Better Object Builder

Open source build tool for the IBM i platform that is used to build IBM i-native objects

Modernize Your IBM i Development

Better Object Builder, or Bob, is a free open source development tool to build native “QSYS” objects. It works in conjunction with the popular version control system Git and build tool GNU Make, both of which are also open source and free to use. When combined with Git, an editor like Rational Developer for i (RDi), and an issue system like Trac, the result is a powerful and flexible set of tools for developing IBM i products.

Bob extends GNU Make so that it can build IBM i-native objects from source code stored in the IFS. With Bob’s client tools installed, source code resides on your PC or Mac for editing, and then is quickly pushed to a personal IFS directory to be built. Compiler spool files are returned to the PC after compilation. The workflow, then, mimics standard (non-i) development: source code is stored in a centralized Git server (like GitHub), developers clone the repositories, commit and push changes,
and use the i as a build server. They can even use GitHub services like pull requests and code reviews.

Why Better Object Builder?

Bob understands the relationships between your objects, so if an item changes, then it and everything depending on it will be rebuilt. Bob works quickly because it only compiles those objects that need recompiling, such as new source code. Object dependencies are specified using standard makefile syntax, and the actual build engine is GNU Make — exactly like tens of thousands of Linux and Unix software projects.

Better Object Builder is flexible! Most objects defined in Bob typically build using your default values. Have a program that requires a custom activation group or a data area that needs to be created with a certain value? No problem, overriding compiler parameters is simple, and writing custom recipes for special objects is very straightforward. Then, with the Rational Developer for i integration elements installed, a single button click initiates the build. Making it easier and less costly to manipulate IBM i source code for you and your organization.

Bob Enabled Development Features

  • Open Source and Free
  • At-a-glance version history
  • Flexible To Fit Any Development Workflow
  • Speedy Delta Builds
  • Consistent, Repeatable Software Builds