Like many other software organizations, the z Systems Software team at IBM has adopted DevOps practices to continuously deliver high quality innovative offerings. Using core elements of DevOps such as collaborative development, continuous testing, and continuous deployment have accelerated the delivery of IBM Developer for z Systems v14.1 (IDz). This latest release of IDz was designed and developed in conjunction with IBM compilers, IBM Z hardware and IBM middleware. Today IDz delivers day 1 support for the new z14 hardware, the z/OS V2.3 operating system, and the new Enterprise COBOL for z/OS V6.2 and Enterprise PL/I for z/OS V5.2 compilers.

Using COBOL 6.2 conditional compiler directives in the COBOL editor
Figure 1. – Using COBOL 6.2 conditional compiler directives in the COBOL editor

IDz v14.1 includes several enhancements that improve editor usability and can increase the productivity of developers. These enhancements include:

  • Column restricted search within the open editor
  • A vertical line indicating the cursor position
  • Validation that COBOL user-defined words do not exceed 30 bytes
  • A truncation warning for lines that exceed the maximum line length
  • The ability to refresh all dependencies for the source in the editor with a single action
  • Support for debugging lines when the WITH DEBUGGING MODE clause is used
  • Support for EXEC SQL INCLUDE when used with the Show Expanded Source feature
  • Simplified rectangular block copy-paste
  • An API allowing extenders to add a Quick Fix to the COBOL editor

Column restricted search, a vertical line at the cursor position, and support for WITH DEBUGGING MODE
Figure 2. – Column restricted search, a vertical line at the cursor position, and support for WITH DEBUGGING MODE

We recognize that IDz is at the center of mainframe application developer’s desktops and that many of these developer’s organizations are adopting DevOps themselves. With this in mind IDz version 14.1 continues to deliver capabilities allowing users to develop more code, faster and with higher quality.

Refactoring large monolithic source code into smaller reusable components can now be completed rapidly using new advanced refactoring tools for COBOL. Whether the goal is to improve maintainability, achieve modularity, or reuse business logic for new APIs and services, these new refactoring tools accelerate the time to value while also reducing the risk of potential manual errors.

COBOL Refactoring tools
Figure 3. – COBOL Refactoring tools

In order to reduce the risk for developers when making coding changes (refactoring or otherwise), Developer for z Systems can be integrated with IBM Application Discovery to enable in-context analysis from Remote Systems Explorer, CICS Explorer, and Data Source Explorer.

IBM Developer for z Systems also provides a code-driven, unit testing framework for Enterprise COBOL and Enterprise PL/I applications. z/OS Automated Unit Testing Framework (zUnit) provides an automated solution for executing and verifying Enterprise COBOL and Enterprise PL/I unit test cases that are generated using the zUnit framework. In previous releases test cases for programs that accessed VSAM or variable length files were limited to COBOL, however in version 14.1 this limitation has been lifted as PL/I also now supports these scenarios. In addition, description fields are now available to assist in providing documentation about test cases and test case entries.

Besides shifting testing to the left, another way developers can potentially catch bugs in their code during development is through static code analysis. IDz now provides integration with the SonarLint for Eclipse plug-in, providing developers whose organizations use SonarQube, with on-the-fly feedback while coding. This continuous feedback can prevent issues from becoming problems before application code is delivered.

If your organization does not use SonarQube, then the existing Software Analyzer feature of Developer for z Systems can be used. This feature enables code review against a defined set of rules to prevent coding errors and violation of organization standards. In IDz version 14.1, the PDF and HTML reports provided by the code review feature have been enhanced. These reports include new header and summary sections, show violations by file and by rule, and list all the rules and files used during a review session.

In addition to the aforementioned improvements to IDz, version 14.1 also includes several enhancements requested directly by our ever-growing user community. Such enhancements include:

  • Running edit macro primary commands from an open editor
  • Property Group management improvements
  • The ability to export the Data Elements table information to a .CSV file
  • A new option when viewing the Program Control Flow diagram
  • Support for EXEC SQL and EXEC CICS in the Data Flow diagram
  • Improvements for integration with software configuration management offerings such as Rational Team Concert and CA Endevor
  • Paging left and right in the System z Data Editor
  • Remote z/OS File Search support for the LNFMTO option

EXEC CICS support in the Data Flow diagram
Figure 4. – EXEC CICS support in the Data Flow diagram

Thank you to everyone that has submitted enhancement requests for Developer for z Systems in the past, please keep those great ideas coming. For anyone who is not familiar with our Request for Enhancement (RFE) process, you can find more information at the IBM RFE Community.

Finally, IBM Developer for z Systems V14.1 remains in step with other IBM Application Delivery Foundation for z Systems V3.1, CICS Explorer, and z/OS Explorer tools in our move to the Eclipse 4.6.3 (Neon) platform. In order to download the latest compatible levels of the IBM Explorer for z/OS Aqua software stack, visit the Mainframe Dev Center downloads page.

11 comments on"What’s new in IBM Developer for z Systems V14.1"

  1. I read about the news in IDz 14.1 and installed one to test.
    I can’t see:
    EXEC SQL support in Data Flow Diagram (PL/I)
    EXEC CICS support in Data Flow Diagram (PL/I)
    Export to CSV in “Show in table”
    Still a lot of strange messages in the “Error” view on startup.
    It would be nice if selecting more than one dataset and then press “New Filter” could put the selected ones in the filter-list. (New feature).

    Are there some cool stuff in 14.1 that 14.0.0.5 is missing? Can’t see why I should upgrade at the moment – but will need more time to play around with 14.1.
    Regards Peter

  2. Forgot: and no REXX editor…..

  3. Sorry about the “Export to CSV in Show table”. It is only in Data Elements this option was added. Well – please add in Show Table as well.
    The Control Flow now has a “Show from here to…” and then you can select the end point – nice one in a big program.

  4. would you please advise where to download IDz 14.1 package?

  5. When will Data Studio and MQ Explorer be available for Neon 4.6?

    • Hi Peter,
      Unfortunately the IBM legal team will not allow me to pre-announce the delivery of our offerings. All I can say is that the IBM Explorer for z/OS Aqua 3.1 software stack has the potential to be updated monthly. Based on past history we have typically delivered these updates closer to the end of the month than the beginning. Please check back near the end of November and December. I might also suggest downloading the IBM Doc Buddy app and subscribing to IBM Explorer for z/OS Aqua, that way you will receive notifications when the What’s New announcements for the month are published.

  6. Rajesh Ramaswamy July 11, 2018

    Does IDz have the annotation feature when a procedure division copybook is opened? Our shop uses a lot of shared code which resides in a procedure division copybook. It will be very useful if it can annotate variables, paragraphs in copybook code (just as it does for programs).

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