Category Archives: Underflow

Moving to RDMLX: Remember the Editor

Straight out of college, I was the new kid on the block and was green; a newbie not realizing the part LANSA would play in my career.  I remember being in the cube of a seasoned developer as he was editing a function.  I remember watching when instead of using the standard insert line command he used “IP” to insert PRIOR to the current line.  To me it was a brilliant Easter egg and I immediately incorporated it into my bag of tricks.

Then it happened. I couldn’t stop myself. I improved on it.

I created a single keystroke macro that inserted prior. Then I created another for the standard insert.  Without realizing what had just happened, I became obsessed with removing friction from my workflow. And it all started inside LANSA’s green screen editor.

Today the tradition continues. Any task that happens more than twice gets automated.  For any word with specific capitalization or that I have mistyped more than twice, I create a word replacement rule.  It is a living utility that I constantly update and improve.  I call it Underflow since its’ power is hidden from view and I have made it freely available to other developers.

I’ve been in the LANSA world for 17 years and so much of that time was spent in that silly editor.

Who can forget having to use the unformatted prompt (“U”) on some of those massive DEF_LINE commands?  Or moving and deleting blocks of code with double Ms and double Ds.  Or jumping to SEU and screwing up those long comment lines? Or freeform typing commands without the parameter names and then using <prompt> and <enter> on each one to make then look pretty.

Did you EVER change “Roll” to something other than 13? I did once.

So, my friend, it is with bittersweet anticipation that I work toward eliminating you as we move toward RDMLX-enabling our environments.  Once we do, you become a read-only viewer for RDML functions.

I wonder what I will remember.  I will remember the now-missing F21 key that was so engrained in my muscle memory that I could press it without thinking.  I will remember that you never locked up or crashed like your upstart younger brother VL; not one crash in all those years.  I will remember the countless hours of poring over code, getting frustrated AGAIN that I had to save (triple enter!) before indenting and coloring.  I mean, really, why can’t I color the code while in edit mode?  I will definitely remember using you to debug one function at a time.  Ah, how quaint.  I remember the excitement I felt when I finally understood how to use your report designer.

I have memorialized you.  RDMLX code is supposed to be viewed only within Visual LANSA but we needed a way to view it on the green screen in production.  So I built a viewer over Frodo (DC@FRD) that looks just like you. It includes indenting and coloring.  They are turned on by default because it makes me feel kinda like a rebel.

LANSA has memorialized you. Whippersnappers these days don’t know what they are missing just using the compile button in VL.  Using Full Function Check shows a window with access to the old screen and report designers.  LANSA cloned them from your keyboard-driven  interface and grafted them into a mouse-driven interface.  They are the Franken-editor.

Over time we will convert more of our vintage functions to RDMLX to get more use out of the language. We will spend the majority of our time in Visual LANSA and you will fade into a fond but distant memory.

Today I am the seasoned developer mentoring the new kids on the block and showing them Easter eggs.  They are straight out of college and green; newbies snickering at the boring but stable green on black and bragging how they’ll never have to use it because they have VL.  I choose to sit quietly and smile knowing they don’t have the experience to understand the part you played.

I remember.