10 Reasons You Should Use an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for OpenVMS Development

Integrated Development Environment.  Chances are you are familiar with the term but have you ever thought about using an IDE for OpenVMS development?  Consider NXTware Remote, the industry’s first Eclipse tool designed especially for OpenVMS.  The NXTware Remote IDE automates time-consuming tasks and makes developers with little-to-no OpenVMS experience more productive and comfortable—without extensive training.  The result?  Increased productivity for IT organizations and the flexibility they need to better manage resources across departments and skill sets.

There are many reasons why you should use an IDE for OpenVMS Development.  Here are 10 we think you will find useful:

1. Parsing

Using the parsing function, source code can be divided into sections.  This makes navigation between sections easy.  Instead of searching for a name, you can press the section name on the outline tab. Parsing also enables you to sort section names alphabetically.

2. Syntax Highlighting

Syntax highlighting allows you to emphasize certain words with a different color or font style.

3. Source Code Templates

Instead of writing the same programs numerous times, you can define common source code templates once a program is completed.  Input, constant and cursor position variables can be added to a source code template.

4. Search & Replace

This function allows you to search for and replace text on different levels including workspace, a set of chosen components, current project or current file.  The results are displayed on the search view and you click on the name to access the results.  In addition, in the search scope, the match text will be highlighted on all of the files.

5. Bookmarks

With the bookmark function, you can mark a single file or a single line inside a file.  All of the defined bookmarks are then displayed in the Bookmarks view.

6. Content Assist

Content assist enables auto completion of reserved words or local variables when you write the prefix of the word and press Ctrl+ Space key.  In addition to shortening the time it takes to type and the overall development process, user templates for auto completion can be defined to ease up the development process.

7. Mirror Files

The mirror file function allows you to open a file several times in the same editor.  The open files are synchronized so you can work on different parts of the same file simultaneously.

8. Editor Preferences

Editor preferences are a set of menus that allow you to control the configuration and visualization of the current editor.  Different file types can be associated with different editors.

9. Macros

The macro plug-in component enables you to record a set of operations completed on the editor and then repeat the operations as needed.  The recorded operation set can also be saved for you to use later.

10. Keyboard Shortcuts

Shorten the editing process with keyboard shortcuts.  The shortcuts can be viewed or defined for common editor operations.

The next time you need to develop on OpenVMS, consider using an IDE.

Increase Development Output with Cross-functional Development Teams

A common issue we hear from clients is “we like our application but our developers don’t have the necessary skills.” Many companies are running applications that were built by programmers who have since left the company.  Their current programmers are highly skilled but are not familiar with the language the original programmers used.  Instead of hiring new developers or replacing the application, the companies want to find a solution that enables their developers to work on the application.

If this situation sounds familiar, NXTware Remote might be the solution your company is looking for.  The following scenario demonstrates how one company used NXTware Remote to solve the problem of aligning developers, projects and skills:

Alex is a manager at a mutual insurance company.  His team of Java developers engineered new applications using Java and the Eclipse Integrated Development Environment (IDE) on Windows and Linux-based computers but did not have the skills to work on the OpenVMS platform. 

Due to the small number of COBOL and C programmers in the company, Alex began evaluating his options.  He came up with three solutions: replace the OpenVMS systems, hire new C and COBOL programmers or find a solution that enabled his team to work on OpenVMS.  The company decided the third option was ideal.  They would find a solution that enabled Alex’s team to work on OpenVMS, had an Eclipse IDE and enabled remote development on OpenVMS Alpha/Integrity servers.

Looking for the most cost-effective and functional solution, management turned to eCube and its NXTware Remote product.  With NXTware Remote, Alex’s developers can be more productive using the skills they already have.

After implementing NXTware Remote, the company improved development productivity.   Now, Alex’s team can develop on OpenVMS platforms using the skills they already have.

Learn more about this project and its outcome in our NXTware Remote Case Study

If you are interested in getting more out of your development teams and your existing applications contact us.  We are helping companies like yours modernize their development processes and tools so they can be more productive and lower the cost of bringing new developers on board.

New Eclipse Tools for OpenVMS and Oracle RDB Certified by eCube Systems to Work with NXTware Remote

NXTware Remote is now certified to work with DBeaver, the universal database tool plugin for Eclipse.  When it is teamed with NXTware Remote’s powerful editors and debugger, DBeaver provides broad productivity benefits to users who previously used non-visual tools to communicate with RDB.

