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9 replies Latest Post - ‏2013-05-07T18:16:30Z by markevans
dan_darnell
dan_darnell
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Pinned topic Hear those bells tolling? RBD V9 offers what exactly?

‏2013-04-24T20:35:19Z |

I read the RBD V9 announcement today along with several other announcements from IBM/Rational. The RBD V9 announcement was disappointing, to say the least.

http://www-01.ibm.com/common/ssi/cgi-bin/ssialias?infotype=an&subtype=ca&appname=gpateam&supplier=897&letternum=ENUS213-211

From the sounds of it, this is yet another "compatibility release" (what is this now, five releases without any major new features?) to keep RBD at current Rational tooling levels with compatibility for whatever the latest WebSphere Application Server release is. Where are the features we've been asking for such as officially supported mobile components?

Meanwhile, there are some nice improvements announced for Rational Developer for i.

http://www-01.ibm.com/common/ssi/ShowDoc.wss?docURL=/common/ssi/rep_ca/2/897/ENUS213-132/index.html&lang=en&request_locale=en

The biggest thing happening in the RDi space is the inclusion of Worklight Studio. Guess what Worklight brings to the table? Mobile support -- and not just Dojo Mobile but Dojo, JQuery, and Sencha plus the ability to use PhoneGap (Cordova) to create native applications for Android and iOS! This is what RBD should already be doing today (the unofficially supported Dojo Mobile preview is, what, two or three years old now?) or at least have a plan to do it -- unless the plan is to abandon RBD for that kind of development work in favor of Worklight. (EDT was far better positioned than RBD for extending into the browser-mobile and native-mobile realm. I still have my suspicions that EDT was canceled at least in part due to Worklight being a paid product. Why would IBM stand up an open-source competitor to their own paid product?)

I challenge IBM/Rational with these questions:

1. WHEN (ballpark estimate, no commitment) can we expect the sort of modern features in RBD that we must have in order to consider RBD a relevant tool for moving forward with the kinds of applications demanded by our clients today? WHAT features can we expect? (At a minimum -- and I do mean MINIMUM -- this would be official support for Dojo Mobile.)

2. Is RBD ever going to be that tool for us or should we indeed start planning now to abandon EGL/RBD in favor of other languages and tools such as those supported by Worklight? (It's okay to tell us the truth, even if it is bad news. We've heard bad news before... Just don't string us along waiting for RBD to come along until it is too late!)

3. Lastly, does IBM/Rational even have a team in place any more to take RBD forward into the future (with more than just compatibility releases)? Do you have a Chris Laffra-type person on the team with the vision and drive (and the management support behind him or her) to realize the potential of RBD for the types of applications demanded in today's marketplace? (We know IBM understands this marketplace because they had the foresight to acquire Worklight and QUICKLY integrate it into the core Rational suites.) If the team is staffed for "legacy product support" and nothing more, that will tell us everything we need to know.

Respectfully,

Dan Darnell

  • nick_tn
    nick_tn
    580 Posts
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    Re: Hear those bells tolling? RBD V9 offers what exactly?

    ‏2013-04-25T15:03:03Z  in response to dan_darnell

    i couldnt agree more. It seems the enhancements are fewer then 7 to 8 upgrade. Also, i've noticed less activity on the forums then used to be (responses from IBM employees).

    Bell is sounding louder.

     

  • msoucy
    msoucy
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    Re: Hear those bells tolling? RBD V9 offers what exactly?

    ‏2013-04-25T19:05:10Z  in response to dan_darnell

    Instead of saying "Is RPG dead?" is it time to start asking "Is EGL dead?"  It seems that over the last several years PHP has gotten more attention from IBM and EGL has been the black sheep of the family.  This is too bad.  I work for an employer who until recently was going down a path where they were planning on dumping our IBM i platform in favor of Wintel.  After a long fight they decided that we'd be better off keeping our IBM i. Now that we're keeping our IBM i, do I now tell management oh, by the way, IBM is killing off EGL so I need to learn something else so we can modernize our applications?  My next big project is to come up with a strategy for eliminating our remaining "green screen" applications and re-writing them in EGL.  We are heavily invested in EGL and have been using it since it was included in WDSC version 6.  Do I need to rethink what we're going to use to eliminate our "green screen" applications?  IBM don't kill off EGL!

    Updated on 2013-04-25T19:06:33Z at 2013-04-25T19:06:33Z by msoucy
    • markevans
      markevans
      2521 Posts
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      Re: Hear those bells tolling? RBD V9 offers what exactly?

      ‏2013-04-25T21:38:18Z  in response to msoucy

      All,

      I will get back with you to answer the questions/comments in more detail.  

      But I wanted to repeat what I had put in another post.  RBD/EGL will continue to be enhanced and supported as many customers of all sizes and platforms use and depend on EGL for their applications.   

       

      • msoucy
        msoucy
        326 Posts
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        Re: Hear those bells tolling? RBD V9 offers what exactly?

