Get your Natural application development environment ready for 2050 and beyond! Starting now, NaturalONE is the default development environment of Natural with the 9.0 release.

2050 and beyond

Natural 9 is a major release with very important implications for all our customers. Not only does this new release provide many valuable new features, but it is a major shift in the paradigm of how applications are developed and maintained with Natural now and into the future. Starting with Natural 9, NaturalONE will be the default development environment of Natural.

What will change?
In Natural 9 for the mainframe, UNIX® and Linux®, the editors are disabled by default. This includes the program editor, the data editor and the map editor. Instead of the editors, customers will receive NaturalONE and the Natural Development Server free of charge. Natural for Windows® is not affected by this change.

What does this mean for you in practice?
If you order Natural 9 from the Software AG logistics service center, you will receive a new Natural license key. With this license key, you can activate free versions of NaturalONE and the Natural Development Server that have the same functionality as the commercial versions.

After installation, you can use the “Tech” command to check the status of the Natural editor setting as shown in Figure 1. The editor setting in the Tech command should show “disabled.” If you then invoke an editor, you will receive the Natural System Message NAT7743 “Editor is disabled in Natural. Use NaturalONE instead.” This message will also appear in other situations when you invoke an editor such as the List command.

Fig 1: Use the Tech command to verify Natural Editors are disabled.

Please note that in programs that use editor APIs, the “Edt” and “Adhoc” commands are not disabled. Add-on products such as Natural Construct and Natural ISPF will also continue to work as before.

If you attempt to use the free NaturalONE version with a Natural version where the editor is still enabled, you will receive the Natural System Message NAT7744 “The free NaturalONE can only be used if the Editor is disabled.” If you purchased NaturalONE, you will not receive the Natural System Message NAT7744.

Developing with Natural-the new way

Getting started
Up to now, you likely managed your Natural source code in libraries and kept the source code in the Fuser file. With Natural 9 and NaturalONE, you need to stop using the Fuser for managing the source code and begin using a repository integrated with NaturalONE instead. We recommend that you use an open source repository like Git or Subversion®, but repositories from other vendors like Microsoft® Team Foundation Server may also be used. You can still use products such as Predict Application Control (PAC) or Treehouse N2O to control the stages from test environments to production.

After you have selected a compatible repository, your new and improved development journey can begin. Simply add yourapplications (libraries including step libraries) step-by-step into a NaturalONE project in your NaturalONE workspace and commit them to the repository. From this moment on, the single “source of truth” is the repository not the Fuser file. All existing Natural source code is now under the control of the repository, including all Natural object types, like programs, maps and data areas. All modifications to the existing Natural source code and new Natural objects created with NaturalONE editors will now be committed to the repository. You no longer need to keep source code in the Fuser file.

Repository-based team development
Improved team collaboration is among the many advantages you gain working with NaturalONE. A developer can simply “check out” a copy of the latest version of Natural source code from the repository. If several developers work on the same source code, either by accident or intentionally, all changes to the code can be kept when the code is merged later upon “check in.” A developer can also create a new branch where he can work independently from other developers and then consolidate it with the master branch as soon his work on the feature is finished.

Maintaining a history of code changes is another advantage of working with a repository in comparison to the Fuser approach. All versions of the source code are kept in the repository and it is possible to re-activate older source code and compare different versions to see what really has changed.

Repository-based team development has many advantages over the traditional development approach as shown in Figure 2.

Fig 2: With NaturalONE you reap the benefits of repository-based team development.

Deployment
When one or more features are ready for integration test or production, you can deploy the latest version from the repository to a target Natural environment on mainframe, UNIX, Linux or Windows. Deployment here means that all Natural source code changes since the previous deployment will be automatically identified and copied to a library or several libraries on the target environment. At this moment, Fuser comes back into play. The Natural source code is temporarily saved in the Fuser file and cataloged. After the catalog process is complete, the source code is deleted from Fuser. This avoids possible inconsistencies between the source code in Fuser with the source code in the repository.

You may continue to use existing tools like Predict Application Control, N2O or utilities like Sysmain and Sysobjh to copy Natural object code to integration test or production.

We strongly recommend that you optimize the processes described here by following a DevOps approach. This will enable you to make implemented features available much faster to end users without sacrificing quality. The DevOps approach covers all phases from development to operations and continuous integration to deployment.

Bring DevOps to Natural and manage the generational change

By moving editing work to NaturalONE, you will now benefit from using a modern, Eclipse™-based development environment for Natural that supports agile development and DevOps. When you embrace the DevOps approach, you can develop new applications and modernize existing Natural applications faster, to better meet changing business requirements and reduce application development costs. To learn more about the benefits of bringing DevOps to Natural, read www.b2b.com/naturalone-bringing-devops-to-natural

Providing a state-of-the-art development platform like NaturalONE also makes it easier for you to recruit new talent and manage the generational change of the workforce. Several customers of Adabas & Natural have figured out how to manage the generational change of talent within their team using NaturalONE. They attract and retain young developers, as well as engage all generations to work together, share skills and knowledge, and innovate. Here is their recipe for successfully managing the generational change of the workforce: https://resources.softwareag.com/adabas-natural/managing-generational-change

Success story

A European insurance company attracts and retains young developers-medium age 34 with half in their 20s-through a robust training program and use of NaturalONE. A 17-year-old intern learned Natural in just five days. Learn how this insurance company attracts and retains young developers in this video: https://resources.softwareag.com/youtube-product-videos-for-uberflip/see-how-insurance-company-alte-oldenburger-masters-generational-change

Summary

Many of our customers have achieved immediate benefits using a repository-based approach to development with NaturalONE. We believe that you will greatly benefit as well. Moving to NaturalONE allows you to leverage numerous free open source plug-ins available for Eclipse and is very attractive to the next generation of developers, making it easier to hire new staff and motivate young developers to work with Natural.

Java® programmers will find NaturalONE appealing to use because of its familiar Graphical User Interface (GUI) and wizards. NaturalONE also gives you the ability to harmonize application development across your entire organization, whether you are developing applications in Natural, COBOL or Java to run natively on the mainframe or LUW.

Moving away from the green screen development environment by making NaturalONE the default Natural development environment is an important cornerstone to implementing the Adabas & Natural 2050+ strategy. By reusing your investments into the unique Adabas & Natural application logic and high-value data in an agile, digital-ready architecture, you can make the transformation to a digital-software-driven business quickly and with minimal disruption.

Originally published at http://techcommunity.softwareag.com.

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