What's new in Rational Team Concert for System z, Version 2.0

Cross-platform collaborative development

Learn about the new functions included in the IBM Rational Team Concert for System z, Version 2.0.0.1 release.

Rosalind Radcliffe (rradclif@us.ibm.com), Chief Architect for Jazz on System z and Power Systems, IBM

Author photoRosalind Radcliffe is a senior technical staff member in the IBM Software Group. She is responsible for guiding the Jazz foundation and the products built on top of Jazz, with a focus on IBM System z and IBM Power Systems.



05 October 2009

Also available in Russian

IBM® Rational Team Concert® for System z, Version 2.0.0.1, provides significant new enhancements. The ability to control existing source control managers (SCMs) has been simplified, and additional integration options have been added. This allows organizations with different solutions for distributed and IBM® z/OS® teams to bring these teams together with one planning and collaboration tool, while continuing to use their existing SCM and build procedures. It now also provides the base functionality to allow you to store z/OS artifacts along with all of the distributed artifacts in the SCM and provides the build capabilities to build those artifacts on IBM z/OS, along with the existing distributed build capabilities. The author of this article assumes that readers have a basic understanding of Rational Team Concert for System z Version 1. For additional information, see Resources at the end of the article.

Host source control manager co-existence support

One key use for Rational Team Concert for System z is to provide the project planning and collaboration in combination with an existing host SCM. These SCMs, such as Software Configuration Library Manager (SCLM), have been enhanced over the years with significant customer-written customizations. These customizations make each implementation unique and pervasive within the organization’s development environment. However, they are not easily updated nor changed along with the environment around them because of the significant customizations. Many organizations are faced with multiple implementations of this kind, each responsible for a different area as the result of acquisitions and mergers. With today’s development challenges, new collaborative-based tool that can cross the different development organizations is required. Rational Team Concert for System z brings the different environments together into a single process and environment.

The ability to control existing host SCMs exists today with the REST-based interfaces provided. The first enhancement in support of this co-existence scenario is the Jazz Gateway that is provided to simplify the integration. This function was specifically developed to allow simple REXX programs or any other exit to call the gateway to get information about the work item status without having to understand or make REST calls. The gateway has been developed with the knowledge of the REST interface and the security required.

Figure 1. SCM co-existence
Diagram of host SCM exit calling for status

The second key enhancement is the ability to link to host-based artifacts within a work item. When using an existing host-based SCM, there is a need to reference source items or other host-based artifacts in the discussion. This is done through a simple link. This link can also be provided within the source to link back to the work item that references the change. This linking requires the use of IBM® Rational® Developer for System z along with Rational Team Concert for System z. The link is in the form of mvs://systemname/pdsname/member (see Figure 2).

Figure 2. Work item linking to Multiple Virtual Storage (MVS)
Link to specific MVS file in work item discussion

The link can also be done the other way, by linking back to the work item, as Figure 3 shows.

Figure 3. File linking back to work item
Link in source module to specific work item

The third enhancement is that of build support. Rational Team Concert for System z now includes the IBM® Rational® Build Forge® agents called the Rational Build Agents, which are integrated with the team server to provide additional build capabilities. With these new agents, build definitions can be created to call the existing host build facilities or the existing job control language (JCL). This allows centralized control and reporting of build across the environment, including z/OS. In addition to providing the new agents, the agent for z/OS has been integrated with the job monitor capability to provide proper job submission and monitoring.

Together, these enhancements bring the value of Rational Team Concert for System z to your cross-team environment so that your host teams can join with your distributed teams, yet you can continue to use your existing host-based SCM and build components.


Native z/OS support

The next focus area for this release is that of native z/OS support, where the desire is to move to using the integrated SCM. Rational Team Concert for System z now provides the ability to store z/OS- based assets and have them extracted for development and builds to the z/OS file system. This new function is provided through a new file agent installed on z/OS that works with both the build agent and Rational Developer for System z to take assets from the SCM and place them into the appropriate data sets on z/OS. A new data set definition has been created so that you can specify the PDS name and characteristics. The file agent uses the data set definitions to create the appropriate data sets and to copy the source into the appropriate members. Figure 4 shows a sample data set definition for a COBOL source.

Figure 4. Data set definition
COBOL data set as destination for zFolder

To take advantage of the capabilities within the SCM for defining groups of related assets within components in the SCM, a new zComponent Project has been defined. By using the new wizard, you can create zComponent Projects with the associated zFolders (that map to datasets) and zfiles (that map to members within the dataset). (See Figure 5.) This gives you an easy way to group related assets that then can easily be written to the appropriate data sets on z/OS.

Figure 5. zComponent project
Tree view of demo zComponent project

To facilitate the move to the Rational Team Concert SCM, a new mass-import tool is provided to import existing data sets and, while importing them, to create the appropriate data set definitions: zComponent Projects, zFolders, zfiles, and SCM components.

Enhanced build capability

To simplify the build and make it more consistent across varied platforms, we have also added a new build capability: Antz. This provides extensions to the existing Ant definitions specifically for the z/OS environment. Antz works with the new language definitions to provide integrated builds for the z/OS environment. With the language definition, administrators can define the steps required for compiling or building a type of source module. Figure 6 shows a sample language definition.

Figure 6. Language definitions
COBOL compilation with DB2 precompilation step

Larger view of Figure 6.

Rational Developer for System z integration

To facilitate development, integration has been developed to allow users of Rational Developer for System z to select members from the Rational Team Concert for System z SCM for work within their z/OS subprojects. Similar to the selection of artifacts from other SCMs when files are selected, they are loaded into the appropriate PDS on z/OS and added to the z/OS subproject for interaction. Similarly, new files created in a z/OS subproject can be “shared” in the Rational Team Concert for System z SCM. The image in Figure 7 shows the load zFiles wizard.

Figure 7. Load zFiles wizard
Tree view of files in Repository workspace

With this additional integration, you can now use the full capabilities of Rational Developer for System z with both local and remote projects, while using Rational Team Concert as the SCM. In addition, collaborative debugging with Rational Developer for System z and the IBM Debug Tool is now provided with Rational Team Concert for System z (Figure 8). This means that you can transfer debug sessions to other team members within Rational Team Concert, save debugging sessions for later retrieval, and share breakpoints and monitors with other team members.

Figure 8. Team debugging
Access to debug sessions

z/OS-specific process template

Rational Team Concert for System z also provides a new process template that is based on standard z/OS development procedures. This process template is updated from the base to add the additional process control expected, as well as to define a standard stream structure for the development, test, and production levels used within z/OS development.


Summary

Rational Team Concert for System z V2.0.0.1 provides all of the functions provided by Rational Team Concert V2.0.0.1 in addition to significant new enhancements for the z/OS environment. The ability to control existing SCM’s has been simplified and additional integration options have been added. Now, even if you use different solutions for distributed and z/OS teams, you can bring these teams together with a single planning and collaboration tool while continuing to use your existing SCM and build procedures. This collaborative software now also provides the functionality to allow you to store z/OS artifacts along with all of the distributed artifacts in the SCM, and it provides the capabilities to build those artifacts on z/OS, along with the existing distributed build capabilities.

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