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Creating a modern GUI

 
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JanWouter

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Joined: 02 Mar 2007
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Location: Netherlands

PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2009 6:32 pm    Post subject: Creating a modern GUI
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Hi everyone.
I'm looking into the possibilities to create mainframe online applications, using a modern GUI. My idea is to create a webserver on the mainframe (z-Series) where, with use of java ,mainframe services are called to process requests.

In this case we can use a standard webbrowser to enclose our mainframe data and applications. Is there anyone on this forum who has experience with this approach and can he he help me out with some more technical details about the software used/neccessary?
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Robert Sample

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Joined: 06 Jun 2008
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2009 6:45 pm    Post subject:
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Let's think back: SAA? Rational Developer? Visual Age? Not to mention that IBM's HTTP server already lets me look at my mainframe sequential files as well as PDS files and members from Firefox or IE.
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JanWouter

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2009 7:12 pm    Post subject:
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How can I do that, looking at my mainframe files using my webbrowser?
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Robert Sample

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2009 7:24 pm    Post subject:
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It is very site-specific since
1) HTTP server has to be set up on the mainframe
2) MVSDS has to be configured within the HTTP server to allow this
3) Security, if enabled for HTTP web server, must be enabled

Once all the pieces are there, though, the process is simple. On my PC, I type into my browser http://<mainframe name>/mvsds/'DATA.SET.NAME' and hit enter. If the file is sequential, it is downloaded and presented as a browser file. If the file is a PDS, a directory-style listing of all members of the PDS appears and I can select one just like any URL link. And yes the dataset name must be upper case as you're going through Unix System Services which is case-sensitive.

Contact your site support group and determine whether they're running IBM'S HTTP web server and whether you can use it to do this as well.
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superk

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Joined: 26 Apr 2004
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Location: Raleigh, NC, USA

PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2009 7:33 pm    Post subject: Reply to: Creating a modern GUI
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Jeez, I wish I could get the guys here to enable stuff like this. It would sure make things easier.
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mtaylor

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Joined: 20 Feb 2009
Posts: 108
Location: Kansas City

PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2009 7:38 pm    Post subject:
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Programmatically accessing datasets and pds information is trivial if the language you're using has an ftp client api (Jftp for Java I believe, and Jython/Python has a VERY complete ftp module) and you have access to the ftp server on the mainframe.

Http services can be used with desktop applications, no problem. But my question; why write a new application and host on the mainframe when you can host it in a lot of other, cheaper places?

If you're looking to access existing CICS applications this link looks informative:

http://publib.boulder.ibm.com/infocenter/cicsts/v3r2/index.jsp?topic=/com.ibm.cics.ts.doc/dfhtm/topics/dfhtmba.html
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Robert Sample

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2009 7:47 pm    Post subject:
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Kevin: all you have to do is have authority to edit /etc/httpd.conf, change the MVSDS sections, restart the web server and voila you have access. Of course if you can't save the changes to /etc/httpd.conf then the rest of it is kinda moot .... icon_biggrin.gif
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JanWouter

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2009 1:12 pm    Post subject:
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mtaylor wrote:
But my question; why write a new application and host on the mainframe when you can host it in a lot of other, cheaper places?


Because we are trying to prove that a mainframe can be used to create and host an modern system and not just for running the legacy systems.
The first thing that needs to be done then is getting rid of the character based screens.
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Robert Sample

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2009 5:09 pm    Post subject:
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Perl, COBOL, and C can all be used with HTTP server to transfer data to and from web pages and the mainframe. There's a code page issue, but the HTTP Web Server manual explains the process well enough that I managed to get data going from a browser to and from the mainframe. The manual is SC34-4826, HTTP Server Planning, Installing, and Using.

We did have an application using a web browser to display mainframe data, but it was replaced by a server-based system last fall. The data was placed in a Unix System Services file and the URL to that file emailed to the customer for review; their web browser could use the link to get directly to the data.
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dick scherrer

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Joined: 23 Nov 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2009 7:13 pm    Post subject:
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Hello,

Quote:
But my question; why write a new application and host on the mainframe when you can host it in a lot of other, cheaper places?
Unfortunately, this belief has become more like a relegion than a technology.

Many places have found that it is NOT cheaper to implement "other places" and many of these "other places" (primarily Windows) are so full of security and performance problems combined with an incredible lack of IT infrastructure.

Currently many of the re-writes to "other places" is driven by the desire to have "Windows" screens rather than 24x80 character screens (this desire largely driven by management - and programmers, not the people who are the users - especially the power users). What is often lost sight of is that the systems are built for users, not managers and developers. . .

As large systems went thru more and more integration thru 90's and after y2k, moving one integrated subsystem to a server becomes non-trivial.

Another consideration is that creating new presentation software (the user screens) is rather trivial compared to re-implementing the business rules all over again.
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Robert Sample

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2009 7:33 pm    Post subject:
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Dick: definitely this is becoming a faith-based initiative, rather than an objective decision. The up-front cost of a z box may be higher, but the total cost of ownership, if calculated over a typical time frame, usually puts the z box at 20 to 50% of other platforms. The non-financial factors, such as reliability, scalability, resistant to viruses (and other potential exposures), and durability (we've got production code that was last linked in 1977 but still runs perfectly well after many, many hardware and software upgrades).
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