Move Over SDA, RDPi is in the House

Increased productivity one benefit of new Screen Designer


One of the great questions in the IBM i development community has been, "Why should I pay for new Rational tools when WebSphere Development Studio Client (WDSC) was free?" The question doesn't arise simply from some sense of entitlement; the integrated nature of the IBM i platform is one many developers rely on when creating software. Those of us who were early WDSC adopters were thrilled with this new piece of software that appeared magically in our stack of disks. WDSC was a fantastic development tool (and still is for many shops), and we simply accepted it as one of the perks of our unique relationship with our vendor.

Today, individual products need to be accountable, and to that end they’re priced separately, and even by number of users. Which leads to the point of this article: Why should an i shop pay for the new Rational tool? Before I answer, let me briefly address something IBM seems perennially to have problems with: naming.

Let's Get This Acronym Thing Out of the Way

One of the common comments about the new Rational tool release (announced Feb. 9) is the name of IBM i tools. We’ve seen good names, bad names and outright weird names. The most recent release, "Rational Developer for Power Systems Software: RPG and COBOL Development Tools for IBM i," may not even be the "official" name, as I've seen two or three other variants on various IBM Web pages.

I think this is a reflection of IBM's new focus on the POWER processor. Tools for C/C++ and COBOL development for AIX are coming and they'll also be under the broad umbrella of Rational Developer for Power Systems--thus the long, self-annotated name with its multiple components. The new name is a bit cumbersome, to say the least; the acronym for the tool would be something like RDPSSRCDTi, which is longer than the full name of most automobiles and many sovereign nations. I've decided to shorten it and simply use RDPi. Hopefully it's similar enough to RDi to not be jarring, yet different enough to be distinguishing. Name aside, I can tell you why you should buy RDPi in one word: productivity.


Joe Pluta is the founder and chief architect of Pluta Brothers Design Inc. Joe can be reached at

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