Blog Summary

  • Expanding CICS modern language capabilities with Node.js
  • Enhancing the CICS Explorer graphical interface
  • Enriching the foundation of CICS


Earlier this year, we were delighted to announce that CICS TS V5.5 would soon be generally available to all our customers, and today we are happy to announce that CICS TS V5.5 is ready for you.

From the beginning of the development of CICS TS V5.5, IBM Design Thinking has been the core of our strategy. To some, this terminology may be all too familiar, but for those who are new to the concept, you will be glad to know that it means our development has been grounded in the feedback and responses from you, our users. This ultimately means we have created a release that revolves around your requirements. Over the course of CICS TS Version 5, we have successfully satisfied over 500 customer requirements, with 79 in this release alone. Of that 500, here are some of the top requirements we have answered.

Expanding with modern languages

What justifies our status as an unparalleled mixed-language application server? Well, one of many reasons is that we offer an unparalleled number of supported languages in our portfolio including COBOL, PL/I, C, C++, IBM Basic assembly language, REXX, and Java. In CICS TS V5.5 we have extended our capabilities once again, taking application serving to the next level, with Node.js. So why Node.js?

CICS is constantly looking to offer the right language to solve the right business problem. Node is a runtime that focusses on high network bandwidth applications. It is very good for developing asynchronous Node applications as they are designed to receive a request, potentially make several backend calls, then pull those responses together for the user. It is the efficiency at which it can do that, that is one of the powerful benefits of Node. Alongside this, Node.js is a highly scalable language, many developers (over 60% according to StackOverflow) have JavaScript skills, so using it on the server side and exposing out backend services as APIs in a programmatic way, made it an obvious choice for the CICS development team to support.

For more information about why Node.js in CICS may be the right solution for you, listen to Mark Cocker, Senior Software Developer & Node.js in CICS Hill Lead, explain in this podcast.

Enhancing the CICS Explorer

CICS Explorer has been a key focus point in CICS TS V5.5. Many people are familiar with the CPSM Web User Interface (WUI), but, through the efforts of our development team in this release, we can now say that anything you can do in the WUI you can now do, or do even better, in the CICS Explorer. Through grounded research, the development team have worked on improving core functions in the graphical interface, including adding the ability to summarize. The summarize feature which may be familiar to some in the CPSM Web User Interface is now enhanced in CICS Explorer to not only group resources to analyze, but also group by more than one attribute, expand them out for more information, and very quickly change between different types of aggregation.

Moreover, we have made significant improvements in the area of workload management, and Business Application Services (BAS). The development team have improved the visual representation of the workload manager to enhance the resource mapping, so that resources are much more clearly shown The tree structure now allows users to see how these resources interrelate more easily than ever before.

Ben Cox, CICS Explorer Hill Team Lead, Software Engineer & Designer, discusses more of the CICS Explorer enhancements in his podcast.

Enriching the Foundation of CICS

Aside from the new languages and modern graphical interfaces, in CICS TS V5.5, there are also an abundance of enhancements to the foundational areas of CICS. We have listened to all of our clients’ great input and delivered solutions to a further 79 customer requirements (RFE’s).

You asked for enhanced security on JCL submit, OTE Threadsafe Coupling Facility Data Tables, expansion of the Query Security API, and many more. This release we have developed solutions for all of these. Here are some of the key areas we have looked at:

System rules were first introduced in CICS TS V5.4 and are now available on all CICS TS V5 releases. You can now monitor the state of system resources or the overall health of a CICS system by defining rules in CICS policies. You can perform actions such as issuing messages, emitting CICS events or abending tasks. Now, the CICS Explorer provides a policy editor that can be used to create and deploy policies in CICS in minutes.

Another example of the abundance of enhancements in this release is MXT. When CICS encounters an MXT condition, the CICS-MQ attachment can calculate the maximum number of MQGET calls that MQMONITOR can issue per send when this condition exists. This effectively imposes a restriction on the number of tasks being started by MQMONITOR resources while CICS is at MXT.

To learn more about some of the other foundational enhancements in CICS TS V5.5, have a listen to CICS Foundation experts, John Tilling and Colin Penfold, in this latest podcast.

As we enter our 50th year of innovation in CICS, we look to continue the legacy of CICS being one of the most powerful and vital business technologies in the world. Again, customers continue to drive our strategy, and without your insights we wouldn’t be releasing our 27th release today (and that’s just on the MVS platform)! With this in mind, if you are interested in helping to shape future releases, please get involved with the IBM Z Client Feedback Program.

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