There are times, though, especially when first learning how to use some of the application development tools that are available, that being able to ask questions, get answers, and interact with others who are working through similar situations is an incredibly productive way to understand how to perform a task or learn a feature about the tools that you were not familiar with before. Reading through product documentation can be boring and difficult, especially with most documentation only available in electronic format. On the one hand, electronic format is easily searched based on keywords. On the other hand, everyone has, at one time or another, found what they were looking for more quickly by fanning through the pages of a book until something catches their eye, either in a figure, a section title, or a code snippet that they saw as the pages flew by. This latter method is not well covered by electronic book formats.
To address the needs of application developers of all skill levels learn how to make better use of the tools at their disposal, there are several discussion lists available free of charge and backed by the developers of the tools themselves. We call these discussion areas "cafes" to give them the feel of places where people can come together, talk about issues or successes that they have had, and generally find out how to make use of the wide array of features in the Rational application development and application modernization tools. If you're an application developer and you haven't looked at the Rational cafes, I encourage you to do so at your first opportunity (there are links at the end of this post). You can just watch and read or contribute your successes and questions to the cafe discussion, it's your choice.
These cafes help application developers get started. They ease the learning curve for using the tools, and serve as effective "how-to" documentation to fill the gap between product manuals and personal experience. Use them!
- COBOL Cafe
- EGL Cafe
- C/C++ Cafe
- RPG Cafe
- Rational Developer for Power Systems Hub
- Rational Developer for System z Hub
- EGL Hub
- Rational Asset Analyzer Forum