One of the most daunting tasks ahead of new developers on mainframes is learning all of the operating system dependent infrastructure necessary to do compiles, test suites, and debugging of the code when errors occur. Getting up to speed on that requires a large investment of time and most companies these days don’t have the robust training departments they used to have in the past. Most newbie developers don’t know mainframes like OpenVMS (and don’t really care to if they can avoid it). So the chances of finding top rated talent with this knowledge from college or out in the market are very low. If by chance you manage to find one, they are usually turned off by all of the antiquated job control language they have to learn.
The Common Challenge:
How do you attract and keep new mainframe developers when there are so many more modern agile development systems out there with a more contemporary interface?
You make your development environment more modern and provide all of the agile tools developers like: syntax highlighting, code assist, integrated compile and link, integrated debugger and integrated source control. These are the tools new developers need to thrive in their new environment and make them successful. Just as important as the interface is the ability to integrate the desktop and the mainframe in a fast, distributed developer environment. Without this, you are simply developing on a desktop and sending the source code over the network to compile and verify with scripts. By using the distributed developer environment NXTware Remote based on the powerful Eclipse IDE you gain the advantages of a standard IDE with the integration to the mainframe.
In a distributed development environment there are many advantages for both the manager AND the newbie developer:
- A modern interface ensures rapid assimilation of the new infrastructure by new developers. By using the Eclipse standard interface for your development environment, you can abstract the infrastructure into menus, list boxes and wizards with one click functionality. The developer can quickly learn your environment and make progress on what you are paying them for: development.
- Adopt agile development teams to breathe new life into aging 3GL applications; enabling scrums to make changes easily, one-click compiles and integrated testing or automated builds just as easy as other platforms.
- Integration with DevOps deploy and manage functionality with NXTware Deploy and NXTmonitor makes it easy for new developers to deploy and test in an enterprise environment. With integration of your standard compile scripts into Eclipse menus, a newbie developer can be compiling and running existing applications within hours of introduction into this environment.
- Ease of use: a distributed interface with familiar Eclipse screens in NXTware Remote makes mainframe based source projects on the desktop easier to develop with. Abstracting much of the infrastructure they need to use to develop and test code minimizes the knowledge required to develop on this platform.
- Assist the learning process for 3GLs with Code assist and code complete; provide syntax highlighting editors to help newbie developers on 3GLs learn the language quicker.
- Integration of newer technology with legacy systems is made easier in NXTware Remote, which supports both.
With a modern IDE like Eclipse, you have access to all kinds of management tools like software project management plugins and reviewer projects.
- Increase productivity by providing leading edge tools for developers and giving them an environment which keeps them more engaged leads to longer retention and developing more innovative features for the user community.
- In addition to superior developer tools, integrated software development project management tools in Eclipse enables managers to use the same interface and manage the project manager’s control of tasks, enable project reviews and provide timely feedback from developers.
- IDEs display more information in a more compact, easily read medium and multi-frame environment enables developers to quickly fix problems in less time and more efficiently.
- By allowing junior developers to quickly learn a new environment, it frees up your senior developers to work on blue field projects and analysis on how to improve existing software assets.
- Time is always the biggest issue development managers have on mainframes like OpenVMS. By improving productivity with modern tools for the developers, the turn-around for new features is reduced, making Continuous Delivery a reality and this makes your company more competitive.
Helping bring in new developers is only one of many advantages of the NXTware Remote Solution. Reducing costs on development and increasing the speed of deployment of new applications are significant too. In addition, the systems department can see tangible benefits as well, and that is the subject of the next blog: The hidden advantages of using a distributed IDE for mainframe development.