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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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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IBM Impact 2013

I am attending the IBM Impact 2013 conference this week. Looking forward to a lot of good CICS sessions.

If you are attending and see me, be sure and say hello. I’ll be the one in the bright yellow shirt today.  🙂

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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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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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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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CICS-L Listserv

A great source of CICS information and help is the CICS-L Listserv. As of this post, there are over 1800 members, but only a handful of regular contributors. Still, it is a good resource for when you get stuck, and its archive is a great source of info. Since you are reading my blog, I highly recommend that you check out the CICS-L archives and consider subscribing.

Handy Listserv Commands

Below is a list of listserv commands you may find handy should you subscribe. All of these commands are issued by sending an email from the email address that is or that you wish to be subscribed to the CICS-L listserv.

Subscribe: Send a message to LISTSERV@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU, with the following in the text (not the subject): SUBSCRIBE CICS-L

Temporarily Leave: If, for example, you are going on vacation, send a message to LISTSERV@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU, with the following in the text (not the subject): SET CICS-L NOMAIL

Rejoin: When you are back from your vacation, send a message to LISTSERV@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU, with the following in the text (not the subject): SET CICS-L MAIL

Leave Permanently: Send a message to LISTSERV@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU, with the following in the text (not the subject): SIGNOFF CICS-L

For More Information: Send a message to LISTSERV@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU, with the following in the text (not the subject): HELP or INFO … HELP will have a short help message sent to you, where INFO will have a list of documents that you can order with more extensive help sent to you.

A few notes on listserv etiquette:

  • Do your homework before asking for help. Be sure you RTFM (read the fine manuals); you don’t want to ask a question and take up others’ time on something that you can look up yourself.
  • Be sure to include a descriptive subject line. E-mails received with no subject line may likely be perceived as spam by an email filter and be deleted before reaching the recipient’s inbox, and those with a concise subject are more likely to be read and/or answered.
  • Don’t just automatically hit “reply”; that will send your response to the entire list. If your response is only of interest to the person who wrote the message you are replying to, then cut their email address and send your message just to them.
  • Never use CICS-L to market a product. Posting independent reviews or help tips on CICS-related products is usually OK, but marketing is not acceptable.
  • Temporarily leave CICS-L when going on vacation. Please be aware that if you use an auto-responder while on vacation without setting your subscription options to NOMAIL, your “out of office” messages will be broadcast to everyone on the list. Most of them do not care and do not wish to receive such messages from other listserv members.

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