        ‏2013-04-26T14:51:21Z  in response to markevans

        Hi Mark,

        Thank you for your reply. I am looking forward to hearing what IBM has to say regarding the questions that have been posted here. I'm also concerned about continuing education. Several people, including myself have asked on this forum when the next EGL RUI training is going to be available. There has been no response from IBM or the company that is doing the training. Any idea when we can expect to see training dates for EGL RUI?

         

      • Kendall.Coolidge
        Kendall.Coolidge
        56 Posts
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        Re: Hear those bells tolling? RBD V9 offers what exactly?

        ‏2013-04-26T18:20:25Z  in response to markevans

        Thank you, Mark.

        I just want to echo what others have said.

        Where I work, we depend on RBD/EGL/IBMi for an ever increasing amount of our current and (hopefully) future development. 

        There is great concern among top management here that IBM appears to be losing interest.  At Innovate 2 years ago, we were briefed by IBM Rational product managers who said that EDT would be the catalyst that would, in effect, assure that EGL would "live forever".  They were seeding it into the wild, so to speak.  By backing away from EDT at v.82, IBM seems to be sending a strong message.

        The fact that education was dropped by IBM is huge for us, too.  We're trying to bring new EGL developers on line and the distance learning was essential for that.  Again, it seems like a message.

        And as Dan mentioned, for us too official mobile support is critical.

        I'm encouraged when you say "continue to be enhanced and supported."  The degree to which that has happened lately and will in the future is of the greatest interest to us.

        Who is on the team now that Jon Sayles, Chris Laffra, Michael Virga, and Will Smythe are not?  I believe even Theresa Ramsey has moved from RBD to the RTC world.  Where's the vision coming from?

        Thanks for all your help on this forum Mark.  We really appreciate what you do here.

        Kendall Coolidge

      • dan_darnell
        dan_darnell
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        Re: Hear those bells tolling? RBD V9 offers what exactly?

        ‏2013-04-30T13:13:23Z  in response to markevans

        Hi Mark,

        I really appreciated your feedback with the general statement of direction for RBD/EGL. However, there is little hard evidence that our needs are really going to be met going forward. Losing EDT was a stinging blow. If IBM/Rational will abandon such a forward-thinking, forward-reaching EGL effort like that so close to completion (and after such a substantial investment) there is no reason for us to think that EGL under RBD is now going to be enhanced (really, "invested in") in a meaningful way. EDT was a ground-up redevelopment of EGL and its tooling. It's obvious that IBM won't simply be able to quickly port features from EDT back to RBD. To start from scratch creating the features needed in RBD today will require another big investment. That was one of the reasons for EDT to begin with -- stand up an open-source product that a community beyond IBM would invest in. (And you know that I fundamentally reject the proposition that the community let IBM down in this regard. The project team re-designed and re-developed the core of the EGL language, the underlying models, and all the tooling. The detailed requirements underlying that project plan were never shared with the community. Where exactly was someone from another organization supposed to obtain the understanding of the plan, the requirements, and architecture sufficient to engage meaningfully with an internal IBM/Rational team in that project? From the source code? Please. Only after the core language, tools, and architecture were in place would the community at large be able to engage -- to extend EGL into other target languages and technologies. And we would have!) So, EDT is gone. There is no reasonable way to bring its advances back to RBD without substantial investment. RBD is already far, far behind the curve for mobile (web) development. EGL under RBD is not poised at all for native-mobile development (as EDT would have been). It may simply just be too late for RBD. Which brings us back to Worklight...

        Clearly, Worklight is critically important to IBM (right now) and -- even apart from the open-source competition that EDT represented -- is IBM really going to invest in RBD as a platform for mobile development with Worklight now in the picture and getting what is obviously first-class product treatment internally? Would IBM heavily invest in TWO platforms for web and mobile development? Seems highly unlikely...

        This is also why I ask about the current constitution of the internal team for RBD. You are an incredible support for all of us in the EGL space and if you were the guy in charge of moving RBD forward I wouldn't worry. However, from out here we can't see anyone acting in the role of advancing RBD/EGL. Those of us who have been somewhat plugged-in to RBD for a while know about all of the champions of EGL who have moved on -- either leaving IBM or leaving the EGL team. The list starts with Jon Sayles but includes Todd Britton, Will Smythe, Chris Laffra, Stefano Sergei, Paul Hoffman, and others.  That's why I ask whether there is anything close to a thriving internal technical group for RBD/EGL any more...and to what degree is there management support for RBD/EGL?

        Even from an education point of view -- IBM is has ramped up training for Worklight with dedicated trainers and a very active training support team. RBD/EGL training has been outsourced and it is unclear whether it is continuing at all at this point.

        Lastly, I know that one possibility floated by IBM was bringing EDT into RBD as a separate, stand-alone product. I again have to question if the resources are there to support such a venture -- essentially forking EGL and its tooling and without any possibility of leveraging an open-source community going forward. How does THAT make any sense?

