Somebody once said that a technology isn’t mainstream until it has made it to CICS. This must mean that Web 2.0, introduced in CICS Transaction Server (TS) Version 3 (V3) and integrated into CICS TS V4, has finally made it to the enterprise level. With a collection of SupportPacs and core CICS technology, IBM is showing its commitment to Web 2.0 technology.
Through modern scripting languages such as PHP and Groovy, the concept of situational applications—where users create short-lived applications to quickly fill the needs of users—has arrived. As requirements change, it should be simple and efficient to update the application. However, once an application is no longer needed, it can be disposed of because it didn’t take long to create. The key concept is to quickly address business requirements and respond to change with minimal cost.
The combination of CICS and Web 2.0 lets you play in a field of situational applications, mashups, and user-driven content.
The CA8K SupportPac, which first shipped in March 2008, was an initial step in support of Web 2.0 technologies on CICS. The SupportPac, which runs on CICS TS V3, provides the ability to deliver Atom feeds from a CICS region. Atom is a protocol for publishing syndicated feeds over HTTP and is described in the:
- Atom Syndication Format (www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc4287.txt)
- Atom Publishing Protocol (www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc5023.txt).
With the SupportPac, you can expose Atom feeds in CICS using data in Temporary Storage Queues (TSQs), files, or from a CICS application.
The SupportPac provides sample code for mapping inbound HTTP requests down a CICS pipeline and then on to the appropriate service program for retrieving the data from a CICS resource. Using a REST-style interface, the operations can be performed on the CICS resources using these HTTP methods:
- GET to retrieve an item from the resource
- POST to create a new item in the resource
- PUT to update an item in the resource
- DELETE to delete an item in the resource.
In March 2009, the CA1S SupportPac was released and provides PHP support on CICS TS V3 systems. PHP is a popular Web-based scripting language used for creating dynamic Web content and can be used to return CICS data using RESTful (Representational State Transfer) requests. It provides interaction with existing CICS applications through an implementation of EXEC CICS LINK using a COMMAREA to pass data.