For more information, please refer to our press release.

OpenVMS Uncertainty

There’s a lot of uncertainty in the HP OpenVMS space right now. Although HP has reassured the market that it will be in the OpenVMS business until at least 2020, it is not committed to the latest Intel chipset, called Poulson. This has caused a good deal of teeth gnashing and valid concern about the long-term viability of assets running on OpenVMS.

However, one thing is clear when we talk to our customers: they have absolute confidence in the quality and value of their people and their business logic. These are the things they believe they need to invest in to succeed in the current environment and prosper with whatever technology comes next.

At eCube Systems, we see ourselves playing a role in maximizing current use of OpenVMS and enabling customers to move forward with confidence. NXTware Remote, our Eclipse-based integrated development environment, enables users to get the most out of their development teams now and to better manage their existing business logic. As importantly, the implementation of NXTware Remote for OpenVMS means that our users ‘ existing development processes and business logic can be easily and systematically transitioned to Linux or UNIX ,if ever needed.

In an uncertain world, improving today’s productivity is a valuable benefit – adding agility and positioning to meet tomorrow’s changing landscape is a requirement.

eCube Systems Announces New Scripting Editors and RMS Support for NXTware Remote for OpenVMS

eCube Systems announced general availability of new OpenVMS scripting editors and RMS support for NXTware Remote 4.2. The NXTware Remote Integrated Development Environment (IDE) automates time-consuming tasks and allows developers, even those with little-to-no OpenVMS experience, to be comfortable and productive without extensive training.

For more information, please refer to our press release.

NXTware Remote Advanced Editor Functions

In our last post, we talked about the advantages of NXTware Remote and ICC’s view on 5 of NXTware’s advanced editor functions (parsing, syntax highlighting, source code templates, search & replace, and bookmarks.  In this post we will discuss 5 more advanced editor functions: content assist, mirror files, editor preferences, macros, and keyboard shortcuts.

NXTware Remote Advanced Editor Function 1: Content Assist
Content assist enables auto completion of reserved words or local variables by writing the prefix of the word and pressing Ctrl + Space key.  Auto completion shortens the time it takes to type and the overall development process.  In addition, user templates for auto completion can also be defined to ease up the development process.  According to ICC, they have “more time to concentrate on the logic rather than technical typing.”

NXTware Remote Advanced Editor Function 2: Mirror Files
With mirror files, a single file can be opened several times in the same editor.  The open files are synchronized and a developer can work on different parts of the same file at the same time.  One part of the file can be changed by looking at a different part of the same file.  According to ICC, “it is easier to copy something you already wrote.”

NXTware Remote Advanced Editor Function 3: Editor Preferences
Editor preferences are a set of menus that allow you to control the configuration and visualization of the current editor.  For VMS compliance, a fixed font size must be used and the Tab length must be set to 8 characters.  Different file types can be associated with different editors.

NXTware Remote Advanced Editor Function 4: Macros
A macro is a plug-in component that enables you to record a set of operations completed on the editor and then repeat the operations as needed.  The recorded operation set can also be saved for you to use later.  According to ICC, macros are “very useful when we need to mark several lines at the beginning.”

NXTware Remote Advanced Editor Function 5: Keyboard Shortcuts
Keyboard shortcuts can be viewed or defined for common editor operations.  By pressing Ctrl + Shift+ L, you can get a list of all of the existing keyboard shortcuts.  Using keyboard shortcuts will shorten the editing process.

Why NXTware Remote?

Why NXTware Remote?  If your company is considering using NXTware Remote you may be asking yourself this question.  We could list a bunch of features that eCube finds important but we think it would be more beneficial if you knew what features our clients find the most beneficial.

At the 2013 OpenVMS Boot Camp, ICC conducted a presentation on our behalf.  With 50 developers using NXTware Remote, they can provide a unique view on the product.  ICC believes there are two major NXTware Remote advantages:

  1. NXTware Remote comes with advanced editors that increase and improve the quality of the source code developed.  Advanced editor functions identify errors on the code as they are written, parse the source into meaningful parts, and allow content assist of code and templates.
  2. The development process is done on the familiar and universal IDE of Eclipse and because of its plug-in architecture, integration with many advanced products and tools is allowed.

In this post we will discuss ICC’s opinions on 5 of NXTware Remote’s advanced editor functions: parsing, syntax highlighting, source code templates, search & replace, and bookmarks.  In a future post we will talk about content assist, mirror files, editor preferences, macros, and keyboard shortcuts.

