Introducing the new Version 9 IDEs

A quick look at the latest IBM Rational integrated development environments


Our engineering teams have been working hard on the next releases of our integrated development environments (IDEs). In April 2013, we announced the new Version 9 IDEs at the IBM Impact conference in Las Vegas. They will be available starting June 14, with releases continuing into July. In addition to questions about the new features, we often get basic questions about why Rational continues to work so hard on IDEs. So this article offers a little insight to answer those questions.

What's important about IBM Rational IDEs

Companies are asking more than ever from their software and systems developers. Those developers are increasingly working in an incremental way to take maximum advantage of what they have on hand without sacrificing quality. A popular example of this is that developers are creating compelling mobile applications and tie them to back-end systems while using scrum project management methods or an agile process.

To build those multitier solutions, developers are increasingly hitting and crossing skill gaps to deliver integrated applications. Previously, they might have reinvented the wheel by using their favorite programming languages, tools, and platforms, rather than waiting for another team (on another plan) to get around to making necessary changes.

This is understandable when you consider that the desire to quickly create and deploy a great idea generates strong impulses in many developers. And because software is increasingly at the heart of business innovation, the people who build that software are reaching for more freedom to create. Yet they also want to increase their use of strong, repeatable tools and processes to keep that creativity on track.

But as business and software innovation begin to overlap more fully, there are serious risks introduced when uncoordinated, individual excellence leads to fragmented architectures and the kind of "tunnel vision," where someone can't see the whole picture (for example, not accounting for disaster recovery, regulatory audits, or infrastructure maintenance).

One of our goals with our tools for developers is to help elevate that individual excellence to the whole organization. We want to enable teams to truly learn and create together while building on what they already have. When you watch developers at work, you find that they spend a great deal of time using IDEs to investigate application code, edit code, and then validate those edits. Every improvement that an IDE can bring to the work of a developer can quickly grow to mean a lot to that person, to the team, and even to the company.

From an upgrade perspective, IBM Rational IDEs deliver two levels of improvements to assist these developers every hour, every day: evolution and revolutionary improvements.

Evolutionary improvements

Our IDEs constantly evolve to match the available servers and systems that our clients depend on. For example, we upgrade our support of Java, HTML, COBOL, or the supported versions of IBM® WebSphere® Application Server, Java Enterprise Edition (JEE), IBM® CICS®, and the supported versions of Linux, Microsoft Windows, and so forth. By keeping pace with the environments and requirements that developers need to work with, we can keep them working in a familiar and productive way. IDE evolution doesn't stop there. We also work to speed up the IDEs and help them work efficiently under various conditions. For example, we enhance context-sensitive completion suggestions to offer more relevant and concise options.

Revolutionary improvements

We add new use cases for debugging, new use cases for creating new artifacts and targeting new devices, such as smartphones and tablets. We embed intelligence in the IDEs to help developers write fast, efficient code and identify the code that isn't so efficient. For developers who are using a new language for the first time — perhaps JavaScript, COBOL, JCL, or RPG — we add valuable assistance to guide them around the code base and help them write changes that meet pragmatic and stylistic guidelines about how that code should look. It's a powerful aspect of our IDEs: Every day, developers around the world connect new ideas to valuable, trusted back-end services. All of this is from within a cohesive environment that's "built for purpose'" to help developers get the job done and increase their personal expertise.

Collaborative development

One additional point: Our IDEs are tailored to enable collaborative development between teams and among team members. Whether you want to continuously integrate the work of another development team, send fresh builds to QA teams, or use on-demand, cloud-based development environments that your operations teams have made available, you'll find help within our IDEs. They'll help you reach those goals while staying focused on your creative development work.

Quick overview of the new lineup of Rational IDEs

We've been busy, and there are some name changes. Here's the lineup:

  • IBM® Rational® Application Developer for WebSphere Software, Version 9.0
  • IBM® Rational® Developer for System z, Version 9.0
  • IBM Rational Developer for i, Version 9.0
  • IBM Rational Developer for AIX and Linux, Version 9.0
  • IBM Rational Business Developer, Version 9.0
  • IBM Rational Developer for the Enterprise, Version 9.0

Notes about names:

  • IBM Rational Developer for i and IBM Rational Developer for AIX and Linux were previously licensed as various editions of IBM® Rational® Developer for Power Systems Software™ or as IBM Rational Developer for i for SOA Construction. The new names are more clear and descriptive, because the purpose of the IDEs are tied more strongly to the operating systems, languages, and middleware that they support, rather than to hardware architecture. The goal is that, with these new names, developers can more easily know what to reach for as they approach each new project.
  • In the recent past, we've offered IBM® Rational® Developer for zEnterprise®. That has changed to IBM Rational Developer for the Enterprise, which has a broader reach. With this new offering, you can work across more of the platforms and operating systems that your multitier applications are built upon.

The sections that follow provide details about each of these.

