IMS Applications | Compuware | Apollo program

The New Challenge of Running IMS Applications

It was a perfect storm: A presidential commitment to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade and the recent introduction of a computer platform changing the face of data processing.

The Apollo program birthed the software project that started the database management system revolution. The ability to remove application code from data access code, along with an online transaction processing environment, streamlined the process and allowed for multiple applications to access and update large amounts of data all the way down to a single instance.

It was a new world.

By the time IBM’s IMS hit the commercial market in 1968, conditions were fertile for the development of complex applications that could handle enormous amounts of data and thousands of complex processes. Organizations from all verticals started building IMS applications that continue to keep world markets running to this day. Chances are your last purchase on Amazon involved validating your credit card on an IMS system and that delivery to your house was managed on one as well.

After decades of building complex IMS environments, organizations running IMS applications face a new challenge: Keeping IMS development organizations efficiently staffed to continue evolving and supporting the business.

Bringing in new application developers to support IMS applications typically initiates a large learning effort. New developers have to learn the fundamentals of IMS programming and face a sharper learning curve on a company’s IMS applications, which are the culmination of three to four decades spent encapsulating business rules, involving thousands of unique processes, into computer source code.

The Modern Problem for IMS

Today, few application developers enter the workforce with mainframe or IMS skills. That means companies need to focus on two initiatives:

  • Modernizing mainframe tooling: Provide a rich, GUI IDE for mainframe application development and support. The IDE should also be fully functional within the emerging Continuous Integration/DevOps initiatives and tooling that are becoming ubiquitous in the industry.
  • Visualization of complex entities: Match the rest of the modern world by managing and maintaining complexity through visual diagrams and charted workflows. This can be done through visualization at the component level, such as program calling structure charts and drill down capabilities into each individual line of code to understand what it is doing. It also means using code coverage metrics to see if it was tested.

Fortunately, Compuware has been involved with IMS application development and support from the early days of IMS. Compuware has continuously provided advanced tooling aimed at creating test data, testing at the source code level, validating test results and diagnosing both abends or event error codes occurring within the IMS environment. These tools help IMS dev groups be productive and capable of producing high-quality, production-ready applications.

The Benefits of Using Compuware IMS Solutions

Organizations using Compuware tools can:

  • Significantly reduce the learning curve for new developers
  • Move changes through the delivery cycle faster, allowing the organization to be more responsive to business needs
  • Ensure quality, well-tested code is promoted into production

Follow that with visual code coverage representation reporting for testing phases, and it becomes much easier to ensure that only high-quality, well-tested code is moved back into production, minimizing the production defect rate, costs and risk.

Let’s rebuild your IMS workforce by helping short-staffed development teams regain high levels of productivity and by helping your new developers quickly understand your most complex and important applications.

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Tyler Allman

Tyler Allman is part of Compuware's Sales Enablement team and is the former lead product manager for Compuware’s Xpediter and COPE products. He began his career 30 years ago as an IBM mainframe Assembler/COBOL programmer. Tyler has worked in assignments ranging from full system development projects, system testing projects, and application package installation/tailoring projects, to technology reviews and tools/automation implementations.
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