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Mainframe conversion to Web services

Wayne Kernochan
IBM offers an extensive set of tools for Web-service conversion.

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Mainframe Tools: IBM Software Configuration Library Manager Advanced Edition for z/OS provides overall configuration management across Java and mainframe-language (e.g., COBOL) code libraries. IBM Enterprise COBOL for z/OS allows development of COBOL programs that integrate effectively with Java code in a Web service, including XML support and WebSphere Application Server interoperability support. IBM IMS allows its transactions to be published as Web services, and provides Integrated Connect to connect between IMS and typical Web-service application environments such as Linux.

IBM Debug Tool for z/OS and IBM Debug Tool Utilities and Advanced Functions for z/OS offers a single debugging tool for CICS, DB2, IMS, and batch applications written in COBOL, PL/1, C, C++, and IBM assembler. It can be used in concert with WebSphere Developer for zSeries to ensure that Web service provider code and existing mainframe application code work in harmony. File Manager helps Web-service converters to fix data problems and create test cases.

IBM Application Performance Analyzer for z/OS monitors and analyzes the runtime performance of CICS, PL/1, COBOL, DB2, IMS, and assembler-based mainframe applications, including Web services. IBM Fault Analyzer for z/OS allows users to determine why these applications fail. IBM CICS Transaction Server provides features to extend CICS applications to run in an SOA environment. IBM CICS Performance Analyzer for z/OS creates reports analyzing CICS application performance and performing problem determination and capacity planning.

Rational and WebSphere tools and platforms: IBM offers a set of mainframe software design and construction tools (under both the Rational and WebSphere brands) based on the Eclipse open source framework, which provides standards-based flexibility and third-party tool integration IBM Rational Application Developer for WebSphere Software includes rapid-development capabilities for Web, Java, XML, and Web services developers. It also has J2EE support, UML visualization, and portal development, as well as developer testing tools and a bundled license to Rational ClearCase LT for team collaboration.

Using the UML Profiles for Business Modeling and Software Services, architects can open a business process model, transform it to UML, model the application, and then transform it into Web service specifications for developers to code.

IBM Rational Software Architect (RSA) builds on Rational Application Developer by adding full UML 2.0 modeling, Pattern/Transform Authoring, a Reusable Asset Browser, support for UML Language Transforms, Structural Review & Control, and C/C++ Development Tools.

WebSphere Developer for zSeries (WDz) adds to Rational Application Developer mainframe-development and existing-application-upgrade functionality that allows users to prepare typical existing/legacy software for inclusion in composite applications that integrate business processes effectively. WDz also includes Enterprise Generation Language support (i.e., a utility to enable business-oriented procedural developers who may not know Java to develop, test, and debug data-driven Web applications, Web services, and business logic using procedural programming constructs), and can generate Java or COBOL code, depending on the deployment platform. WDz also includes support for web services and JCA connectivity to multiple versions of CICS and IMS, as well as visual modeling and flow-generation support for the CICS V3 Service Flow Feature.

IBM WebSphere Integration Developer (WID) adds workflow and business integration functionality to allow creation of new composite applications that integration with existing application functions and Web services. WID includes native support for WS-BPEL4WS-compliant processes and a range of process integration and ESB capabilities. WebSphere Business Modeler gives the business analyst tools for business-process modeling, and can flow data into WID and RSA. IBM Rational also provides tools for requirements analysis, testing, change and configuration management, and project/process management.

Users may employ IBM WebSphere software-infrastructure components and especially IBM WebSphere Application Server, IBM WebSphere Portal, and the IBM DB2 database as a "framework" for software built with tools such as WDz or RAD. IBM also provides support for Apache Tomcat and BEA WebLogic as well as JDBC access to other major popular databases.

The Eclipse initiative specifically supports substituting or adding third-party development tools to IBM's tools and framework. IBM's service arm focuses on "on-demand" computing and providing effective e-business solutions, including Web services. IBM WebSphere Application Server for z/OS (WASz) is a strategic platform on which to run business applications and processes. It provides core application support capabilities for vertical/functional ISVs by allowing them to carry out application-server tasks across J2EE and mainframe services (including those on CICS, IMS, and TPF platforms). By integrating converted mainframe applications with WASz-based ISV applications, users can leverage both existing in-house applications and packaged ISV ones.

IBM WebSphere Studio Asset Analyzer for Multiplatforms creates an application-asset information repository for enterprise wide application understanding.

Other tools include IBM Tivoli Composite Application Manager. It allows monitoring and performance analysis of composite applications with J2EE front ends and CICS/IMS back ends. Asset Transformation Workbench can be used to identify candidates for mainframe-application Web-service conversion and create these components.

About the author:Kernochan is president of Infostructure Associates

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