Mainframe > Tips & Techniques > Application Development

RDz: A One-Stop Tool

New functions ease mainframe development


 

Traditional mainframe development usually includes a series of repeatable steps like editing source code, making a change, editing the JCL, submitting compile job, swapping to SDSF, finding and fixing errors and so on to build a working, production-ready mainframe application. Wouldn’t it be easier if we have all these features in just one tool on a Windows workstation? That’s precisely what IBM Rational Developer for System z can do!

RDz is a development environment for COBOL, CICS, IMS, PL/1 and mainframe applications in general. It provides editors, code generators, analysis tools, testing tools, debuggers and more for a mainframe developer in an environment that’s easy to use and productive. RDz also allows developers to take existing COBOL code and turn it into an enterprise or service oriented architecture (SOA) service without any code changes. RDz assists a mainframe developer by providing a complete development environment, which has rich set of tools to assist in both traditional COBOL development and leading-edge COBOL development.

The traditional COBOL development RDz supports includes:

  • Setting up COBOL batch projects, online projects (CICS, IMS), files and databases (DB2, sequential and VSAM files, IMS DL/I)
  • Editing, compiling and testing COBOL source (testing both on mainframe and workstation)
  • Connecting and submitting jobs on the mainframe
  • Issuing TSO commands, CLISTS and REXX execs
  • Editing mainframe test data (DB2, VSAM files with file manager) Debugging ABENDs, analyzing and maintaining COBOL applications

The leading edge COBOL development includes:

  • Developing Web 2.0 front ends to CICS and IMS TM
  • Transforming CICS and IMS applications into web services in SOA
  • Developing XML/COBOL applications
  • Working with MQ
  • Connecting to COBOL business applications from Java and .Net apps and create standalone Windows applications (Desktop based .exe files)

Application Development

RDz allows you to organize files in multiple formats. You can drag and drop files from the mainframe to build a z/OS project; the project is kept in sync with the mainframe host whenever it’s online. A special RDz feature is enabling local and remote syntax checking for source code. Local syntax checks save time and mainframe MIPS. A remote syntax check submits a z/OS job on mainframe—the results of which can be seen in RDz. The z/OS project can be worked upon either in online mode (connected to mainframe and you can directly change datasets on mainframe) or offline mode (you can access only those resources that were downloaded and allows to work even if TSO is down). Offline mode has also a very quick development response time. RDz also provides a common development environment for COBOL, PL/I, C/C++, Java and Enterprise Generation Language (EGL).

Integration With Fault Analyzer

In z/OS terminology, when an application abnormally terminates (popularly called as ABEND), z/OS stops executing the program, closes files and generates a single high-level message in the form of System Completion code (e.g.: SOC7)—which indicates why the system has decided to stop executing. Fault Analyzer is one such tool from IBM that helps determine the cause of ABEND. It helps the developer determine what happened, how it happened, what program, what line/statement, which variables, what files, were involved, etc. It gathers information about an application and the surrounding environment at the time of an abnormal end (ABEND), analyzes it and generates an analysis report that describes the problem in terms of application/program statements and variables. RDz integrates with Fault Analyzer and thus helps identify and fix problems.

 

Raghavendra Kulkarni is mainframe technical specialist at MindTree.


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