–          Hot News

–          CA Plex Tip

–          CA 2E Tip

–          Where is CM First?

–          Future-Proof Your CA 2E Applications

–          Current/Supported Releases

Welcome to the first issue of the new CM First customer newsletter.  We’re trying a new approach designed to offer a variety of useful information in each quarterly issue.  Please let us know what you like and what you might like to see in upcoming issues.

Contact the editor at  Thank you.

Denise Kalm, Editor

Hot News

CA Announces Valuable Features in CA Plex and CA 2E – CM First Explains How to Get There

On April 2, 2014, Simon Cockayne, Sr. Principal Product Manager, CA Technologies and John Rhodes, CTO, CM First presented  a new webcast, “Supercharge Your CA 2E and Plex Development – Learn about the Latest Features in CA Plex and CA 2E.”

The session covered new features and how customers have been using these to enhance business value.

  • ActiveX support with the available C# client generator for CA Plex
  • Improved automated test support for CA Plex
  • Web Services and Web Option enhancements in CA 2E 8.6
  • Exploiting SQL from CA 2E
  • Roadmap discussion of CA 2E 8.7

CM First joined CA Technologies on the webcast; the goal was to help you understand how you can more easily upgrade to those releases.  John Rhodes, CTO, CM First said, “CM First can provide advice on the version uplift process and discuss the most effective ways to take advantage of the new features. We can help you understand the CA 2E SQL enhancements and CA 2E Change Management (CM/Implementer) improvements.

If you missed it, you can check out the replay at:

As you know, CM First offers expertise in helping organizations modernize IBM i/z business applications, including web enablement, mobile app development, and application lifecycle management services.  For those working with CA 2E and CA Plex, look to us for the best in CA product training classes, version uplift services, and on-demand remote consulting all of which ensure quick time-to-value.  Classes are provided at your site.  Don’t let the uplift process hold you back; contact CM First to learn how to get to where you want to be quickly.  Check out the line-up of classes CM First provides:

This site lists all the classes offered as well as abstracts for each one.  If there’s something else you need, contact us.

CA Plex Tip

Tired of the CA Plex Source Code Editor?

Lorenz Alder, Senior Consultant / Software Architect

If you’re tired of dealing with the supplied CA Plex source code editor, here’s how to change it:

Find your Plex.ini file:


Open the Plex.ini file with your favorite Editor.

In the [Build] section, you can define your Default Editor. Change “PlexSrcEdit.exe” to the .exe of your choice. The example shows Notepad++ as the Default Editor.

In the [Source Editor] section, you can define special editors depending on the file extension of the source file.

The example below shows how to make use of the Visual Studio Editor for .cs and .xaml files.  Please note the /edit option. This option will allow you to reuse an existing instance of Visual Studio if more than one file is opened.

Example from Plex.ini :



Source Editor=”C:Program Files (x86)Notepad++notepad++.exe”

[Source Editor]



.cs=”C:Program Files (x86)Microsoft Visual Studio 11.0Common7IDEdevenv.exe /edit”

.xaml=”C:Program Files (x86)Microsoft Visual Studio 11.0Common7IDEdevenv.exe / edit”


CA 2E Tip

Improving Your CA 2E Development Experience with Some Useful ‘Rules of Thumb’

Mark Schroeder, Senior CA 2E Consultant

I’m going to show you some rules of thumb that, if used consistently, will improve your development experience.

The parameters screen can be very useful if you take care with it.  When I first learned to use Synon, I would have a mixture of Input, Output, Both and Neither parameters listed in an unorganized way.  However, if you spend a few minutes organizing things, it becomes easier to spot issues down the road.


When you look at the screen below, it is hard to tell the usage for each field.


In the screen below, I have organized the fields so I can quickly differentiate between keys and various types of parameters.  I use a sequence number of 1 – 10 for my keys.  For input parameters, I use a sequence number of 10 – 99, then I use sequence numbers 100 – 199 for output parameters. I use sequence numbers 200- 299 for both parameters and a sequence number of 900-999 for neither parameters.  There are several factors that will make it hard to follow this rule all the time but use it as often as you can and then this screen will begin to have more meaning for you. 

Where is CM First?

In February, John Rhodes, CTO, spoke to SHARE attendees in Anaheim on “Business Agility – Unlocking Your Legacy Code.”  Clarifying the problem of technical debt and the implications to business success, he was able to lay a case for the benefit of using CM MetaAnalytics to solve this problem.  Interest in the subject has prompted him to supply an abstract for the Pittsburgh SHARE in August where he will discuss the security and performance implications of technical debt.

Mark O’Brien, Revenue Director for Business Development, attended Austin’s South by Southwest (SXSW) in March.  SXSW, once a small venue for independent creative work, has grown since 1987 to become a ‘flash mob’ of creativity, offering new music, independent films and technological innovation.   Austin is the perfect breeding ground for this festival that is one part Davos, one part Woodstock and another part ComicCon for geeks; the vibrant, entrepreneurial spirit of the town draws new companies, aspiring innovators and new techies excited to begin their careers.