What's new Rational Application Developer, V9.0

We've enhanced support for latest releases of WebSphere Application Server and the Liberty profile, which enables more rapid development for distributed applications. This includes new tools for creating your own Liberty extensions.

Version 9.0 continues to support WebSphere Application Server V8.0 and V7.0, as well as WebSphere Portal V8.0 (the embedded test environment).

We've streamlined the use cases for build and deployment with Apache Maven integration and enhanced OSGi, Contexts and Dependency Injection (CDI), and SCA tool support:

  • Support for bundle-level updates to OSGi applications (for finer-grained control and improved publishing performance)
  • Enhancements to Maven integration, most notably OSGi project conversion
  • Improvements to CDI tools
Figure 1. Maven support
Maven features, Enterprise Explorer view

You will find broadened and improved productivity for multitier and web mobile application development:

  • Enhanced integration with IBM® Worklight Studio Version 6.0, with Worklight Studio included in the WebSphere edition
  • Enhancements to the web and mobile development tools, including new support for jQuery libraries (see Figure 2)

And of course, when you are building multichannel applications, the back-end systems that they rely upon should be exposed as services in a service-oriented architecture (SOA). So we've also improved support for SOA:

  • New tools for developing secure Java API for XML web services (JAX-WS) that target the Liberty profile
  • New service mapping tools that provide a simple and intuitive way of mapping and routing between services deployed to WebSphere Application Server V8.5.5
  • Service Component Architecture (SCA) tool enhancements, including an import wizard
Figure 2. jQuery mobile support
Colored syntax support for jQuery mobile code
Colored syntax support for jQuery mobile code

For analyzing and optimizing the performance of your applications, you can use the new sampling-based profiling capabilities that are integrated with the Health Center tool from IBM Monitoring and Diagnostic Tools for Java (see the links in the Related topics section for more information). Now you can create a low-impact profile of your apps to identify potential trouble spots. Then you can drill into those with the full trace-based profiling (which Rational Application Developer for WebSphere has included for many years) to discover r what might be wrong, in detail.

You'll also find enhanced support for IBM Workload Deployer, IBM® PureApplication System, and IBM® SmartCloud environments:

  • Enhancements for developing and deploying Workload Deployer, PureApplication System, and SmartCloud workloads, including an option to selectively import utility archives as either individual projects or as utility Java archive files (JARs).
  • Eclipse currency and ecosystem compatibility:
    • Supports Eclipse 4.2, the Juno release
    • Installer now uses Eclipse p2 metadata

What's new in Rational Developer for System z, V9.0

Version 9.0 of the System z edition will deliver a wealth of improvements across many fronts. From day-to-day tasks, such as JCL editing, SQL tuning, and unit testing, to strong support of the latest COBOL and CICS releases, Version 9.0 includes many improvements:

  • Automated zUnit simplification
  • Advanced JCL tools
  • Headless code review and code coverage
  • Improved cross-language consistency
  • Improved interfaces with the Rational solution for Collaborative Lifecycle Management (CLM) and some application lifecycle management (ALM) tools from other companies
  • Rational Team Concert user build support through Rational Developer for System z interfaces
  • Integrated access to IBM® Data Studio capabilities
Figure 3. Advanced JCL tools
context-sensitive Quick Fix assistance in editor
context-sensitive Quick Fix assistance in editor

Work with the latest IBM hardware and runtime environments:

  • Current with CICS Transaction Server (CICS TS) 5.1
  • Integrations with optimizing compilers
  • Support for Microsoft Windows 8 workstations
  • Eclipse currency and environment compatibility
    • Supports Eclipse 4.2, the Juno release
    • Installer now uses Eclipse p2 metadata
Figure 4. Integrated access to Data Studio capabilities
Drop-down menu to choose query-tuning operations
Drop-down menu to choose query-tuning operations

What's new in Rational Developer for AIX and Linux, V9.0

Rational Developer for AIX and Linux took a strong revolutionary step with V9. Now, developers can smoothly use x86 developer workstations for core development and to port workloads to AIX and Linux on IBM Power architectures:

  • Support for core application development on x86 Linux, plus porting of the resultant workloads to, and optimization for, AIX or Linux on Power systems, as you prefer.
  • Support for these scenarios aligns with the use of IBM® PureFlex™ System, which is built on elements of the IBM® Flex System™, to support flexible combinations of x86 and Power architectures.

