LIke many, I've been recently asked to move to the Eclipsed based tools for interfacing with the mainframe. In fact, there's talk of removing green screen access completely. When I say completely I mean not even through an emulator in Eclipse. As such I'm trying to figure out how to do all my work in the gui.
One thing I can't find is a way to make menus in the gui that interact with the mainframe. Like ISPF dialog menus. For example a menu that would accept an account number, validate it against a db2 table, and then submit a job using that account number.
Do the eclipse based tools have something like that and I just missed it?
Thought I'd post an update. This is the result of about 5 hours of discussion with people from IBM. There seems to be nothing that can do the functions of the ISPF Dialog Manager for Eclipse.
For me this is a deal breaker regarding recommending the Eclipse based products completely replace ISPF. Here are the options as I understand them based on more than a year of searching and discussing with various people in the know.
1) HATS, This is a program that will scrape existing ISPF panels and create Eclipse plugins. But this involves keeping ISPF to develop the panels and then the extra step of using HATS to convert them to plugins. Also HATS is not free, so you might need to incur an extra license fee depending on whether you own one of the other products that includes HATS.
2) Menu Manager. This is a little like ISPF Dialog Manager but it is very basic and doesn't let you do things like access mainframe assets to validate fields like you can do with ISPF. I asked IBM about this on a call in which they were showing me how Menu Manager worked and they sounded as if that functionality never occurred to them(odd). My impression is this ability will not be added any time soon. However, if this ability is added, I could get behnd the 'Eclipse Movement'.
Joined: 06 Jul 2010 Posts: 692 Location: Whitby, ON, Canada
Your impression is similar to mine. As a result I have not had much of an appetite to become proficient in iDZ or other Eclipse based tools. I also don't see a business case for dropping ISPF because (as far as I know) IBM doesn't charge for it, it comes with a z/OS license. iDZ is certainly not free, there is a hefty license fee per user.
The reason I was referring to dropping ISPF is not due to cost.
Rather, it's due to a couple of 'Mainframe Modernization' sessions where the person giving the talk said, "Ideally, ISPF wouldn't even be installed." And my leadership buying into that idea.
However, I just left the SHARE conference and there were several presenters who suggested the opposite, ISPF and Eclipse both exist with Zowe, and if you're measuring the right the things, developers will choose the tool that does the best job. Which I agree with.
I suspect there will be something using Zowe that can indeed replace ISPF dialog manager functionally. However, it still might be better to use ISPF for many things.