SHARE is a user group primarily supported and run by customers but it provides some sessions presented by IBM. In past conferences, the most popular sessions dealt with customers migrating to the latest version of CICS. Attendees were able to listen to experiences from other installations that may impact them and help save a great deal of energy and time in the migration process. Although IBM tries to provide sufficient material to help customers migrate to the next release, it’s never as relevant as listening to an installation’s experiences. If you’re ready to migrate to the next release, be sure and catch these sessions. If you can’t attend, go to the SHARE Website and download session materials from past conferences.
Enterprise Tech Journal provides a wealth of information about IBM products. Many of the articles are written by users, but some come from IBM. The material is current and relevant to what customers are experiencing. The bi-monthly publication is full of information about many mainframe products being introduced or used by customers to get the most efficient and high-performance environment. The magazine’s Website, www.EnterpriseSystemsMedia.com, lets you search for past articles and topics you might have missed.
Java and Web Services
IBM recognized that Internet access and resources were going to require a totally new access that non-mainframe folks were comfortable with. This led to the release of Java resources in CICS.
The announcement of CICS TS 1.3 in 1998 introduced support for the Java Virtual Machine (JVM). At that time, very few CICS systems programmers had any experience with UNIX or Java. The operating system of choice was MVS and the programming language was COBOL. The Internet was gaining popularity, but most CICS applications ran on the mainframe.
IBM went through several iterations of running Java in CICS, some more successful than others. At this time, however, many customers are running successful Java applications in CICS. The standard for applications, however, is still COBOL. The first evolution of this coexistence process was the introduction of Language Environment (LE). By removing old versions of COBOL and requiring all installations to run the newer LE COBOL, it enabled CICS to support both languages and encouraged customers to develop new applications in whatever language they chose.
The problem, however, is still that most CICS systems programmers aren't familiar with the UNIX environment. To fully enable any Java support in CICS, there need to be parameters in the CICS environment and entries into the UNIX environment to connect the two operating systems. Figure 1 shows a few examples.
Reference the CICS System Definition Guide for all Java parameters. Most CICS systems programmers depend on the UNIX systems programmer (usually a z/OS systems programmer) to create these definitions in UNIX if they need Java support in CICS. There’s a great deal of documentation online for more Java support in CICS. The following publications are just a couple of examples:
• Java Application Development for CICS (SG24-5275-03)
• IBM CICS Performance Series: CICS TS V4.2 and Java Performance, REDP-4850-00.
IBM has continued to enhance CICS with features that help customers support the product. Hopefully, if you haven’t used these before, try them out and see if they make your job easier.