CICS / WebSphere

IBM CICS Explorer was introduced in November 2008 for z/OS. Now this feature is available for CICS Transaction Server (TS) on z/VSE. This enhancement provides services that let you display CICS status information on a workstation in a compact, complete way.

Even experienced CICS TS users can find monitoring CICS activity and resources challenging; most of the information comes from CICS statistics or via CICS inquire commands. These interfaces require some knowledge to operate. CICS Explorer makes it easier to collect this information without requiring deep knowledge of the CICS commands and utilities used if retrieving the information the traditional way using CICS transactions.
CICS Explorer consists of two parts, a workstation-based client and a host-based server. The client is based on Eclipse Rich Client Platform (RCP) technology, which is a cross-platform framework for building and deploying PC desktop applications. With the new client code and the server code on z/VSE 5.1.1, CICS Explorer now works with CICS TS on z/VSE.

The new server code is part of CICS TS for VSE/ESA. It lets the client retrieve useful data from a single CICS TS partition. The CICS Explorer client can connect to any CICS TS partition on z/VSE, or any CICS or CICSPLEX on z/OS.

One advantage is that the client code is the same for z/VSE and z/OS, so it can be used by large shops with both operating systems and multiple CICS partitions or regions as well as by small z/VSE shops with only one CICS partition. CICS Explorer client can be configured for individual needs.

CICS Explorer Capabilities on z/VSE

The CICS Explorer displays resource information in views. You can determine the size and position of the views and information to be shown. Views can be grouped to a perspective, which is a layout of one or more views in the workbench. You can decide how you want to lay out the views in the CICS Explorer and save the layout as a new perspective. You can switch between different perspectives as needed.

The client will retrieve information from the z/VSE CICS TS at first selection or when you press the refresh button. For any failing request, a message appears in the error log window of the client.

An example of such a view is an overview of all files defined to CICS TS. Detailed information about each file (such as status of the file, allowed operations on it, and more) appears in the file view. Figure 1 shows a list of supported views; Figure 2 shows a sample program view. 

Here’s how this works: The CICS Explorer Client connects to CICS TS on z/VSE through the CICS Web interface using the HTTP 1.0 protocol. The CICS Explorer server code receives the client request and converts it into EXEC CICS INQUIRE commands or Control Information Queries. Results from these commands and queries are converted back to HTTP format and returned to the client. Results appear in views. The client will recognize that the connected server is z/VSE and adjust the views accordingly.

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