Category Archives: Education

IBM Impact 2014

I am fortunate once again to be attending IBM Impact. The general session again focused on mobile, and featured speakers from Tangerine Bank, Square, and Daimler Car2Go. Live demos did not go too well due to apparent networking issues, but speakers covered nicely.

Here are some of my biggest take-aways from today’s CICS sessions:

  • The 5.2 Developer Trial can be turned into a full version without re-installing.
  • The mobile feature pack introduced in 5.1 is integrated into the base in 5.2.
  • “Simple” Occurs Depending On is supported in 5.2 web services.
  • 5.2 has something called Multi-Versioning, which allows a new version of a program to be implemented, and taken out, quickly. It is possible to have the new version and old version available simultaneously.
  • Of course, as with every new release of CICS in recent years, more things are moving above the bar for virtual storage relief, and more commands are threadsafe.
  • It was not explicitly stated, but all indications are that the CICSPlex WUI is going away after V5. It is time to really start using the CICS Explorer, if you’re not already using it.

I had a great one-on-one “Lunch and Learn” session on the CICS Explorer. It was originally slated for myself and one other person, but they were a no-show. The session was a good review of many of the things I already knew, and I picked up a couple of new tidbits. The one-on-one and Lunch and Learn sessions alone pretty much make the trip for Impact worthwhile.

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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 Two

My day two at IBM Impact 2013 was filled with more information about some of the new and upcoming enhancements to CICS/TS in V5.1. Andy Armstrong’s session on JSON in CICS (which is basically web services dealing with data in JSON format instead of XML) was excellent, as were Fraser Bohm’s sessions on Modern Batch and Liberty containers. The WAS Liberty profile is key behind a lot of the cool new capabilities in CICS; I would like to have seen even more on that – perhaps a “for dummies” session and one with more details and/or examples. We are fortunate to have the Hursely folks here in Vegas to share their insight on some of the latest developments in CICS.

The conference is just half over – still lots to see and learn!

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SHARE CICS Sessions in Seattle

On the CICS-L listserv today, Steve Ware posted the “prime time” sessions that will be presented at SHARE March 14-18 in Seattle:

CICS Project Opening and Product Update
CICS Transaction Server 4.1 - A Technical Overview
CICS Event Processing in Practice
CICS Performance Tuning Primer - SIT Parameters
IBM CICS Explorer Progress Report - User Experience and What's New
Web Services in CICS - Beyond the Basics
CICS Performance Management Best Practices
CICS Extreme Debugging - Hangs and Loops
CICS-MQ Update
CICSPlex SM: What is it and Why do I Care?
Planning your CICS TS V4.1 Upgrade
Solving Problems using CICS Trace
CICS Hands-on Lab: Exploring CICS TS V4.1
CICS Transaction Server V4.1 Performance Health Check
TCP/IP Directions for CICS Interconnectivity
CICS and Web 2.0 - End to End Development
CICS and WAS on z/OS -- New Integration Capabilities
Tuning CICSPlex SM for maximum responsiveness
Tuning: Handling Limit Conditions in CICS
Developing and Debugging Java Applications in CICS
CICS Nuts & Bolts and Gotchas, Question Box and Pot Luck - Oh My!

Steve is the project manager of the SHARE CICS Project. He has posted a PDF of the Seattle CICS schedule that you can use to help schedule your week if you plan to attend. Be there if you can! SHARE gives the experienced systems programmer the best bang for their education buck.

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SHARE in Seattle

Don’t forget that the next SHARE conference is coming up fast (March 14-18), and early bird discounted registration ends January 22. There are always great CICS sessions at SHARE, presented by both IBM developers and fellow sysprogs sharing their experiences. I attended SHARE in Seattle in 2006, and it is a nice setting – highly recommended if you can attend. If you can’t attend because your employer won’t let you go, be sure to check out the page on building a case to attend SHARE on the SHARE web site.

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Learn About How to Develop CICS Web Service Applications

IBM has a free webcast coming up next week that would appear to have some great information for those that have not delved into the world of web services yet. Paul Cooper’s presentation will include an overview of CICS web services, an introduction to using RD/z (IBM’s Rational Developer for System/z), and some best practices.

The webcast starts at 11 am EDT on September 22. This is just part one of a two part series … While Part One covers developing CICS web service applications, Part Two will be exactly one week later, in which Nigel Williams will share details regarding deploying CICS web services.

CICS Web Services Development – 11 am EDT, September 22, 2009

CICS Web Services Deployment – 11 am EDT, September 29, 2009

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SHARE in Denver

SHARE in Denver is quickly approaching (August 23-28). If you plan to attand and have not made your arrangements, now is the time to start planning! The SHARE Denver Update PDF file contains updates and tips for justifying the trip. The focus this time around is on virtualization and SOA, but there are always plenty of other current and legacy topics of those don’t fit in with what you are working on. The gang behind the CICS Project, as always, has a great slate of presentations planned. Also, the 40th anniversary of CICS will be celebrated. The SHARE conference is a great way for an experienced mainframer to spend educational dollars and be assured of getting ample return on the investment.