Bringing your CICS applications into the mobile age
MARTIN KEEN 1200007VU3 MKEEN@US.IBM.COM | | Tags:  worklight mobile mainframe ibmimpact cics websphere ibm system_z
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In April of this year, the IBM mainframe celebrated its 50th anniversary. CICS, the transaction processor that runs on IBM System z mainframes, isn’t far behind, currently in its 46th year. Both remain immensely popular. Of the world’s 25 biggest banks, all 25 use System z. And CICS is a transaction processor that processes more than 30 billion transactions a day.
Many of the applications written for CICS that are still in operation today were originally developed in the days of 3270 green screen terminals. In recent years, CICS has continued to provide new methods to access existing business logic running in CICS that go well beyond the green screen. CICS has added support for interfaces such as TCP/IP, Java and web services. The CICS web services support allows web service consumers to send requests directly to CICS applications using web service technologies.
It’s this web services support that enables mobile apps to directly integrate with CICS applications running on System z. Look how far we’ve come: in place of using green screen 3270 terminals in large, noisy data centers to integrate with CICS, we can now perform those same interactions with CICS applications using the mobile device in our pockets.
At the IBM Impact conference this year, Andy Armstrong from the CICS system test team memorably demonstrated how to expose a CICS application into a mobile app. In less than 60 minutes he’d exposed an existing CICS app as a web service, built a hybrid mobile app in IBM Worklight to access it and then deployed and demonstrated that app running on both an Android and an iOS device.
The process to do this is split into two parts: CICS and Worklight.
With the mobile application deployed to a mobile device and the CICS application web services enabled, the mobile app can now invoke the services of the CICS application. The mobile device uses JSON to connect with Worklight, and Worklight uses an XML message to interact with CICS.
Is the ability to invoke CICS business logic on a mobile device of interest to you? How have you approached this? Let me know in the comments or connect with me on Twitter (@MartinRTP).