work with all languages, in my opinion it didn’t have much support for RPGLE or COBOL on IBM i until this point. We’re streamlining RPGLE development in terms of tools and speed for our users. We want to make developing RPGLE and COBOL easy for everyone in the most efficient way possible.

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Integrate Python into CL & RPG on IBM i – 2021 Update

python trainingPython on IBM i has proven itself as a tool for building utilities to create/read Excel files, transfer data, automate processes, call REST APIs such as Salesforce and ServiceNow, monitor applications, and more. What was missing was an easy way to use the power of Python from CL and RPG.

In 2019 we introduced you to the PYRUN command for running Python scripts from CL and RPG programs.

In this post we introduce you to QSHPYRUN, the next generation of PYRUN and part of Richard Schoen’s open source QShell on i Library – QshOni. QSHONI makes it easy for traditional CL and RPG programs to call Python utilities and use their output. This is supported via the QSHPYRUN command. QSHONI also supports general calls to other QShell, PASE and bash calls via the QSHEXEC and QSHBASH commands. This means QSHONI commands support calling Python, Node, PHP, Java and all things open source, making QSHONI much more versatile than the standalone PYRUN command was. The QSHONI commands can safely live side-by-side with the PYRUN command because they live in different IBM i libraries. This allows for migration to QSHPYRUN to  happen as needed. Read more

Tutorial: Integrate Node.js with RPG without a Connector

Node.js IBM iWe’ve been hearing from clients wondering whether they need commercial connectors to integrate open source technology with Db2, RPG, and COBOL data.

Liam Allan has shown the power of using open source tools that are available to everyone. He recommends accessing IBM i business logic and data using open source tools, without proprietary connectors.

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Sneak Peek at Plans for ILEditor 2

worksofbarryI’ve been eagerly watching Liam Allan’s open source ILEditor mature into a very convenient tool that I can turn to whenever I have a quick development task to perform and I don’t have an active RDi session open. So I was thrilled to learn about his plans for the next major release!

The beauty of ILEditor is that it starts up quickly, performs quickly, and lets me return to whatever else I was doing. For example, I recently used it to copy and send some CL code to a client while I was on vacation. So fast!

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RPG & DB2 Summit: March 21-23, 2017, in Orlando

In just two weeks I’ll have the pleasure of joining some of the top IBM i development experts in Orlando for the RPG & DB2 Summit. Run by Susan Gantner, Jon Paris and Paul Tuohy, this conference is full of big personalities who create a warm, friendly environment that’s perfect for learning.

I enjoy the community feeling and how excited everyone is to solve development problems and share tips and techniques.

The RPG & DB2 Summit is one of the few training events that focuses exclusively on topics of interest to IBM i developers. That includes PHP and SQL, of course!

Check out the session grid and pay special attention to the Hands-on PHP Workshop on Monday, March 20, followed by several PHP and open source sessions given by yours truly and Zend’s Mike Pavlak, plus a whole array of SQL sessions. And maybe a few on RPG.

I think they should change the name of the conference to the RPG, PHP, SQL & DB2 Summit, don’t you?

Come join us!

Collaboration at COMMON

The 2015 COMMON annual meeting and expo, now in its first day, is helping speakers and attendees create innovation through IBM i integration: open source, closed source, IBM and vendor solutions. For example, of my six presentations during this conference, two are collaborations:

The Art of Performance Diagnostics, with IBM’s Dawn May, allows us to show, among other topics, how IBM i’s integrated performance tools complement green-screen tools and third-party tools (in this case, Zend Server) to pinpoint and solve performance issues (here, PHP-and DB2-based applications).

PHP Tricks for RPG Developers, a talk jointly created by RPG and SQL expert Birgitta Hauser and me, combines RPG, PHP, and DB2, allowing RPG to achieve graphical (charts and graphs, PDF and Excel files) and internet (json-based web services, flexible email) functionality using native functions.

Conferences such as COMMON serve a need that’s difficult to replicate back at the office—brainstorming and sharing possibilities among interdisciplinary peers, or sitting side-by-side with like-minded colleagues who work for different employers, to try something new. This week, for example, some of us plan to share knowledge on compiling binaries in PASE and to further the potential of open source on IBM i. I’m looking forward to presenting my talks (both joint and solo) and helping to realize new ideas with forward-looking colleagues during the conference.

Birgitta Hauser and Alan Seiden collaborate on their talk at COMMON 2015

Birgitta Hauser and Alan Seiden collaborate on their talk at COMMON 2015

Vote for a Mac edition of RDi

Rational Developer for i (RDi), the modern editor for IBM i RPG, COBOL and other languages, runs on Windows and Linux, but not Mac.

IBM has shown some willingness to port the product to Mac. They have posted a poll to allow users to vote for this enhancement or to comment on the proposal: https://www.ibm.com/developerworks/rfe/execute?use_case=viewRfe&CR_ID=13454

Those wishing to vote will find a “vote” link near the bottom of the poll page.

Free webinars sponsored by COMMON Europe (open to all)

Starting January 27, 2015, I’ll be giving three free Tuesday webinars:

  • January 27: Strategic Modernization with PHP
  • February 17: Bring RPG/COBOL business logic to the web with the PHP Toolkit
  • March 10: Speedy PHP on IBM i

All three one-hour webinars will be held at 14:00 Central European Time (CET). That’s 8 AM Eastern Standard Time (EST). The registration page includes a time zone converter.

Details and to register: http://www.data3.se/?p=5287

Thanks to Torbjörn Appehl of Data3 (COMMON Sweden) for organizing these.