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NaturalONE - The development environment for Natural

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Agile development and DevOps attract new talent

Get your Natural application development environment ready for 2050 and beyond! Starting October 2018, NaturalONE will become the default development environment of Natural with the version 9.0 release. 

Issue 3, 2017 Download PDF

2050 and beyond

As announced previously, Adabas & Natural 2050+ will help you save costs, attract new developer talent and connect with new technologies by optimizing and modernizing your applications and development environment. By integrating your Adabas & Natural applications with the Digital Business Platform, you can rest assured that your differentiated business logic and high-value data will play a key role in your organization’s Digital Transformation. To support this mission, NaturalONE (with Natural Development Server) will become the default development environment for Natural on mainframe, Linux® and UNIX®.

NaturalONE is an Eclipse™-based Integrated Development Environment (IDE) that fully supports agile development and DevOps methodologies. With NaturalONE, developers can easily code, test and maintain applications, expose Natural objects as services, create rich internet applications and web interfaces, and manage the complete DevOps life cycle. Because of its familiar Graphical User Interface (GUI) and wizards, new programmers will find NaturalONE appealing to use.


“To find and retain new talents, you need to provide state-of-the art agile development tools and methodologies.”

Stefan Macke |  Alte Oldenburger


Fig 1: NaturalONE supports Agile Development and Dev Ops

To take Natural applications into the future, you (our customers) have told us that you need a modern, standards-based environment that supports agile development and DevOps in order to recruit and retain new developers. Fortunately, our Eclipse™-based NaturalONE development environment offers all this and more. 

To help you proactively manage the generational change in the workforce and ensure that new talent will be attracted to work with Natural, we are replacing the traditional green screen (character-based) development environment (Natural Editor) by making NaturalONE the default development environment of Natural—at no extra charge.

The green screen development environment is not appealing to young developers and perpetuates the incorrect perception that Natural is out of date. This is an obstacle to recruiting new talent and managing the generational change of the workforce. Moving away from the green screen development environment by making NaturalONE the default Natural development environment is an important corner stone in supporting the Adabas & Natural 2050+ strategy. NaturalONE will also be the basis of all our new training courses. Please note that Software AG is not retiring the Natural Editor. It will remain active and will still function with other products and software that use the Natural Editor. However, by default, it will not be visible any more. The Natural Editor can be made available to customers upon request. NaturalONE is the recommended development environment for Natural because it is fully integrated with the DevOps tool chain familiar to Java developers. Programmers new to Natural will appreciate the collaborative DevOps support of NaturalONE for agile development, continuous integration and continuous delivery. 

New training and Prime DevOps methodology

Software AG will provide services to assist you, our customers, with the transition to NaturalONE. Software AG Global Education Services will help you educate your teams and train new talent with modernized course content, role-based learning and new live virtual (remote) training courses. 

Our experts from Global Consulting Services are offering newly developed services to support you with the transformation to modern and agile development environments and processes. As an important component of these offerings, a Prime methodology for introducing DevOps is currently in development and will be offered to customers for free! Service offerings and Prime methodology will be available at the end of September 2017. 

Customer results

Customers who have adopted NaturalONE as their development environment and made the transformation to agile development and DevOps are already reporting massive improvements: 

  • Up to 90 percent cost and time savings
  • Reduction of effort related to deployments by 70+ percent
  • Reduction of effort related to rework by 80 to 90 percent

So, why wait? Ensure your applications become ready for the future! Implement agile development and DevOps in your application environment today and master the challenge of the generational change to reap the tremendous benefits of faster business innovation! 

Become future ready—now!

NaturalONE is the future of Natural application development. If you want to take your Natural applications to 2050 and beyond, you must actively manage the generational change of the workforce. NaturalONE, a modern application development environment that supports DevOps, is your key to attracting young developers to replace retiring Natural experts. Make NaturalONE your default development environment today!

Ask your Sales Representative to set up a time to let us introduce the many new development capabilities of NaturalONE to your department and experienced developers.

Learn more about NaturalONE. Visit our website and read the NaturalONE fact sheet.

Be sure to check out successful customer tips in our Recipe for Success—Mastering the Generational Change. And see our Frequently Asked Questions on the next page for more information!


Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. When will NaturalONE become the default development environment?
A: With version 9 of Natural, scheduled for October 2018, NaturalONE (with Natural Development Server) will become the default development environment and the “green screen” (character-based) Natural Editor will not be visible by default any more. This applies to Natural for Mainframe as well as Natural for Linux, and UNIX.

Q2. Is Software AG retiring the green screen Natural Editor?
A: No, Software AG is not retiring the Natural Editor. It will remain and other products/software that use the Natural Editor will still function. However, it will not be visible any more—by default. It can be made available to customers upon request.

Q3. Why will NaturalONE become the default development environment?
A: Supporting agile development and DevOps methodologies is only possible with NaturalONE. Therefore, NaturalONE needs to become the default development environment for customers and partners, if they like to take their Natural applications to 2050 and beyond. They will also need to manage the generational change, i.e., attract young developers to replace retiring Natural experts. The green screen development environment is an obstacle to managing this generational change as it is not appealing to young developers. And it is the main reason for the potential, incorrect perception that Natural would be out-of-date. Therefore, moving away from the “green screen” development environment is an important corner stone in supporting customers and partners with an adequate A&N 2050+ strategy and it will also form the basis of all our new training courses.

Q4. Will customers have to buy NaturalONE and Natural Development Server licenses to develop Natural applications with Natural 9? 
A: There will be a “like-for-like” exchange of the Natural Editor with NaturalONE and Natural Development Server (NDV) at no additional charge.

