48 Exploring WebSphere Studio Enterprise Developer V5.1.2
3.1 Types of development
Although we focus on two types of development, many more variants of these two types exist.
The main contrast between remote development and local development is that the remote
scenario depends on another platform where the development takes place, while the local
scenario uses the environment where WebSphere Studio Enterprise Developer is installed,
which means the workstation, the LAN environment, or both.
There are variations of these types, for example, local development where the data resides on
the host. This data can be accessed using DB2 Connect™ when the data is stored in DB2
databases. The other way around is also possible, where remote files are maintained and a
local database environment is equipped.
3.2 When to use remote development
Reasons to use remote development are, for example, being able to hire developers who can
work within the Microsoft Windows environment, but are not trained in the mainframe world. It
takes a lot of time to educate people with no mainframe experience, but they can adjust very
quickly to WebSphere Studio Enterprise Developer, because Windows is most likely an
operating system with which they are familiar.
We talk about hiring people, but it is also a means of keeping people at the site, because the
toolset is modern and attractive to many users.
In the near future, it will be more and more difficult to hire the right people when it comes to
mainframe development. It is also fair to say that the mainframe COBOL and PL/I applications
are far from disappearing. Many business-critical applications run on z/OS and OS/390®
machines, and these applications need to be maintained. New applications are still being
developed in these environments as long as the alternatives are not providing the key
features that both the languages and the mainframe itself are providing. It is a proven,
long-lasting environment. Recent developments indicate that new life and investments are
pushing the mainframe, and therefore its applications, to new heights.
Another factor in deciding to work with a mainframe and COBOL and PL/I programming is
that this environment is already in place. Most sites with mainframes develop applications that
should run on the mainframe. This means that the complete development, test, and
production stages have existed for a long time and have proven their reliability.
Remote development uses the existing infrastructure on the host, which implies that a
relatively small effort is needed to make the remote scenario work. The installation of the
z/OS components of WebSphere Studio Enterprise Developer on the mainframe does not
take much time. After the installation is in place and the testing is successful, the training
does not take much time either.
During the testing (or proof of concept), it is important to have various developers from the
development department involved in the testing phase. They know exactly what the product
should be capable of doing and they can test the product accordingly.
These are all good arguments, but perhaps the most important reason to use the remote
scenario has to do with the target platform. It is a best practice that development should take
place in the environment where the eventual application has to be executed. If applications
have to run on the mainframe, they should be build on the mainframe. Every environment has
its own peculiar characteristics that should not be underestimated. Even if the testing
environment on another platform approaches the environment on the mainframe, the
application needs to be fully retested to make sure that it does work on the mainframe.