Every time I do a G/Technology project I like to discuss how things need to be done. One aspect that always turns up is how limited you actually are as a GTech developer, due to Intergraph. If you or your teammates don’t know how a certain aspect works, your doomed. Even if you know how it works, realising it in G/Technology may be very time consuming. If you are working for an existing customer, he’ll just have to pay more, but if you’re in a benchmark situation, this is killing. G/Technology is complicated due to the many aspects which come together, and new developers are desperately needed, but I don’t see them. If the current development tools don’t improve, I can’t see much reasons why developers would like to start with GTech, so this sad situation won’t change. Let me describe what would be my ‘would like to have’ G/Technology development environment which is very likely to change this:
There’s a nice GUI for manipulating metadata
If you need to modify metadata, you need to create SQL-scripts to change metadata tables in the database and you need to know the relations in these tables, allowed values, how these values relate to each other, etc, etc.. Developers shouldn’t spend their time figuring out what the initial authors of the software might have meant, they need to be provided with a tool which leaves no room for doubt and really aids in helping a job done. This tool is a Graphical User Interface to setup your metadata.
You can store metadata in the database or in a folder
The same graphical tool lets you choose wether you want to store your metadata directly in the database or in the published metadata-folder. Storing your changes straight in the metadata folder is useful for quick prototyping but is not suitable for multi-user development, then you would choose to store your changes in the database. If you choose to store metadata straight in a folder, you have a tool to synchronize this folder to the database. This tool creates a set of scripts to create a GTech metadata-schema from scratch from the metadata folder. A nice sideffect of this tool is that you can always recreate your metadata evironment from scratch which from a quality point of view is very desirable and was very common in the various Microsoft web projects I have done, but which I have never seen with a GTech project.
Published metadata is human readable
The only metadata read at runtime is the published metadata. If you need a quick fix on this, you could use the GUI-tool discussed earlier, but this may not be installed on server systems. Also, although there is a tool to read and change the binary Microsoft ADODB based binary files .raw files in the metadata-folder (viewmetadata.exe, ask your Intergraph representative for more details) you want to be able to read the runtime metadata with a tool present on every system, Notepad. Therefore, the published metadata folder should contain xml-files presenting the published metadata.
You can use G3E.exe as your debugging process to attach to
The 10.2 version will not let you use G3E.exe as your startup executable. Before you can start your debug session, a whole lot of crashes have appeared, and debugging isn’t possible. This worked just fine in version 10.1
Oracle packages are readable
Wrapping packages is out of the question, Intergraph is proud of the product and wants people to look at it to give positive feedback and to learn from it.
Generation packages are stored in a separate schema
All packages needed for generation are placed in a seperate schema. No objects other then the ones needed for a runtime GTech environment are allowed in a production schema.
You have many examples to study
Whenever Intergraph releases functionality, the developer in charge needs to publish his testing scenarios along with sources, reproducable, on a public accessible site.
There are many blogs about G/Technology
There are several Intergraph employees busy writing blogs about how stuff works, where the product is going, discussing things they have seen and so on, thus creating a great community.
You have a forum where you can ask questions
There is a public accessible forum for G/Technology. If you google for GTech problems, you often end up in this forum. Intergraph employees are dedicated to answering questions posted in this forum.
All these items would be great to have and would really speed up development. Reallity though is, that you don’t have them and if you do not exactly know how something is done in G/Technology, you indeed are doomed.