Q5. Will there be any limitations/restrictions regarding Natural mainframe development functionality covered by NaturalONE? 
A: Local testing of mainframe specific functionality will have to be simulated as this functionality is not available on a developer’s Windows or Linux machine. Please note that the mainframe Natural Parser will not be retired!

Q6. How will testing and deployment on the mainframe be supported by NaturalONE?
A: NaturalONE communicates with the mainframe via the Natural Development Server (NDV)—comparable with the Single Point of Development (SPoD) concept—to deploy Natural programs to the mainframe. The NaturalONE Debugger can be used to debug mainframe programs. This means, that if NaturalONE runs on the developer’s machine, under Windows or Linux, the NaturalONE Debugger is started in this environment.

Q7. How long will the previous Natural version, with development in green screen environment as the default, be supported after October 2018?
A: Natural 8.2 (mainframe) and Natural 8.4 (Unix, Linux) will be supported until December 31, 2020.

Q8. Many programs and utilities from Software AG and customers are using Natural Editor functions via APIs, will they also be discontinued?
A: These programs will work as before. The user exits accessing the Natural Editor will still be supported.

Q9. Will Natural ISPF still be available after October 2018?
A: Yes, Natural ISPF is and will stay a chargeable Add-On. 

Q10. How can I do quick emergency changes in production? Users might not be able to install NDV in these environments and need the ability to make adhoc changes.
A. The EDT line editor can still be used for adhoc changes. It is recommended that customers run Natural Development Server on their production system and use NaturalONE to make adhoc changes in the production environment. Ideally, with a well-defined DevOps approach and deployment process, emergency changes in production environments are supported by standard processes.

Q11. What happens to Adabas Online System (AOS), which is written in Natural?
A: AOS and other products using the Natural Editor will not be affected and will run as before.

Q12. Do customers who use Natural for Windows (e.g., via SPoD) today also need to move to NaturalONE?
A: NaturalONE is our strategic development environment and all innovation will take this direction. Natural for Windows will stay but enhancements will mainly be related to the runtime environment. With Natural for AJAX, migrating Natural Windows applications using dialogs to browser-based applications is already possible today

Q13. Will NaturalONE support the Double Byte Character Set (DBCS) used by Japanese customers?

A: We do not have a solution for this yet. We will investigate possible solutions.

Comments
It appears to me that Software A.G. are forgetting that many customer have a large legacy of mainframe tools and practices that do not readily support moving off the mainframe to a PC.
What is the proposed direction is for the editors? What is the hurry, yes things can simulate reality, but reality is better?
Why will the editor not be visible? I think there will be a massive extra change. Decade of tools and practices built around code being on a mainframe, change control mechanisms that do not cater for this apparently enforced change.
At the moment I do not understand the rationale behind this. Nor Can I see a cost saving?
Old is not bad.
Posted on 7/28/17 7:17 AM.
If you read above in the FAQs, it says:

"Q4. Will customers have to buy NaturalONE and Natural Development Server licenses to develop Natural applications with Natural 9?
A: There will be a “like-for-like” exchange of the Natural Editor with NaturalONE and Natural Development Server (NDV) at no additional charge."

NaturalONE is a very feature-rich environment that not only is an easier editor to use that many young developers are already familiar with, but you still can use it to develop for the mainframe run-time environment (as well as for other platforms).

I understand your comfort with the existing mainframe editors and realize there will be a learning curve as well as an effort to implement NDV and NaturalONE, and further effort if your site wishes to really take full advantage of this and incorporate a DevOps methodology. But there are real benefits including productivity gains to be had in making this effort.

Finally, if a customer does not wish to move in this direction, it will be possible to un-hide the green-screen editors upon request. There will be some cases where this makes sense, though I would say if your site is still performing upgrades and goes to version 9 after it comes out in over a year, chances are good that your site may want to look into use of NaturalONE as well.
Posted on 7/31/17 8:18 PM in reply to Kevin Taylor.
Dear Kevin,

As Brian explained, Software AG is not forcing any customer to change. The old character based editor will still be available with Natural version 8, which will be supported until end of 2020. And in case you would like to upgrade to Natural version 9 but for some good reason can’t make the move to the (then default) NaturalONE development environment, you can request an exception from Software AG. With an exception, it will be possible to switch the old editor back on for you.
Also, even if you move to NaturalONE, you will still be able to have your Natural source on the mainframe and use the mainframe tools. They will still work as before.

However, we strongly recommend considering new approaches like agile development and DevOps. The rationale behind this is that young developers are taught these concepts and tend to be familiar with tools that facilitate them. Therefore, they prefer to work with technologies where they can apply these tools. While the old is certainly not bad, it does not allow young developers to use the tools that they expect to work with, which discourages them from wanting to develop in Natural. Customers told us that even if they were able to hire young Natural developers they quit after a short time when they were faced with character based editors and (in their view) an old fashioned way of development.
NaturalONE provides a development environment that is proven to be attractive to young developers and it allows them to use the tools that they expect to work with. Therefore, if we are serious about taking Adabas and Natural to 2050 and beyond we have to make the move to NaturalONE at some point. And the overwhelming majority of customers we talked to tell us that this point is now.

We realize that adopting new approaches to development is more than just switching from one editor to another. That’s why we will support you in making that transition by offering new and revised training courses (onsite or in virtual classrooms), and a free of charge Prime methodology that provides best practices and assets, incorporating experiences from many similar projects before.
Customers who have successfully made the transition have reported cost savings due to, for example, leaner and more automated development processes, much shorter delivery cycles, early detection of errors in the code through continuous testing and integration. And, in addition, they are able to respond to requests from the business much faster.

I'd be happy to get on a call with you to discuss any additional concerns you may have.

Best regards,
Angelika
Posted on 8/4/17 10:06 AM in reply to Kevin Taylor.

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