Tag Archives: PHP

IBM Impact 2013 Days Three and Four

Days three and four at IBM Impact 2013 were filled with more details on the overviews presented on day one. Probably the biggest highlights of the week were the individual sessions I had with IBM CICS experts on days three and four. The last time I was at Impact, these opportunities were not available. I highly recommend signing up for at least one of these events if you attend Impact, more if you can – regardless of which technical track is emphasized in your agenda. I was able to discuss the differences between the release our shop is currently running and Version 5.1 with an IBM’er who was very knowledgeable on the subject, and I had the unique opportunity to discuss the upcoming Dynamic Scripting feature pack with the developer that created it. There is more to gain from the “normal” sessions at Impact than can be acquired just from reading manuals, and the individual sessions are even beyond that.

Every IBM CICS person I talked with at Impact were genuinely excited about CICS TS 5.1. I can’t say enough about their passion, and their interest in answering any question any attendee had. Their enthusiasm made the week that was Impact 2013 an enjoyable learning experience.

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IBM Impact 2013 Day One

I saw a lot of good CICS sesssions right out of the gate at the IBM Impact 2013 conference. Version 5.1 has an amazing number of new features, including a couple of new and upcoming feature packs, and many enhancements to existing features.

New features include a cloud-like way to define and manage resources, autonomic policy-based management, a new version of CICS Explorer coming out in June, and a new product called CICS TS Value Unit Edition. New feature packs include Modern Batch and Mobile /JSON support. A statement of direction was given indicating upcoming feature packs for Security Tokens and V5 support of Dynamic Scripting. The new Dynamic Scripting feature pack will be built upon Liberty instead of Zero; one at least hopes this will give it a fast track into inclusion into the base product.

More than a few significant enhancements have been made in version 5.1. There is 24-bit and 31-bit storage relief, as much of the CICS system storage has been moved above the bar. As always with new releases and versions, more commands have been made thread safe. CEMT SET, PERFORM, ENABLE, and DISABLE commands are now audited – no more wondering who issued a newcopy command right before response time tanked!

Still much to learn in the remaining days of Impact 2013, but the preview on Monday certainly wets the appetite.

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Dynamic Scripting on Hold for Now

Just as a lot of folks were getting excited about using PHP in CICS, IBM pulled the plug on WebSphere sMash and Project Zero. Since Dynamic Scripting was built on these, and these are not being updated to support Java 7, and since CICS/TS V5 requires Java 7, there is no support for Dynamic Scripting in CICS/TS V5 at this time.

If you still have CICS/TS 4.1 or 4.2 regions, the Dynamic Scripting feature pack works great and can be used for pilot projects. However, it probably would not be a good idea to go production with them until the dust settles. IBM encourages PHP development in V4, but does not recommend using Groovy because of upward compatibility concerns.

IBM is currently investigating technologies for continuing providing PHP support in CICS. If you are interested in this support, you are encouraged to contact the IBM CICS team to discuss it through your IBM account representative.

For more info, see PHP and Dynamic Scripting in CICS TS on IBM’s web site.

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Dynamic Scripting Now Supported in CICS/TS 4.2

IBM had stated in the CICS/TS 4.2 Announcement Letter that it intended to provide support for dynamic scripting in 4.2, and now it has come through on this promise. Feature Pack for Dynamic Scripting 1.1 is now available for those running CICS/TS 4.2.

Dynamic Scripting, introduced as an unsupported SupportPac in CICS/TS 3.2, and supported in CICS/TS 4.1 as a Feature Pack, opens up CICS for the 4 million plus PHP and Groovy developers, and provides mainframe CICS shops with an environment that can be used to quickly develop prototypes and/or build productivity applications such as dashboards or widgets, most often associated with Intel or UNIX servers.

The availability of a version of the Feature Pack for CICS/TS 4.2 is welcome news for those of us curious about the 4.1 Feature Pack, but hesitant to invest time in it until it was supported in CICS/TS 4.2. Now that dynamic scripting has been supported in consecutive CICS/TS releases, it must be taken seriously as a viable option for PHP development!

