The RDi environment is IBM’s main application development environment for IBM i, I have said many times in the past that IBM tends to concentrate on the RPG language when looking at any improvements to RDi, but that needs to change. IBM is hoping to get the IBM i community to develop and port many of the Open Source projects out there to run on the IBM i (particularly in the PASE environment), yet IBM’s prime development environment lacks any support for the compilers which will be required to carry out those tasks. Even the native ILE C compiler lacks many of the features taken for granted in the IDE’s used on other platforms, so expecting developers who use those IDE’s to see the RDi IDE as a suitable tool is not going to be an easy task. Even the free IDE’s available for use on other platforms have better language capabilities than RDi.
Orion is a great source code development environment especially for languages where compiles are not required. It does not have any compiler support and reviewing the information on the OrionHub site its not something that is even on the horizon? My expectation is that Orion will be used for code development and deployment for non compiled languages, we are currently testing it on our PHP and Node.js projects in house and its very fast and responsive so we will use it over RDi in those roles.
While its not part of the RFE I also think IBM needs to re-think its strategy for RDi. WSDc came for free with the IBM WSD product (compilers) which IBM said was hardly ever used. The only time people started to use the IDE was when they took the decision to call it RDi and started charging for it. I don’t agree with that statement, I think it started to be used more because people saw the benefits taht a modern IDE would bring to the development team. Many people started to explain how they saw enhanced productivity because they used it and many of the RPG trainers out there spent a lot of time explaining it and using it as part of the course material? If IBM made RDi free as part of the WDS toolset again I think it would gain more traction, enhancing the compiler support can only build on that momentum. If you think IBM should change its strategy of charging for RDi why not raise an RFE yourself, let me know and I will certainly vote for it.
So if like me you think IBM needs to step up to the plate and offer a suitable Open Source development environment please take the time to up vote the GCC compiler support RFE linked below. You will need to be signed in using your IBM profile to access the RFE portal.