Many other improvements to the IDE are also coming with V9:

  • Broadened capabilities of the Performance Advisor feature and support for the COBOL language and basic profiling capabilities for Java technology.
  • Support for a new command-line debugger to make it easy for dbx users to make the transition to the Rational Developer GUI. The new line debugger supports a large subset of the dbx command set and enables the command-line debug session to connect to a running Rational Developer client. This supports visual debugging in parallel with command-line debugging. Thus, the user can control the debugger from a command line on the host or from the Rational Developer for AIX and Linux debug console.
  • A rich subset of the IBM Rational Application Developer for WebSphere Software, including support for the latest version of the WebSphere Application Server Liberty profile and enhancements to tools for developing web and mobile web application front-ends.
  • IBM Worklight Studio V6.0 is included to add support for developing hybrid mobile applications. With the combination of the Worklight capabilities, the subset of IBM Rational Application Developer for WebSphere Software capabilities, and its native capabilities.
  • Significant improvements to Remote Systems Explorer qualities of service, such as improved responsiveness, availability of a Cancel action for more operations, and reduced consumption of server-side memory.
  • Command-line code coverage support (enables integration of this support into automated build environments).
  • Includes IBM Data Studio.
  • Current Eclipse environment compatibility
    • Supports Eclipse 4.2, the Juno release
    • Installer now uses Eclipse p2 metadata

What's new in Rational Developer for i, V9.0

The IBM i development environment has reclaimed its previous name: Rational Developer for i (often informally called RDi). It is available in three editions:

  • RPG and COBOL tools (which also supports C, C++, CL, DDS, and SQL development)
  • RPG and COBOL + Modernization Tools, Java Edition
  • RPG and COBOL + Modernization Tools, EGL Edition

Many usability and reliability improvements are included in Version 9. A few examples follow.

RPG editor improvements:

  • Improved hover for procedures with call signature
  • Mixed-case preference that is supported by the live Content Assist feature.
  • The editor now traverses back and forward to lines visited during an edit session (which enables users to hyperlink to a definition and then return to where they were coding).
Figure 5. Improved hover for procedures with call signature
segment of the editor view shows RPG source code
segment of the editor view shows RPG source code

Rational Developer for i RPG and COBOL + Modernization Tools, Java Edition:

  • Includes IBM Worklight Studio V6.0 to add support for developing hybrid mobile applications.
  • Also includes a significant subset of Rational Application Developer for WebSphere, and it includes IBM Data Studio, all in addition to extensive support for compiled languages development on IBM i. As such, this edition now provides a complete solution for developing multitier, multichannel applications that integrate with back-end systems implemented in IBM i systems.

Eclipse currency and environment compatibility:

  • Supports Eclipse 4.2, the Juno release
  • Installer now uses Eclipse p2 metadata

What's new in Rational Business Developer, V9.0

This is a partial list of new features in version 9.0:

  • Support for WebSphere Application Server V8.5.5, including support for the Liberty profile
  • Compatibility with Rational Application Developer for WebSphere Software V9.0
  • Compatibility with Rational Developer for System z V9.0
  • Compatibility with Rational Developer for i V9.0
  • Compatibility with Rational Developer for AIX and Linux V9.0
  • Enhanced support for IBM® DB2® rowset processing
  • Enhanced support for headless builds and generation

What's new in Rational Developer for the Enterprise, V9.0

We like to say that it is "a comprehensive solution that spans the key languages and platforms that our clients rely on." That's certainly a mouthful. Put more simply, it essentially glues all of our IDEs together into a single offering. It includes the following applications:

  • Rational Application Developer for WebSphere Software 9.0
  • Rational Developer for System z 9.0
  • Rational Developer for i RPG and COBOL tools 9.0
  • Rational Developer for AIX® and Linux C/C++ Edition 9.0
  • Rational Developer for AIX and Linux AIX COBOL Edition 9.0
  • Rational Business Developer 9.0

Learn more on the Rational Developer for the Enterprise overview page.

Here are several key points about Version 9:

  • Enables development of COBOL, PL/I , C/C++, high-level Assembler, EGL, Java, and Java Enterprise Edition applications for z/OS batch, CICS, IMS, WebSphere, DB2, mobile, web, and cloud, and supports SOA and web service creation that spans z/OS, Linux, and AIX environments
  • Takes advantage of the latest compiler-hardware optimizations
  • Works with the latest execution environments
  • Integrates, through best practices, to the broader enterprise modernization solutions
  • Includes built-in code analytics and governance facilities
  • Enables location-independent code development
  • Integrates mobile development support
  • Provides shared infrastructure and common behaviors across the IDE offerings

And this bonus point:
For enterprises that require IDEs to support a broad range of languages and platforms, the pricing of Rational Developer for the Enterprise represents a deep implicit discount compared to buying multiple licenses for the other IDEs separately.


When used to create and maintain applications, these new IDEs:

  • Help enhance speed, agility, and quality
  • Help optimize applications for various target platforms and middleware
  • Support a variety of tools and techniques for maintaining and extending key business assets held in the form of COBOL, PL/I, and RPG applications
  • Represent a complete solution for creating multitier, multichannel applications that support a wide variety of client devices and influence a variety of back-end systems
  • Continue IBM's commitment to the Eclipse platform

More articles and demonstrations should begin to appear as we near the official availability of the IDEs in June and July 2013.

Downloadable resources

Related topics


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Zone=Rational, DevOps, Mobile development
ArticleTitle=Introducing the new Version 9 IDEs