Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Putting it all together…

For the past three blogs I’ve been talking about AJAX and Web 2.0 and that whole little end experience, but at heart I’m a true mainframer. I remember the days of water cooling and machine rooms with false floors and miles of cabling hidden beneath it. So, this week, I’d like to try to tie up the two ends – as it were. I’d like to talk about an interesting product I came across from a company called Illustro – you can find them at www.illustro.com.

Back in April, Illustro announced support for AJAX Web services for mainframes. They claim they’re the first company to deliver AJAX Web capabilities for mainframe legacy integration and I couldn’t find anyone else making the same claim – but if you know of another product then do let me know.

Illustro – which sounds to me like a villain from a 1960s Batman adventure – has a family of products called z/Ware and the interesting ones are z/Web-Host and z/XML-Host. z/Web-Host is designed to transform a 3270 application into Web-based interface. This can be done without altering the original application. z/XML-Host automatically converts mainframe data to XML documents which can be accessed through Web services using SOAP. So, effectively, the data and business-critical logic become available to any application on any platform. The company claims that you could use Excel to view and update information directly from a mainframe data file.

It’s worth noting that these two products run on the mainframe, so there’s no need for additional servers or anything else.

Now, to be honest, I haven’t tried these products. But the concept behind them seemed worth investigating further, and I thought I’d pass on the information to you. I would be interested to hear from companies offering similar or better products.

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