Tag Archives: cics explorer

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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Accessing “The Good Stuff” With CICS Explorer in CICS/TS 4.1

When I initially installed CICS/TS 4.1 in our Systems test environment, I started looking for what was new and improved in this version over the 3.2 we had been running. One thing I was looking forward to was seeing the “update” options available in CICS Explorer; in version 3 of CICS/TS, there were many options teasingly grayed out. However, when I loaded CICS Explorer and pointed it at my shiny new CICS/TS 4.1 region, those options were still grayed out!

After doing some web searches, I found information that indicated that to access the update functions, I would need to change the CICS Explorer connection type from CICSPlex SM Data Interface to CICS Management Interface. Of course, nothing is ever that easy …

When I changed the CICS Explorer to use  the CICS Management Interface, I got the following error when I tried to connect:

org.xml.sax.SAXParseException: The element type “HR” must be terminated by the matching end-tag “</HR>”

Boy, it is really clear what this means, isn’t it? Translated into English, this is what it is really saying:

“You tried to access a port with the wrong protocol; make sure you are using a CICSPlex SM Data Interface to access a WUI port, or a CICS Management Interface to access a CMCI port.”

Up to this point, I had never heard of a CMCI port. However, it was fairly trivial to define new WUI parm, CMCIPORT, and point CICS Explorer to that port when using the CICS Management Interface. Once that was done, I magically got all the update options.

IBM has a procedure documented for setting up CMCI in stand-alone (non-CICSPlex) CICS regions so that they, too, can be accessed with CICS Explorer. (Thanks go to Chris Hodgins over at The Master Terminal for that link!)

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Implementing CICSPlex – Overview

It’s been a while since I’ve last posted, but now I have some time and an interesting topic, one that will span several postings. I have had it on my to-do list for some time to implement CICSPlex; it is obvious that IBM views this as a central component to managing CICS regions. It is now part of the CICS/TS installation (no need to download or install any additional components to implement); a lot of great documentation is available (a whole series of manuals dedicated to it); and CICS Explorer, touted as the “new face of CICS”, requires it as a prerequisite (or at least CICSPlex is a prerequsite for CICS Explorer in V3 of CICS/TS, but not in V4). Chris Hodgins over at The Master Terminal posted 6 reasons you should implement CICSPlex. However, I just could not find the time to put all the pieces together to get it set up in our shop. Recently I was able to dedicate a few days to it, and with the assistance of a colleague who had already been through it, I was able to get the ball rolling. In this series of postings, I hope to make clear some of the concepts and steps that had me stopped until I had the time and assistance to set it up.

Below is an overview of what is to come in future postings:

  1. Plan the environment
  2. Define the CMAS
  3. Convert an existing CICS into a WUI
  4. Set up other CICS’s as LMAS’s

So that’s four more postings that should be coming in the near future. If you have not implemented CICSPlex yet, perhaps this will help you get the ball rolling, as my colleague helped me. If your shop is like ours, you are up to your eyeballs just keeping things going and don’t have a lot of time for basic research; a little assistance can go a long ways.

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CICS Fix Lists

IBM has posted fix lists for each supported version of CICS/TS, plus CICS Explorer:

A comma separated values (CSV) file is also available for each for importing into a spreadsheet or database.

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CICS Explorer Messages

Have you implemented CICS Explorer yet? If so, have you had a need to look up a message issued by CICS Explorer? They are prefixed CNX, and you won’t find them in the CICS/TS Information Center.

While in the CICS Explorer, click “Help” on the menu bar and select “Help Contents”. To search for any of the CNX messages, enter the message in the search box at the top of the “Contents” and click “Go”. You can also display all CNX messages by performing the following:

  1. Expand “CICS Explorer User Guide” (click on the plus sign to its left)
  2. Expand “Reference information”
  3. Expand “Messages”
CICS Explorer Messages

Enter the message in the search box and click Go, or expand the appropriate menu tree items to display all messages.

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CICS Explorer Temp Stg Bug

A bug was uncovered with CICS Explorer with CICS/TS 4.1, where a request to delete a specific temporary storage queue results in all ts queues being deleted. This has been resolved (APAR IZ65446), but be sure not to use CICS Explorer to delete ts queues if you are running CICS/TS 4.1 until you have confirmed that you have the APAR applied.

For more information on this and all other fixes for CICS Explorer, be sure to review IBM’s Fix list for the IBM CICS Explorer web page.

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