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Two Dev Editors for One Classic Platform

Brian-EdminsterAs we created our November print issue of the 3000 NewsWire, one of the Q&A subjects, Brian Edminster, gave us a photo of himself in front of a pair of monitors. Each had a different development editor: Robelle's Qedit for Windows, which hardly needs any introduction to 3000 users, who've deployed Qedit since the 1980s and continue to support it in its Windows incarnation; and Programmer Studio -- which, alas, saw its creators Whisper Technology go dark several years ago.

Edminster, who's stocking the HP 3000's community's open source repository, told us he likes both tools, enough to have a paid license for each. (Programmer's Studio had a free trial option that created a lot of shadow customers.) Using his HP 3000 terminal emulator from WRQ, Edminster notes

I've got two Reflection windows open to sessions on different systems on the left monitor, and Programmer Studio on the right (yes, it's kinda like MPE/iX -- no longer maintained, but it works just fine), and about a dozen other apps either web-based or other. I can't even imagine working on a traditional 'green-screen' to do programming anymore. There are good features of both -- but Qedit for Windows is more like a stand-alone editor that uses the Windows GUI. Each has its strengths.

Edminster gave us a rundown on his toolbox for development in 3000 environments and beyond.

Programmer Studio is much more like a conventional IDE -- something that programmers from other platforms (especially Windows) would find more familiar. Both it and Qedit do syntax highlighting/coloring. I like the one-button compiler integration with PStudio (where it can display the source code and after a compile with errors -- position you at each error so you can fix them, then f4 to take you to the next error, etc). It also, for certain languages (C, and COBOL, at least) shows a structure of the program in window on the left allows very easy navigation of the source.

The Regular Expression searches capability is really great too -- not just within a file, but across entire directories of files. I use this often to find references to variables across an entire source library. The results are shown in a 'find results' window. If you double-click on the found line, it'll open the code in another tab, positioning the cursor to that line.

By the way, for people that have to edit files on servers that don't allow FTP access, but do allow ssh/sftp access, there's a third party add-on I found called ExpanDrive (www.ExpanDrive.com).  It's a tool that works on both Macs and Windows to allow 'mounting' file systems on your workstation - and just about any workstation software can then access them.  This has allowed me to use PStudio in places where I wouldn't have, otherwise.   I've mentioned this on the 3000-L a while ago.

I haven't had a chance to play with it yet, but there's a multi-platform open source IDE that's functionally similar to PStudio called Eclipse, a Java-based IDE with plug-in architecture (allows adding functionality/features) that runs under Linux, Mac OS/X, and WIndows.  Unfortunately PStudio is not extensible via plug-ins like Eclipse is -- even though it does have a 'tools' menu -- to allow adding limited integration of external tools. Eclipse is designed such that plug-ins are fully integrated, and can essentially transform how the tool works. Pretty amazing stuff. And yes, there are a number of plug-ins that facilitate working with COBOL, as well a multitude for Java and other more recent languages.