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Got Any IBM i Enhancement Ideas?

June 14, 2016

We've written before about the RFE (Request for Enhancement) process specifically for RDi. It's a simple way for RDi users like us to make suggestions for product improvements and cast votes for suggestions made by others. The process has been proven to work. All the recent releases of RDi listed the RFEs that were implemented. Of course, just because you think a suggestion is great and even if it has a respectable number of votes, it still may take a while to be implemented. For example, we still have our fingers crossed for the RDi RFE that has been at the top of our personal favorites list for a long time now - to be able to run RDi natively on our Macs.

At the time we wrote about it, the RFE process only worked for RDi (and RDP before it). Other aspects of the system, such as database, programming languages such as RPG, COBOL or CL, and other tools were not included. The news now is that the RFE process works for most aspects of our beloved platform. So even if you're not an RDi user, take a look at some suggested enhancements and vote for your favorites. So prepare your suggestions for RPG, DB2 for i, CL, system management, security or IFS or other components.

To give you an idea how it works, we'll use Jon's suggestion for an enhancement to RPG. That also gives us a chance for a little shameless lobbying for votes for it.

First, how do you find the specific RFE(s) you’re interested in? Go here for the IBM RFE Community. It can be challenging locating a specific area, so if you search and don't find any results, it may just be that you haven't found the right combination.

That happened to Susan when she tried to find Jon's RFE. First she used the Search tab (not the Overview tab). From there she chose the radio button to specify the brand, product family and product; then specified "Servers and Systems Software" as the Brand (as we did for RDi) and then chose the "Programming Languages" option under Product Family. From the Product list, she found "RPG Compiler". Hit the search button and ... no RFEs were found.

She went back to choose the "specify only the product" radio button and then put "RPG Compiler" into the Product box. Again, no RFEs were found. But she knew Jon's RFE was there and that there were others as well. But how to find them?

After a couple more attempts, she finally found the magic incantation. If you're searching for RFEs for the RPG language, here are a few tips.

From the Search tab, try the following combination:

Radio button: specify brand, product family, etc.

Brand: Servers and Systems Software

Product Family: Power Systems

Product: IBM i

Component: Languages - RPG

Bingo! That search located 9 RPG RFEs, including Jon's request to "Allow direct coding of nested data structures in free-form declarations (87967)" with its 47 votes at the time. Hopefully there will be more by the time you read this - feel free to add your vote while you're there!

Having finally found the right combination, Susan took the option to save the search because, chances are good that she won't remember the combination the next time she needs it. You may want to do the same.

One more interesting tidbit: if you put in the criteria listed above through Product, you can then a look at the other components for which RFEs are available for IBM i. Or you can specify "All components" and browse all of the IBM i related RFEs out there.

Strangely, one component we didn't find in that list was any form of Rational Developer (RDi or RDP). So to find the RFEs for RDi, which we’ve been monitoring for years, it’s quite a long list these days, it seems that the search criteria is different.

To find RDi RFEs we found that we needed to specify the same search criteria that we mentioned in our earlier article: Product Family = "Programming Languages" (not Power Systems, as above for the other IBM i components) and Product = "Developer for Power Systems" (yes, IBM is still using the wrong name!)

It’s a bit inconsistent in the search criteria for RFEs in the system and the product naming (at least for RDi) is still years behind the current product name. But we are still thrilled that the RFE capability has been extended to many other areas of IBM i.

So go forth and vote!

Posted June 14, 2016 | Permalink

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