Debugging With WDSC Service Entry Points

WDSC service entry points make debugging easy.

Note: This article is accompanied by a video/audio tutorial to provide a more tangible learning experience. The video tutorial can be found on my Web site. Please let me know if having video makes your learning experience better. This tutorial uses WDSC V6.0 but also works inV7.0.


As we progress through the motions of modernizing our organizations' application infrastructures, it's become inevitable that debugging processes are more complex than in the past. For example: How do you easily debug an RPG program that's invoked from an SQL external stored procedure? Or how do you easily find a CGI job out of the many listed to do a Start Service Job (STRSRVJOB)? These scenarios are running under more of a batch guise, which adds a certain level of complication that doesn't permit them to be as easily debugged versus if you were simply calling an interactive program from the command line. Lucky for us, IBM saw this need and provided service entry points (SEPs).

For a better understanding of SEPs, you can review "Service Entry Points Help Simplify CGI Debugging," where the topic was first introduced to our readers. That article explains SEPs but doesn't show how to use them in our favorite tool, IBM WebSphere Development Studio Client (WDSC). If you aren't using WDSC yet, this might be the time-saving feature to make it worth your while!

Using Service Entry Points

To use SEPs in WDSC you first need to locate the *PGM or *SRVPGM object you wish to debug in Remote Systems Explorer (RSE). Once found, right-click and select "Debug(Service Entry)," then "Set Service Entry Point," as shown in Figure 1.

You'll then be presented with the iSeries* Service Entry Points view as shown in Figure 2. This view displays all of the current SEPs you've set, and depending on the scenario you're trying to debug, the most important setting is the User ID. I say this because if a program is run under USER1 and your SEP is set to a User ID of USER2, then a debug process won't be invoked. This reality comes home when you try to debug CGI applications because they run under an IBM profile of QTMHHTP1.

To address this issue, you can simply modify the SEP to be triggered using another User ID by right clicking on the SEP and selecting "Modify." You'll be presented with the Modify Service Entry Point window shown in Figure 3.

Once the User ID for the SEP has been modifed, you can proceed with executing the process that'll cause the program to be invoked. In the context of this article, we're looking to debug an RPG Web service being offered from the System i platform. Figure 4 offers an example of calling an RPG Web service using a free, open-source tool named Web Service Tester.


Aaron Bartell is Director of IBM i Innovation for Krengel Technology Inc. and an IBM Champion.

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