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Installation

Getting and installing the iSphere tools is quick and painless. Turn your browser to http://www.taskforce-it.de/downloads.php. Figure 6 shows the page so we can point out a couple of things. The first thing you’ll probably notice is that it’s in German. Not to worry—both the tool itself and the documentation is in English. Next you may be surprised to see that even though it’s a new tool, there’s a version for the latest version of RDP and also one for V7 of WDSC. A number of developers still use WDSC rather than pay for RDP. It may be old, but it’s at least way better than using SEU to edit your code! So the developers of this toolset have catered to the WDSC users as well.

The toolset is open source, so if you wanted to, you could download the source. And please note that the documentation is a separately downloadable file, so don’t forget to do that. One last thing is that in addition to the three tools in the iSphere toolset, they have also made available a 5250 emulator. This is an Eclipse plug-in version of the popular open-source TN5250J project. We have yet to use this emulator plug-in. But since we’ve been so pleased with the iSphere tools, we plan to take a look at that one as well. We’ll report on our experience when we do.

The documentation has very detailed instructions for installation. We installed it on RDP 8.5.1 and found it very simple with the step-by-step help. The host system we run on is 7.1 so we didn’t have to follow the special instructions included for connecting to systems prior to V 6.1. The issue is that the Activation parameter for a binding directory entry didn’t exist prior to V 6.1 and the tool wasn’t originally written to handle the lack of that parameter. They have fixed that problem, but it does require that if you use it with an earlier OS, you’ll need to create a data area in QGPL. The instructions for doing this are included in the user documentation for the binding directory editor.

Speaking of the user documentation, it is sparse—but then, the tools are so intuitive in their design, we didn’t have any difficulty in using them.

We’re looking forward to making use of these new tools in our RDP tool chest, thanks to the folks at Task Force IT.

Jon Paris is a technical editor with IBM Systems Magazine and co-owner of Partner400.

Susan Gantner is a technical editor with IBM Systems Magazine and co-owner of Partner400.


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