An Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for PowerLinux System Servers


In the Smarter Computing era, several benefits have already been shown and customer-proven by use of IBM Power Systems. Together with Power Systems came the PowerLinux servers, software and solutions, which is the standard platform of choice for deploying new Linux, technology–based applications. This platform provides the basis for delivering Linux services faster, with higher quality and superior economics.

One of the PowerLinux solutions that I find very interesting, as a software developer, is an integrated development environment (IDE) for developing software on PowerLinux servers.

Every software developer has his or her favorite tools for developing source code, fixing code bugs and maintaining software projects. Some developers, the more conservative ones, like to program and keep several files spread out and then spend a whole bunch of time compiling and linking libraries, header files and code files together to build a project. Others like to use some help from the IDEs to keep things a little more organized and clean.

IDEs are basically programs to write programs. They are environments with tools to help software developers to write code more efficiently. As a software developer I make great use of IDEs, and I have a favorite one, which I will let you know very soon. But first I want to give you a few reasons why you should use an IDE and how you can benefit from using it.

Using an IDE will save you a lot of time and effort in writing programs. One of the greatest values and main purposes of using an IDE is to make the code development process faster and easier. Here are some benefits of using an IDE:

  • Their features can help you organize resources, prevent mistakes and provide shortcuts, as many IDEs have the ability to recognize a programming language’s keywords and highlight typographic errors, suggest a list of available functions and do code completion for you.
  • IDEs can enforce standards among software developers working on the same project.
  • They are very powerful because they can help you manage your software projects. Many IDEs have documentation tools that either automate the code commenting or force developers to write comments in different areas of the source code file.
  • It is easier to know how an application is laid out and how the files are related by having a visual presentation of resources, as opposed to “digging out” the file system in a search for files and libraries from a software project.

Now that you have a few reasons for an IDE and see the benefits it offers, I will introduce you to my favorite IDE, the IBM Software Development Kit (SDK) for PowerLinux.

IBM-SDK-PowerLinux Splash Screen

Figure 1: IBM SDK Splash Screen

The IBM SDK for PowerLinux is a free, Eclipse-based IDE that provides you an all-in-one solution for developing software on PowerLinux systems servers. It integrates C/C++ source code development with the IBM Advance Toolchain for PowerLinux and classic Linux debugging and performance analysis tools such as OProfile, Valgrind, SystemTap and PERF, in addition to IBM tools such as:

  • Migration Advisor, which helps you in moving Linux applications from x86 systems to IBM Power Systems
  • Feedback Directed Program Restructuring (FDPR), a feedback-based post-link optimization tool that optimizes the executable image of a program
  • Source Code Advisor, a tool that works together with FDPR, highlighting potential problems in your source code and offering suggested solutions for performance enhancements
  • Trace Analyzer, a tool for threads concurrency monitoring and analysis
  • CPI breakdown, a plug-in for profiling C/C++ applications using the CPI breakdown model for POWER7 system servers
  • And an integrated bug reporting tool, for quickly creating reports about errors and submitting them to the PowerLinux Community message board
Profile Analysis Screens

Figure 2: Profile and Analysis Screens

The IBM SDK for PowerLinux version 1.3 has just been released, and this version introduces enhancements to the CPI breakdown plug-in and includes a feature to connect events causing stalls with the corresponding source code line from your project.


Figure 3: CPI Breakdown Model

One feature I find very interesting is the possibility of using the SDK either directly on an IBM Power Systems server or in any x86_64 client for remote development and deployment. This feature is supported by the Eclipse Parallel Tools Platform (PTP), which enables development, deployment and debugging of remote applications.

The current release also supports the cross-compiling capability by using the IBM Advance Toolchain for PowerLinux cross-compiler. With this capability you can develop source code in any x86_64 architecture machine and compile it on any Power Systems.

I am confident that you are safe with all the features offered by the IBM SDK for PowerLinux when it comes to code development for Power Systems servers.

If you feel like doing so you can download a free copy from the IBM SDK for PowerLinux landing page.

Renato Stoffalette Joao is a Software Engineer at Linux Technology Center (LTC), IBM Brazil. His work in LTC consists of interactions with various open source Linux communities and development of extensions for Eclipse environment using the Java language. You can find him on Twitter: @renatosjoao.

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