Free RPG Development Environment
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With IBM raising the cost for software development packages people are searching for alternatives. Some can be found in the open source world. There is a practically a software package available for every aspect of development. Sometimes it is a real problem to pick the right one especially if there are so many to choose from. Not every package is as mature as Eclipse for example but many are quite good and usable even if they are still in its beta development cycle. And most of the developers are very quick to help and solve problems if they arise with their software. And what about support? Open Source == no support? I would say it is quite the opposite. Nobody guarantees support but I have found that the support in the open source world is better than the paid support for commercial software. The open source developer does it out of his own motivation, the paid support guy does it because it is his job (even if he perhaps does not like it).
By now you probably noticed that I am a little biased toward the open source world and I like the sight of that many open source projects for example in the java language. And it is a little bit sad that almost no such things exist in the RPG world. I think RPG developers have been too dependent on IBM. They should have made their own libraries/service programs and should have shared them with their fellow developers. So below is a list how to create your own development environment.
The base platform for my RPG development environment is the Eclipse platform available at Eclipse.org.
The RPG Next Gen plugins form the RPG part in the development environment.
The Quantum DB plugin hosted on Sourceforge.net can be used as a database explorer and SQL editor. To successfully connect to your IBM i you'll need a database driver for the DB2 for i. The Sourceforge project JTOpen provides such a database driver for free.
For managing tasks like bug reports, feature or enhancement request there are many tools out there. Some are commercial products and some are open source projects like Flyspray, Bugzilla, Eventum or Trac. There are many more products and projects so this list is far from complete. I have had some good experiences with Trac and Flyspray. Both are lightweight and good for small projects and straight forward. Trac has the advantage of being a software package which consists of a ticket system, wiki and connection to a svn repository. It also has a nice design and an Eclipse plugin which connects to the ticket repository via XML-RPC.
So my main choice for a free and simple ticket system would be Trac because of the clean web user interface, easy installation and configuration and IDE integration via the Trac Eclipse plugin. For a more sophisticated ticket system Bugzilla could be evaluated.
The key to integration into Eclipse is the Eclipse project Mylyn. Through connectors the ticket systems can provide access to their ticket repositories in Eclipse. Mylyn has so many features that it is the best thing to explore their website. There is also a podcast available about Mylyn at Eclipse.org.
Subclipse is a SVN client Eclipse plugin which can be used to connect to a SVN repository.
If you have any other plugin which you are using in your RPG work feel free to drop me a mail. Thanx.