Please share with the community what you think needs improvement with Compuware Topaz Workbench.
What are its weaknesses? What would you like to see changed in a future version?
At this time I do not know of additional improvements from my perspective. Over the last year, Compuware has made major improvements to the JES Explorer, which used to be the biggest negative. There are some tools in ISPF that are not available outside of ISPF right now, things the programmers may need to look at. They still have to go to the green screen for a few things. Since we have the free version of Topaz, we do not have access to the new 3270 emulator that can handle this situation in Eclipse. We have noticed that Topaz supported Eclipse environments are rather old. It would be nice if Topaz were compatible with the more current Eclipse releases. The Topaz product seems to hold back the version of Eclipse we are able to use in our environment.
I would look for more cooperation between the vendors and using Eclipse the way Eclipse is meant to be used. Topaz Workbench often doesn't play well with other plugins in the environment. It would be good if the vendors would work together or at least have some collaboration between them, so they would know what would work and what wouldn't work. Right now, the way things are working, they're relying on the customer to make everything work. I would like to see the features include more integration or help customers when working with Jenkins. It would be nice to have an audit trail to see what mainframe developers are using what. We are trying to get more people to use the product at the moment. I would like to expand its usage because it is a good product for development.
The area for improvement is related to the testing tools that are available for unit testing or acceptance testing. I know they have some out there that we are not licensed for at this time, but it seems like some of the Eclipse tools that are used for other programming languages, they're all just built-in and they're a little more intuitive to the developers. Making those testing tools as intuitive as possible, and as integrated as possible into the workbench, would be really beneficial.
Part of it is just getting used to using it. It's completely different from what I'm used to, going from a TSO interface to a GUI. I find it more cumbersome to use Topaz.
The ability to edit source code that has special characters is limited. The ability to incorporate or convert REXX into macros that are usable under the Topaz software is not there. And the REXX macros that I have developed over 40 years of work are useless, so I have a toolbox I can't use or deploy using the Topaz technology, while I can use it under MVS. It's not as intuitive as it should be. In terms of navigation, there is a large training curve for using it. For a millennial it might be better, if they're used to Eclipse. But coming from a non-Eclipse environment and using Eclipse, though I have experience with Eclipse, it might be cumbersome. I still use the mainframe Xpediter, because I find it's less cumbersome to navigate to. If Compuware resolves some of the issues of converting REXX into macros that are supported under the Topaz Edit function, the ability to support ISPF picture edits, and the ability to simulate some of the things that the mainframe can do on Topaz, that would be great.
I'm always looking for improvement in things like the documentation, to make things a little bit easier and simpler to understand, a place where people can go to troubleshoot issues. From an installation perspective, the simpler the installation of the product, the better. I always feel like there is room for improvement on installing. I've noticed, occasionally, installation steps could just be wrong, and that's very difficult for us. It extends the time it takes us to install the product. When we install it with the directions provided, and then it doesn't work, we have to open a ticket to find out why it doesn't work, only to find out that the documentation was missing a step. That is something that always needs to be reflected on, and has room for improvement.