After sitting in a number of the SiD sessions at the international i-Power event this year, one key fact I took away is “you really need to get off SEU.” However, I’m a little cost-averse so can’t quite justify jumping straight to RDi, luckily the open source community is ready to step into that gap.
You might’ve read Andy Youens’ article a couple of years ago about Orion and as a matter of fact he also posted one about VS Code after I’d started writing this. Today I’d like to talk to you about another option that I’ve been playing with called ILEditor. I happened to stumble upon it reading a post from the Common website and would like to share my experiences going from green-screen into the modern era. I’ll also be the first to admit that means I haven’t used some of the features (what’s this nonsense about storing source on the IFS 😉 )
For those of you interested straight away the link is here: https://worksofbarry.com/ileditor/
ILEditor is primarily developed by Liam Allan. The installer is nice and straight forward “download and double click on setup” material, although I did have a slight disagreement with Windows Defender when it tried to block me. Once I’ve explained I’m not interested in Microsoft’s opinion, I’m into setting up my hosts.
One small downside is the fact that all transactions are done via FTP (or FTP SSL.) One of my customers doesn’t like leaving FTP running on their server, so I’ll have to have a chat to them about putting some programs over their exit points to give them peace of mind. Clouds and silver lining, an excellent excuse to push that discussion and improve the security of their POWER system while I’m here!
The first time you open a connection you’ll be warned that because of the method used for transferring the source the SRCDAT won’t be retained. Not a major thing, and something that might change when ILEditor2 becomes available. Completely off-topic but I like Trello as a project organizer so the software immediately gets bonus points for that.
Once in you get greeted by the welcome screen along with a toolbox for your basic functions such as browsing IFS/members and setting up your library list / connection / compilation settings. One thing I personally recommend is enabling “Dark Mode”, makes me feel a little more at home moving off my 5250 interface but to each their own.
When editing source, options are available for highlighting in most of your common languages. This is really handy for someone taking their first steps into full free-format usage. Being on SEU for so long I’m used to my /free tags and leaving my declarations in fixed format so having some obvious colouring to confirm I’ve typed the code right never hurts.
Another nice little option is the ability to have spaces highlighted as dots, so if you are still working on fixed-format and need an obvious “put it in position 29” you can track how far you’ve got.
You can also have multiple instances of ILEditor running at once, which brings me onto one of the side benefits I’ve now got. I keep my master source on a V7 machine but sometimes have to push out updates to V5. Obviously, I can’t do it via savefiles so I’ve been doing all kinds of “copy source member to text file, ftp that down to my PC, ftp it to the other box, copy it back into source member, fix all the formatting that broke in the middle” or even worse “copy and paste from one 5250 session to another”. Because I can have multiple instances of ILEditor running good old Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V gets my source across in a heartbeat.
Relating to the above, although some of the functions do require a more recent flavour of the O/S I’ve not hit many problems updating my code on V5Rx so the core functionality may well suit even those of us who can’t kick the customer up the rear-end to upgrade.
Also, as someone used to having to manually review my compile listing, the option to have an error listing highlighting the problems and double click on it to be taken to that line is a real timesaver.
I’ve been a bit light on the real technical details as I’d encourage you all to read the original Common post, far more eloquent than I could hope to be, but hopefully this gives you some ideas on why I like this particular offering and will be watching where it goes in the future. I’m also glad that there are so many different offerings out there, when you want as many people on the platform as you can get it never hurts to have a selection to choose from.