NXTware Remote Advanced Editor Function 1: Parsing
The first advanced editor function identified by ICC is parsing.  With parsing, source code is divided into sections that are displayed next to the editor on the outline tab.  This makes it easier to navigate between sections because you can press the section name on the outline tab.  You can also sort the section names in alphabetic order.  According to ICC there is “no need for a long search, just click.”

NXTware Remote Advanced Editor Function 2: Syntax Highlighting
The second advanced editor function ICC mentioned is syntax highlighting.  Syntax highlighting emphasizes the reserved words in the source code.  The emphasized words are displayed in a different color or font style configured by the user.  According to ICC, “the code is displayed in a more clearer and understandable way and the different words that construct it can be easily noticed.”

NXTware Remote Advanced Editor Function 3: Source Code Templates
Source code templates allow you to define common source code templates that are repeated several times.  Input, constant, and cursor position variables can be added to a template.  Once a program is completed, it can be defined as a template.  As ICC says, “why write the same thing over and over again?”

NXTware Remote Advanced Editor Function 4: Search & Replace
By pressing Ctrl + H, you can search for and replace text.  The search can be done on different levels including workspace, a set of chosen components, current project, or current file.  The search results are displayed on the search view and are reachable when you press them. In the search scope, the match text will be highlighted on all of the files.

NXTware Remote Advanced Function 5: Bookmarks
Bookmarks allow you to mark a single file or a single line inside a file.  All of the defined bookmarks are displayed in the Bookmarks view.  To access a single bookmark, you can click on it in the Bookmarks view.

OpenVMS/VMS Gain Enhanced Visual Debugger, Improved Developer Experience, and Advanced Security Features with eCube’s Release of NXTware Remote for OpenVMS 4

eCube Systems recently announced the release of NXTware Remote for OpenVMS 4.0, the latest version of the Eclipse-based remote development tool.  With the NXTware Remote Integrated Development Environment, time-consuming tasks are automated and developers, even those with little-to-no OpenVMS experience, are more productive and comfortable without extensive training. Some of the new features in NXTware Remote for OpenVMS 4.0 are an enhanced visual debugger, an improved developer experience, and advanced security features.

For more information, please refer to our press release.

On Our Radar in 2013: Part One

There will be many unexpected developments in 2013 so our job is to be prepared.  Of course, experience is the best preparation.  Our experience and work with Fortune 1000 companies in 2012 put several important trends on our radar.  The trends represent challenges and opportunities but we are prepared to help your company make decisions to drive value.

As we see important trends pop-up on our radar, we will share them with you here.  So far, trends we are noticing involve continued industry consolidation, the impact of 64-bit technology, and the difficulties companies are having responding to business change with legacy CASE tools like COOL:Gen.

Industry Consolidation

Industry consolidation will continue to generate consequences for enterprises that have related strategic applications.  Although the specific impact on operations is hard to predict, systems built on pre-SOA middleware need to be especially agile with the changes of ownership and/or philosophy in the JAVA and CORBA middleware markets that occurred in 2012.  Our focus on integration, consulting, and development tools, based on open standards like Eclipse and our NXTware Remote platform, will help users manage these challenges with the greatest adaptability.

64-bit Technology

64-bit technology has been around for years but library changes made by operating system and database vendors will force the recompilation of more legacy applications in 2013.  Because 64-bit libraries cannot be compiled with 32-bit libraries, the recompilations are more extensive and have wider ranges of dependencies.  Based on our experience, you can expect these projects to be more complex and demanding.  Thorough assessments are key to the success of these projects as they help ensure the most effective path is taken to 64-bit support.

Transition away from COOL:Gen and related Legacy CASE tools

The third trend we have noticed involves legacy COBOL applications built with Computer Aided Software Engineering (CASE) systems like COOL:Gen (aka Advantage:Gen and AllFusion Gen).  These applications are loosing the ability to respond to business change.  Firms using this technology will be forced to look at converting these applications into standard formats that can be more easily maintained.  For years, companies have tried to convert these systems to Java or another contemporary language.  However, the cost and complexity of this approach is proving to be too much.  In 2013, we believe that companies will choose a simpler solution and move to the standard easily maintainable COBOL.  This quarter, we will be introducing new solutions in this area.

We are positioned to help customers make these transitions and face whatever technological challenges 2013 may bring.  As more trends pop-up, we will discuss them here.