Skyscrapers | Perspective | Mainframe Programming

A New Way to “Mainframe”: An Analyst’s Changed Perspective

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In “Mainframe programming and the modern developer,” a review of Compuware Topaz and Topaz Workbench, Daniel Howard, an associate analyst at London-based independent IT research and analysis firm Bloor Research, writes about his change of perspective regarding the ease of mainframe programming for developers, regardless of their skill sets or platform backgrounds.

As a former software developer for a “relatively modern, forward-thinking tech company,” Howard says he’s “used to the newest, the most innovative and the most modern” software technology. It’s no surprise he always considered it impractical for a person like him to work with “mainframes, COBOL and job control language.”

However, after seeing Topaz and Topaz Workbench in action, Howard uncovered new potential for mainframe-inexperienced developers with backgrounds like his to work with the mainframe.

Topaz is a suite of mainframe development and testing tools designed to help developers, regardless of experience, understand and work on any program, no matter how old or complex.

Topaz Workbench is an Eclipse-based IDE that provides the essentials of mainframe application development, testing and maintenance and a single, modern interface to Compuware’s developer productivity tools as well as non-Compuware products and distributed solutions.

With special attention given to Topaz Workbench, Howard found its Eclipse environment to be advantageous, and the tool remarkably easy to use. “It doesn’t have a learning curve, there’s no new language or set of commands or syntax you have to learn, or two-hundred-page manual you have to read: you just use it like any other tool,” he writes.

For a long time, Compuware has advocated for developing and designing mainframe programming tools like these that mirror the intuitive, familiar software modern developers are used to.

As Howard writes, “mainframe developers are already, or soon will be, retired.” If mainframe teams expect to build new workforces, which they must, they need to provide new developers with modern tools that enable them work productively with and understand unfamiliar, complex, poorly-documented programs. Try giving next-gen developers clunky, outdated tools instead, and they’ll respond as Howard once did: “I would have said, unequivocally, that I could never work with a mainframe.”

Howard says tools in the Topaz suite, which now includes Topaz for Total Test, a tool for automated unit test creation and execution, are making “mainframes accessible in a way that they traditionally aren’t,” and this is “a move in the right direction.” As a developer and analyst without mainframe programming experience, he believes tools like those in the Topaz suite and Topaz Workbench are what would enable him to work on the platform as if it were any other system.

Download the review to read more from Bloor Research Associate Analyst Daniel Howard on why Compuware Topaz and Topaz are the tools that will enable the next generation of developers to move the mainframe forward.

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Michael Siemasz

Content Marketer at Compuware
Mike Siemasz is Compuware's content marketer. He writes about technology, business and industry culture. Prior to joining Compuware, he studied written communication and worked as a writer and digital marketer in a variety of settings.