Information on setting up CICS to run CSI appears in the z/OS Communications Server IP CICS Sockets Guide. The CICS Sockets Guide also contains documentation on using the CSI API and writing programs to support sockets.

CICS Web Services

As we mentioned earlier, CICS Web services is the CICS implementation of the functionality of Web services as defined by the WS-I. Web services is, at its core, an implementation of Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) that’s devoid of any proprietary methods or architecture. All major technology vendors support it, and it has a robust capability for future growth.

Web services uses the Web Services Descriptor Language (WSDL) to provide a language- and platform-independent method of defining the request and the data that will be passed between the service requester and the service provider. Additionally, all of the information within the WSDL is maintained in XML format, allowing for access by any language that supports XML.

CICS provides utilities to reduce the effort required to add Web services provider support to existing applications by creating the XML and WSDL required from the COBOL data definitions the program uses. Also, a CICS-provided utility will generate COBOL data definitions from existing WSDL, reducing the effort required to add Web services requester capabilities to a CICS program. There are limitations to the capabilities of these utilities, and you should review the functionality of the application before using them.

CICS Web services provides run-time support to automatically parse incoming XML and map its data into the COBOL data layout. Conversely, outgoing data streams will be parsed so CICS can build the XML to hold the data before completing the request.

CICS Web services’ use of industry standard, non-proprietary technology makes it a superb choice when implementing a Business-to-Business (B2B)-type communication capability. Using WSDL insulates both the service requester and provider from application or infrastructure changes; using SOAP and XML provides a standard interface that works across all hardware and software platforms.

Conclusion

Since the initial introduction of CICS support for TCP/IP sockets nearly 20 years ago, IBM has regularly enhanced and expanded CICS Internet connection functionality. CICS support for Web services (the current industry standard for B2B communication) shows that IBM is committed to continuing this process, while its continued support for CSI shows it understands the need to support its customer’s existing software investment.

The wide variety of Internet connection options lets customers select the one that meets their needs, rather than having to settle for a one-size-fits-all solution. For example, high-volume, resource-intensive, strategic applications requiring fast response time may be best-suited to a CICS Sockets Interface solution, while external clients can be offered the industry standard Web services option. For all these needs, CICS Internet support is robust, diverse, and ready to go.

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