RPGLE Linting and Content Assist with VS Code for IBM i

vscode-rpgle extensionA great IDE contains features that increase your coding speed and accuracy so you can focus on your program’s logic. One of my favorite productivity enhancers, content assist, has been bundled in Visual Studio Code for IBM i since its inception. Content assist gives you autocomplete options for code as you write it, reducing syntax errors.

Today we’re announcing a new killer productivity tool for Code for IBM i—a built-in linter!

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Git for All Your Code

IBM i + GitGit has become the de facto standard for open source version control. Nevertheless, while your team may be using Git for open source code, your traditional IBM i programs and other code may use no version control at all, or be stuck in a repository that is difficult to access.

In this article, we’ll cover why you might want to move code to Git and suggest tools that make the move practical for IBM i teams.

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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 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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Using PHP with Rational Developer for IBM i

open phpIf you’re using Rational Developer for i (RDi) for most of your development tasks, you might want to use it for PHP, too. RDi is based on Eclipse, so we can use the Eclipse PHP Development Tools (PDT) with RDi.

However, there are some additional steps to take and quirks to be aware of. This post provides the steps for a trouble-free installation of PDT, with tips to resolve common issues.

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State Sales Tax Ruling Spurs IBM i Integration

IBM i integrationIBM i integration via APIs has been central to many of our development projects, especially those involving web/mobile applications, software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions, and cross-platform data sharing.

Lately we’ve been helping customers prepare for new state sales tax rules on internet sales by integrating APIs with their IBM i systems.

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Let’s Meet Up at COMMON, May 6-10, 2017

The Seiden Group team is headed to Orlando May 6-10 to participate in COMMON 2017. In addition to teaching sessions and workshops on best practices for using PHP and other open source technologies on IBM i, we’re looking forward to meeting up with our clients and friends.

One of our favorite opportunities at COMMON is to meet professionals at all levels of the IT organization. Understanding the challenges faced by each member of the IT team — from admin to CIO — strengthens our ability to build effective solutions that are easy to use, easy to extend, easy to maintain.

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Steph Rabbani and Liam Allan are Fresh Faces of IBM i

I was thrilled yesterday to see the familiar face of Seiden Group’s own Stephanie Rabbani smiling up at me from IBM i’s Home page, next to our friend and Club Seiden colleague Liam Allan.

Both are currently featured by IBM as “Fresh Faces of IBM i” along with Kody Robinson of Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation — just a few of the outstanding young professionals on our platform.

fresh-faces-of-ibm-i

This honor calls attention to what I know of Stephanie first-hand from working side-by-side with her on Seiden Group consulting projects. With 14 years experience on the IBM i, she is versatile, resourceful, and personable, with skills in PHP, RPG, WebSmart, and more. And she strongly advocates the continued use of IBM i as the best business platform. Well done, Steph!

Liam Allan is another impressive young developer. At just 19 years old, he earned the 2016 COMMON Student Innovation Award and quickly found himself at home on the speaking circuit with audiences eager to learn his techniques. He could program in any language but has chosen primarily to advance the art of RPG. I’m looking forward to seeing him again in March, when we both travel to Orlando to speak at the RPG & DB2 Summit. Go Liam!

But these “Fresh Faces” represent something bigger than individual excellence. To all of us with valuable business assets on the IBM i, they are visible evidence that we are beginning to succeed in attracting young talent to the platform. I see other such evidence in my work as a consultant, in my sessions at conferences, in the classroom when I train.

So thank you, IBM! Your efforts to modernize the IBM i development environment are paying off.

And thank you to all of the seasoned developers who have moved to RSE and free format RPG, who have led their organizations to rewrite or extend their applications using ILE, SQL, new DB2 techniques…and, my favorite of course, PHP.

With efforts to make IBM i code more broadly accessible, coupled with talented young developers who are interested in working on the IBM i, the future of our data and business logic looks brighter than it has in years.

You can personally be a part of IBM i’s revitalization. Adopt modern development techniques. Mentor a younger developer. Continually learn new skills. Ask for help when you need it.

If you’d like to discuss what Steph and the whole Seiden Group can help you accomplish, send us a note.

Congratulations to Steph, Liam and Kody!