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Rational Team Concert Energizes the CICS Development Process

Rational Team Concert Energizes the CICS Development Process

The introduction of Rational Team Concert (RTC) into the portfolio of IBM software products has enhanced the agility of IBM software development practices. Over the past two years, CICS Transaction Server for z/OS has adopted RTC, Rational Quality Manager (RQM) and Rational Developer for System z to modernize its development and service environment. This resulting success story proves it's possible for established products to adopt the Rational tool set.

What is CICS Transaction Server for z/OS?

CICS is IBM’s premier transaction processor for the System z platform that has been relied on worldwide for more than 40 years, for its high-volume, efficient and reliable transaction processing capabilities. It ranks as one of the top 35 technologies that shaped the IT industry, according to Computerworld magazine. IBM has recognized the importance of CICS by making it one of IBM’s Icon of Progress to celebrate the company’s centennial.

Since being transferred to IBM Hursley, U.K., in 1974, CICS has evolved and changed, adopting many design and implementation practices of the day. As a result, CICS is a large and complex product to build.

IBM’s Need and Vision

Over the past 30-plus years, CICS development and service has continued to operate with largely the same environment that evolved during the early part of life at IBM Hursley. This environment became very specialized, proprietary and isolated.

IBM had separate development and service environments, which presented additional learning curves to software engineers who transferred from development to service and vice versa. Skills in the technologies of these two environments were diminishing, which presented problems for administering and maintaining an efficient platform. Work-item management tools were disparate and incompatible. Understanding project status and traceability of our work was complex and time-consuming. A simpler, transparent and easy-to-use environment was needed.

Finally, the needs and demands of the business required a more flexible environment, which the existing systems could not provide. Several previous attempts at replacing the environment did not resolve the key issues; in fact, some made the environment more complex.

It was time for a change, time for a single non-proprietary environment for the development and service of CICS Transaction Server for z/OS. The Jazz platform was just being talked about and RTC V1 was in beta when the IBM team started looking at this migration. The promise of Jazz and the RTC product signaled an opportune time to move forward.

The Solution

The problem space encompasses four key areas:

  • Work item management
  • Source code management
  • Product build
  • Service environments

Ian Hodges is an advisory software engineer at the IBM Software Lab in Hursley, U.K.

Kevin Bowkett has worked for IBM for more than 15 years, spending the past eight working on the CICS Portfolio.

Nigel Hopper has been in the computing industry for more than 30 years. He started out as a flight simulator engineer in the Royal Air Force specializing and then teaching hardware and software maintenance.


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