Mark O’Brien,  notes, “Attending this event once again, it was clear that increasing numbers of people are coming primarily for the ‘connectedness’ portion of the program – the part that engages celebrities, businesses and social media experts together to figure out the next steps IT needs to take to stay relevant and valuable.  SXSW helps determine and drive the trends of the future.  CM First wanted to drink in that creative spirit and soak up the good ideas generated.”


SXSW Chalk Drawing, Courtesy of Capital Factory

Future-Proof Your CA 2E Applications

Denise P. Kalm

Are many of your critical business applications based on CA 2E?  If so, has your business begun demanding upgrades and enhancements that you can’t readily respond to because of limitations in the platform?  Do you need to rehost your applications? For many, CA 2E isn’t keeping up with the capabilities you need to provide your business with capabilities like web, mobile, cloud and more.  And though you might not be aware, aging code is often slowed down by ‘technical debt,’ which means coding choices, errors and inefficiencies introduced over time.

But what’s the answer?  You already know that there isn’t the time or money to rewrite all these applications. And you wouldn’t want to take the risk given the code complexity.  Most companies also can’t simply buy software applications to replace the older versions.  Rarely does the market supply exactly what you need, complete with the tailoring and features you’ve introduced over the years to give your company a competitive edge.

The answer is a better application development platform; one that won’t introduce risk or take developers ages to learn.  CA Plex is that platform.  It offers the capabilities of an Architected Rapid Application Design Platform (ARAD).  And, the interface is close enough to CA 2E to make it a viable option.

That is part of the answer.  You can readily acquire this product. But then, how do you port your applications to it?  CM First has a solution.  We have created  a way to ‘future-proofs’ your CA 2E applications with an automated migration methodology designed to help  your company move to an Architected Rapid Application Design platform (ARAD).  This approach, Model-Based Modernization Methodology or M3, retains all of the business logic and model design, yet moves these applications to a platform that can support modern technologies such as Cloud, Big Data, mobile and web.  No longer will you be held back by the limitations of your framework.  You also have the opportunity to move your applications to other hardware platforms using this approach. Many companies find this an essential part of modernization.

We will customize this solution for you, because we understand that each customer’s needs are different.  CM First offers software, services and custom coding solutions, so we can ensure your applications can keep up with business objectives.

There are five steps to this process:

  1. Portfolio Assessment – what do you have and what platforms does it run on?
  2. Understand Business and Technical Drivers – what are your goals?  Why would you consider this?
  3. Evaluate Approaches – what’s the best way to accomplish your goals?
  4. Execute Strategy
  5. Implement Supportive Technologies That Assist Future Growth

Services and consultation is part of the package, but there are also products that can help make this work.  The first of these is CM Meta Analytics, a product designed to automate source code scanning and analysis, resulting in a database itemizing code issues, errors and possible security exposures.  CM Meta Analytics is designed to automatically scan a wide variety of language domains, ranging from object-oriented Java to procedural COBOL, JCL, and ASM across a variety of platforms.   Automation makes it possible to process millions of lines of code quickly.  CM Meta Analytics’ output can be interfaced with external enterprise metadata analysis tools, such as CA Repository, increasing the value of these tools to the enterprise.

CM WebClient is an exciting addition to the CM First family of products.  It enables developers to transform existing applications into web or mobile apps without requiring an expert understanding of either the enabling code technologies (HTML5, CSS, etc.) or having to understand the variances among device types and device operating systems.  Be positioned to interface with your customers on the devices they prefer and the platforms they favor.

A frequent customer requirement is migrating to a new platform.  One company determined a need to migrate their code because they could no longer find developers who had the experience to support CA 2E applications or manage System i.  A more modern platform and application development environment would make it easier to find the support personnel and would more likely be able to handle future business requirements.

After seeing CM First’s M3 offering, the company migrated the code to Linux and CA Plex, adding CM WebClient for web development.    The results met their goals.  In addition to the successful rehosting, this company found they were able to display more information on one screen, which led to better ergonomics for users.  The application itself also performed better because the entire application was executed on one server instead of having to hop from one platform to another.

Talk to us if you:

  • Have performance or availability problems
  • Have unexplained security issues
  • Want to enhance applications that currently are essentially unmaintainable
  • Desire to reduce infrastructure costs
  • Wish to move to a more modern application framework
  • Need to rewrite your applications in more modern (supportable) languages
  • Desire to move your applications to a smaller set of standardized platforms
  • Seek to extend capabilities to the web or mobile platforms
  • Want to move to hybrid or public Cloud environments


CM First will help you modernize your CA 2E applications by providing an automated solution which will rapidly analyze and transform existing code, preserving your intellectual property.  You can get there from here. Just call us.

Current/supported releases

CM WebClient 1.8. Limited support for 1.6

CM Matchpoint ALM 5.2, last supported 5.0

CM MetaAnalytics 0.91, last supported 0.90

CA Plex 7.1, last supported 6.1 (will be dropped)

CA 2E 8.6, last supported 8.5


“The issue is not just that maintenance keeps on getting deferred; it is that the lack of an application inventory and the absence of a structured review process for the application portfolio. This means the IT management team is simply never aware of the true scale of the problem. This problem, hidden from sight, is getting bigger every year and more difficult to deal with every year.” –  Andy Kyte, vice president and Gartner fellow.

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