Blog Summary

  • Find out about CICS and learn how it is relevant to you
  • Learn when to choose Node.js with CICS
  • Explore how to run a Node.js application in CICS


What is CICS?
CICS Transaction Server is a powerful mixed language application server on the IBM Z mainframe. For business-critical services, it provides online transaction management and connectivity. It can process incredibly high workloads in a scalable and secure environment, and in a way that is both performant and cost-efficient.

You can learn more in the Product Overview and video course Introduction to CICS.

When should I choose Node.js with CICS?
Many CICS customers expose their core business applications as RESTful APIs, for example using CICS web services or z/OS Connect Enterprise Edition. In some cases the APIs need additional logic to combine several API requests into a single response, or to augment them with data from other sources.

Although Node.js applications can be hosted on many platforms, it can be more efficient, secure, and have fewer moving parts in the overall solution when hosting them on z/OS together with the applications and data they use.

Will I need to know what a transaction is?
No, CICS services such as the EXEC CICS commands, and transaction and security context are not available to Node.js applications. Instead, the Node.js application can call a RESTful API via CICS web services or z/OS Connect that do have access to CICS services.

Can I use all my existing Node.js development tools?
Yes, you can use your existing development and testing tools. The Node.js application needs to be included in a CICS bundle to be deployed into CICS. This can be done using the CICS Explorer which is an Eclipse-based tool to manage CICS systems and resources.

How do I run my Node.js application in CICS?

  1. A Node.js application typically consists of a .js file that is the initial script, a package.json file that describes the modules the script requires, and other scripts and static web site files.
  2. First create a CICS bundle using CICS Explorer V5.5 and start the CICS bundle editor. Select New > Node.js Application and the wizard will guide you through selecting the Node.js application start script and creating a profile. The profile is used to customize the installation location of Node.js in zFS and any environment variables your application may need, such as TCP/IP port and working directory for log files.
  3. Next export the CICS bundle to zFS. If your application requires modules that are not already installed in zFS, use Node Package Manager (npm) that is provided with IBM SDK for Node.js – z/OS to install them either in a global location or within the CICS bundle.
  4. Finally define and install a BUNDLE resource in CICS. The Node.js application will be started.

Can I try this out without installing anything?
Yes – sign up at the page “Join our CICS early access program” and the beta team will provide a system you can access via your browser to try this out.

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