During the development for RTC 4.0 we remember a customer asking us what happened to RTC for IBM i? We all were puzzled by the question as RTC 4.0 has the most new features for IBM i customers since the initial release of RTC on IBM i. In a future blog post we will detail how to navigate the plan items for future releases to tell what is for IBM i or not to avoid this type of question/confusion. We like to think of RTC 4.0 as the release where we dramatically closed the gap between z/OS and IBM i. In previous releases we had for example Promotion capabilities and work item packaging for z/OS but not for IBM i. With the 4.0 release we have closed the gap considerably and now have for IBM i along with z/OS the main three functionalities of: Dependency Build, Promotion, and Deployment.
In past releases (RTC 2.0 and newer) we introduced the IBM i Build Specification build which is a dependency build, but did timestamp checking to determine everything that needed to be built then based on what was built determined what else needed to be rebuilt. In RTC 4.0 we introduced the IBM i Dependency Build Definition template which works the same way the old Dependency Build template did for z/OS (now renamed z/OS Dependency Build). No longer do we do timestamp checking but instead look directly at what has changed and the database of dependencies that have been scanned to determine what to build, which will result in much faster builds for all of you! In addition we have added new scanners to look for dependencies in DDS, CL, and PF files. New for both z/OS and IBM i is a new build report that is much enhanced from the previous build report in the IBM i Build Specification builds. You will be able to see everything that was built, with the reason why it was built, and more. To learn more about the new IBM i Dependency Build go to the Information Center, read an article, and/or watch a video on it.
In previous releases you had to manually promote your source from one stream to another and then run builds or package/deploy to get the built binaries in that new environment. It is now possible to create Promotion definitions to promote from one level to another. These promotion definitions will promote your source and potentially your binaries to the new level in your environment. As we have already gotten questions related to the Promotion capabilities we want to highlight some specifics. Promotion definitions run on the same machine the Source build ran on, this means when you think of promoting binaries they are all on the same machine as the build. If you want the binaries on a different machine you will want to refer to the Deployment capabilities after. Robin Yehle has a great blog post talking about this from a z/OS perspective, but all the same logistics apply to IBM i.
In previous releases we had sequential packaging and deployment, where the packages deployed had to be deployed in the sequence the packages were created. It is now possible to deploy packages in a non-sequential order by selecting the package to deploy. You can also deploy a package multiple times. New for IBM i is the introduction of the work-item based packaging feature. This includes packaging of one or more work items, thereby packaging the built output objects from the change sets associated with the work items. In addition, the UI for packaging and deployment has been completely changed. The ship list and restore mapping files can be now created in a new UI for the IBM i package definitions. Objects can be added manually to your ship list or a query can be run to find outputs from the Enterprise Dependency Build (IBM i) build definitions. You can map libraries to the libraries to use during deployment in the package and deployment definitions. Lastly we still provide backwards compatibility for 3.0 and 3.0.1 versions. Package and Deployment definitions using 3.0.1 format can be successfully run using the 4.0 server and build system toolkit. To learn more about the new Deployment capability go to the Information Center.
Those are the highlights of the new functionality available specifically to IBM i users, but many more improvements went into RTC 4.0. For a full list see the New and Noteworthy.