Category Archives: ibm

Another CICS Celebration (maybe) – Congrats, Hursley!

IBM Hursley

IBM Hursley

I recently read that CICS development was moved to Hursley, UK, on August 2, 1974. If that is true, this marks the 40th anniversary of that occasion.

However … IBM has a technote that states that CICS support was moved to Hursley in 1976. But then, the RedBook “CICS from Start to Finish” says that CICS development was moved to Hursley in 1974.

Can anyone clarify?

Regardless of the exact history, the CICS folks at Hursley, as well as their counterparts in the States, have done an incredible job for many years keeping CICS relevant in this ever-changing industry.

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Happy Birthday CICS! 45 Years and Going Strong!

I read on John Knutson’s CICSbuzz newsletter that today, July 8, 2014, marks the 45th birthday for CICS. Just the other day I was just wearing my 35 years of CICS t-shirt that I must have bought from Bob Yelavich ten years ago. If you are not familiar with the CICS Buzz, I encourage you to check it out and subscribe. In this issue, there is lots of good info about CICS Transaction Gateway 9.1 (with RESTful JSON support for mobile devices) and a new CICS Modernization Solution Pack.

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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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z/OS Explorer and CICS Explorer

CICS Explorer

I have just installed the new z/OS Explorer, and the latest version of CICS Explorer (5.1.1) under it. If you are not running CICS/TS V5, no worries; CICS Explorer V5.1.1 supports CICS/TS V3, V4, and V5. With the z/OS Explorer, now you can view/edit MVS and zFS datasets and review output on the JES spool from the same Eclipse environment where you define/control CICS resources. In this post, I will review the steps to install these (free) products and why.

The installation process is fairly simple, but if you have not started working with the CICS Explorer, you will find using it a big sluggish compared to the  CICSPlex WUI if your workstation is low on horsepower. It does take some resources to run the Eclipse environment, but that’s just the way things are going; mainframe support personnel need beefy client workstations as well as PC developers. Maybe not as beefy, but much more so than the thin clients many use today. After all, the mainframe is a server, too.

Here is an overview of the steps I took in installing the tools:

  1. Download the zip file containing z/OS Explorer and Installation Manager
  2. Expand the zip file and run launchpad.exe
  3. Select z/OS Explorer, Installation Manager, and Eclipse
  4. Load Installation Manager and add URL http://public.dhe.ibm.com/software/htp/zos/2/1/0 to Preferences > Repositories.
  5. Choose CICS Explorer SDK

From there, just point to your z/OS FTP servers and CICSPlexes (IP address/port number), and supply authentication info. Be sure to use your CICSPlex CMCI port rather than TCP/IP port, or else the CICS view will be read-only. (I made that mistake.)

The process is much easier than it once was; IBM has done a great job of bundling everything needed. IBM  also has some great information regarding installing the z/OS Explorer and installing the new CICS Explorer. Several scenarios are covered for the installation of CICS Explorer; the process I outlined above was Scenario 1 (“new to Installation Manager and CICS Explorer V5.1.1”).

If you haven’t started using CICS Explorer, now is the time to start. The CICSPlex WUI will be going way, all the CICS tools are being engineered to use this interface, as well as all the development tools, and MQ Explorer. Get z/OS Explorer today and get started!

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Mobile Mainframe – Check It Out!

I just received a very nice email from IBM’er Andy Armstrong, letting me know about his new blog, Mobile Mainframe. I see that he has posted that he had seen that I mentioned him and his IBM Impact session in one of my recent posts.

Andy’s session at IBM Impact 2013 was a great introduction to having a CICS back end to a mobile application, using JSON. With CICS TS 5.1, all the tools are there. Andy even had the courage to do a live demo … We all know from Bill Gates’ infamous blue screen of death demo years back how dangerous that can be! But no glitches for Andy – his sample insurance claim demo went smooth.

Check out Andy’s blog and bookmark it – I have already done so. I am sure you will find interesting reading there.

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CICS/TS 4.2 – For Free!

Did you know that you can bring in CICS/TS 4.2 for free? On January 27, 2012, IBM made available a Developer Trial for CICS/TS 4.2. It is totally free, and though it will expire, it can be reordered as many times as desired. A perfect way to bring the latest release of CICS in to get some hands-on experience with the new features so that you will be better prepared to justify ordering it for your production environments! Here are links to the announcement letter:

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Twitter and the Systems Programmer

Wow, how time flies. I can’t believe July is here, and I haven’t blogged since April! No wonder another blogger that linked to me recently referred to me as a “sometimes blogger”!

Last time, I said that I’d write a few lines about Twitter. Twitter is the micro-blogging site, with posts limited to 140 characters, that has a reputation of being where people write what they had for breakfast. Well, Twitter is not just for breakfast anymore!

Postings on Twitter are called “tweets”, and the 140-character limit on tweets coincides with the limit on SMS text messages on cell phones. It is very convenient to both post and read tweets on today’s smart phones, making Twitter a truly portable application. A smart phone is not required, though – the traditional browser interface works just fine.

While many people do use Twitter to post the most mundane events of their lives, it has become a very popular tool used by businesses to put out news. While I also tweet new things as I come across them, I follow a number of businesses and other tweeters and “retweet” the ones that deal with CICS and/or sound of interest to those that wear CICS systems programming hats.

Some of the industry-related tweeters I follow include @IBM_CICS, @CICSfluff, @IBMredbooks, @dianegjohnson, @mainframemag, and @MainframeZone. There are also tweets with current and upcoming information on conferences, such as @SHAREhq and @IBMimpact.

Some interesting non-industry-just-for-fun tweeters I follow include parody musician “Weird” @AlYankovic, late night host @CraigyFerg, astronomers Neil deGrasse Tyson, @neiltyson and Phil Plait, the @BadAstronomer, mythbusting Adam Savage, who is @donttrythis, and musician/podcaster @GeorgeHrab.

Who do you follow? If you’re not following anyone, get out there and look for the kinds of people you are interested in, and share!

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