December 20, 2012
What'll you use to code in the New Year?
A few weeks back we began to ask the 3000 community about its tools for development. Companies committed to the platform need to develop, as business opportunities arise, acquisitions close, or efficiencies of scale trigger changes. The answers from the developers using MPE/iX included many well-known tools.
But anything resembling a development environment, with change management or a workbench of testing tools, looked like an unknown in the first phase of our survey. There's code being cut and maintained, but lots of the change management is happening with the ol' noggin, as we suggested in the LinkedIn version of our poll. (Take a minute and tick a box there, to give us all even more data.)
Cortlandt Wilson, an independent consultant and contractor who's aided MANMAN customers for many years, watched the reports of Quad, Qedit, vi, Edit/3000 and more roll across the 3000-L replies. He believes there's more in the developers' toolbox that wasn't being mentioned.
"I wouldn't be surprised if others use some kind of Software Change Management or version control software on their PCs but didn't think to mention it," Wilson said. This is the kind of toolset that coders in the non-3000 worlds take on faith, because there are so many options there.Only one respondent among those who replied on the 3000 mailing list mentioned version control (SCM).
"It's what some software engineers call zero-eth level software engineering," Wilson said. "In other words, a very basic tool.
To give an example of life beyond MPE/iX, Wilson described his current setup.
I'm currently working on a small PC based (non-MPE/iX) project to reconstruct which Excel spreadsheets were updated -- a job that a proper SCM environment would track for us. Small software companies still repeat the same stupid mistakes even though the proper tools are much more ready to hand than they were with MPEiX. In this case, the company already uses an open-source project management system that includes SCM integration, but they won't authorize the time to hook it up.
Wilson added that automating the compile and link process is also part of the SCM process, an element that was mentioned by several respondents.
The potential for development doesn't demand stepping away from COBOL. Micro Focus has been making the case for years that COBOL doesn't make IT antique. Or as the company says, "just because it's old doesn't mean it can't be gold."
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