        EGL has been safeguarding investment in software development for, what, 30 years? Just in the time (last 5 years) that we've been using EGL we have seen our investment protected in a big way. We originally developed applications for JSF but were rapidly able to re-tool for Rich UI (our language skills transferring completely) while retaining all of our service-tier code. Given that Worklight requires its own server infrastructure and given that it is based on the old model of "write a bunch of code in a bunch of different languages/technologies" I know that Worklight does NOT represent a way to safeguard an investment in software development.

        EGL has been, and should continue to be, the best option for developing software and moving software forward in the rapidly changing technology world of today. But it takes a money, a visionary management team, and a great technical team to continue to keep RBD/EGL relevant. Is there any information you can share that might indicate the existence of such?

        Dan Darnell

        • markevans
          markevans
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          Re: Hear those bells tolling? RBD V9 offers what exactly?

          ‏2013-05-03T19:57:51Z  in response to dan_darnell

          All,

          Thank you for your input and questions.

          First of all, for every RBD/EGL fixpack/release, we determine which requirements are needed to satisfy the EGL community across our entire user base and user platforms.   Therefore, RBD/EGL V9 is more than just a currency/compatibility release.  While it does not include mobile, it will include several enhancements that are a direct result of customer requests across our entire user base.   They include:

          • Multiple row support in EGL enables significant CPU time reductions when accessing DB2, especially when using DB2 on z/OS and generating COBOL for that platform.  
          • New EGL Ant tasks to more easily implement headless builds.  This will enhance the EGL customers ability for continuous integration and time to deliver a release.
          • Support for Liberty profile of WebSphere Application Server which will improve the development performance for developing EGL RUI and service applications
          • A code extraction feature to allow EGL users to quickly extract EGL code into a new function within the EGL file editor resulting in improved developer's work efficiency.
          • EGLAR library support  which enables an EGL user to identify a folder instead of individual EGLAR files.   This will make the management and usage of EGLAR files easier
          • Greatly improved the performance of the debugger when invoking services during RUI application development.


          These will be covered in more detail through blogs after the RBD V9 shipment.   We also intend to hold a web conference that will cover both the numerous enhancements that have been shipped in the past few fixpacks/release, more details on what is being provided in V9, and a roadmap going forward.  

          For mobile, the development team is currently investigating what this will mean within RBD/EGL after having done the work with EDT.  Our goal is to provide supported capabilities in RBD/EGL no later than year-end (subject to change).  We welcome the continued input on what features/integrations you would like to see as we do this investigation so we can prioritize appropriately.

          In addition, as we shift our focus back from EDT to RBD/EGL, this enables us to put an increased emphasis on providing enhancements within RBD/EGL both driven by customer requirements and vision from the developers.  Through this, we will be able to protect the customer's investment in EGL through logical extensions of capabilities above what it can do today (e.g. mobile) and also to allow it to have currency in the large variety of deployment platforms.    As with any product, not all requested functions can be done at once, so over time, we will continue to work on those enhancements that provide the greatest benefit to the most customers in conjunction with the testing/changes required to remain current and compatible.    We have a talented set of developers that will continue to support the large EGL customer base and will also provide value add and vision to the future RBD/EGL.

          Finally, on the questions related to the Distance Learning,  we will work to get a session scheduled.
           

          • dan_darnell
            dan_darnell
            917 Posts
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            Re: Hear those bells tolling? RBD V9 offers what exactly?

            ‏2013-05-04T19:12:49Z  in response to markevans

             

            Hi Mark,

            Superb job replying to the questions and concerns that have been expressed about RBD/EGL since EDT went the way of the Dodo bird. Thank you.

            I am looking forward to reading the blog posts about the new features in RBD V9 that you mentioned.

            I am encouraged to hear that there is a planned "no later than year-end" goal to deliver supported mobile capabilities in RBD. My 2 cents worth is that, at a minimum, this would be a complete-as-possible Dojo Mobile implementation. A reasonable best-case would, IMHO, be Dojo Mobile for mobile web plus integrated PhoneGap for native mobile. (Best of all possible would be something better than Dojo Mobile as a mobile foundation for EGL -- Sencha Touch or jQuery Mobile -- but I realize that this is fantasy-land thinking given the current degree of integration with Dojo in EGL.) In addition -- although my griping so far has mainly been about the lack of mobile support in EGL -- there is gaping hole in EGL where HTML5 support is concerned. This must also be addressed if RBD/EGL is to fully regain relevance as a web development platform. You would knock some socks off to deliver mobile AND HTML5 in your end-of-year target.

            One of the best things about the EDT effort was the way that the development team conveyed their progress through the http://xeglblog.blogspot.com/ site. Assuming that the likes of Matt, Joe, Brian, and Ben are still working in the EGL space, it would be great to have them continue to engage with the community through regular, short updates.

            Thank you again for taking the time to address concerns and I can't wait for a web conference to be scheduled so that we can hear even more about current and future plans for RBD/EGL.

            --Dan

            • markevans
              markevans
              2521 Posts
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              Re: Hear those bells tolling? RBD V9 offers what exactly?

              ‏2013-05-07T18:16:30Z  in response to dan_darnell


              Thanks again for all the input.   We will try to be as open as we can for a non-open source product.

               

              take care.

              Mark