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Dynamic Scripting and CICS/TS 4.2

Are you using the new Dynamic Scripting Feature Pack? If so, you must be running CICS/TS 4.1 … There was only a limited SupportPac for CICS/TS V3, and IBM just announced that the Dynamic Scripting Featue Pack is not supported on CICS/TS 4.2.

CICS/TS 4.2 supports only 64-bit JVM’s, and the feature pack has environment variables set for using 31-bit JVM’s. We will be watching for an update from IBM soon, as supporting dynamic scripting was listed on the CICS/TS 4.2 Announcment Letter‘s Statement of Direction.

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Make CICS/TS V3 Function Like 4.1 (For Free!)

Still running CICS/TS 3.1 or 3.2, and cannot upgrade yet to the recently released 4.1 version due to budget constraints or other restrictions? You can still get some of the benefits available in 4.1 by installing these free SupportPacs for CICS available on the IBM web site!
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SHARE 112 Review

There were plenty of great sessions at SHARE in Austin last week. I focused primarily on CICS sessions, and from Steve Ware‘s and Kathy Tyrrell’s Project Opening and Product Update through the Q-Box session featuring all of IBM’s CICS representatives, there was a lot of information to absorb. As speculated, there was quite a bit revealed about the upcoming CICS/TS 4.1 release. In case you did not attend SHARE in Austin but are considering attending in Denver, I’ll review some of the things that I thought made SHARE worth the trip. I can’t possibly give details on all of the sessions that I attended, but I’ll mention some of the highlights to give a flavor of what SHARE’s about.

John Tilling gave a CICS/TS 4.1 Technical Overview. In it, he revealed some details on event processing support, ATOM support, and that CICS Explorer, the GUI tool for defining resources, will be part of the CICS/TS 4.1. Where the beta version that was made available for CICS/TS 3.1 and 3.2 was read-0nly and required CPSM, CICS Explorer in 4.1 will be able to update and will not require CPSM. Matthew Webster gave an excellent demo of CICS Explorer in a later session.

I try to keep up with the latest trends in IT (I was involved in a project to serve information from CICS via web services before IBM started providing support for it), but I was behind some of the Web 2.0 technologies, such as REST, AJAX, JSON, etc. Dennis Weiand gave a really good presentation that explained a lot of these terms in easy-to-understand language, and talked about about how PHP can be used in CICS.

If you haven’t seen Ivan Gelb‘s CICS Performance Management and Best Practices session, I would highly recommend it. In fact, since Ivan keeps it current, I would recommend it even if you have seen it before. I saw some things I want to review to make sure we are meeting best practices in our shop.

I also try to catch some non-CICS sessions while at SHARE. I thought John Eells’ New Facilities and Features Beyond 1.10 had a lot of good information. z/OS 1.11 will be GA in September, and this session gave some insight about DS8000 support, extended format sequential files, performance improvements, and much more. z/OS 1.10 is the last to support the old LDAP server, so if you are still running it, it’s time to start converting to the new one.

Liam Doherty and Peter Van Dyke from IBM’s ISPF development facility in Perth gave quite a few sessions. We are lucky they are able to take the time to come this distance to make these presentations. While most speakers did not have handouts, Liam and Peter gave out CD’s with all the vital info from their presentations. SHARE is going “green” and not providing speakers the facilities to make copies of their handouts, so be sure to be ready to take lots of notes while you are there if you get to attend SHARE in Denver. A DVD with the proceedings will be sent in 6-8 weeks, but that’s time to forget a lot of the details if you don’t take good notes!

There is far more information available at SHARE than I have time to hit upon in a quick blog post. There are many sessions on z/Linux, COBOL, Assembler, JES, TCP/IP, VM, personal development – I can’t even begin to list all of the categories of sessions. If you have any chance at being able to attend SHARE in Denver in August, I would highly recommend that you visit the SHARE web site and start making plans.