Do you have an eBook Reader? Do you have a smartphone, tablet, or other device that can be used as an eReader? If you do, or you're planning to get one soon, this will be of particular interest to you...
CICS Transaction Server for z/OS (CICS TS) now has some electronic books (ebooks) available in the popular EPUB format! They are available as FREE downloads in the CICS TS 5.1 information center eBooks section.
I always liked having a hard copy of a manual on my desk, one that I could highlight, underline, write notes in, dogear a page, or take to someone else's desk to show them something. Then came the information center, great for reading and a real time saver for searching! But there's something I miss about having the whole book in front of me, being able to read through it from start to finish (or at least the section I'm interested in at the time). With the information center, I can save bookmarks in my favorite browser, but it isn't as easy to personalize with highlighting or notes.
Enter the "best of both worlds" with EPUB! Now I can download the book, read through an entire section in order, bookmark a page, write my own notes, highlight and underline, and even share through email or by posting to social media like Facebook and Twitter (depending on what your eBook Reader allows) - see Figures 1 and 2. And with EPUB, I can take it with me, so I'm not tied to my desk, or an internet connection! It's also a lot lighter than the old method of using hard copy books, or carrying around sections that I've printed.
Figure 1: Read, bookmark, add notes, highlight (click image to enlarge)
Figure 2: Share through Social Media (click image to enlarge)
Some other advantages of EPUB include being able to see all of my notes, bookmarks, and highlighted sections in one area and being able to quickly jump to them. The EPUB books for CICS have links, just like the information center and the PDFs do, so I can quickly jump to where I need to be. If I'm offline and the link is within the same book, no problem, it jumps to that section. If it's an external reference, a web browser will launch and take me to the topic (internet connection required of course) - see Figures 3 and 4. EPUB books also read better than PDFs on mobile devices since the text can reflow based on my font size and the screen size of my device. And if you have multiple devices like an iPhone and an iPad, you can sync the notes and bookmarks between the devices!
Figure 3: Notes, Highlighting, and Bookmarks (click image to enlarge)
Figure 4: External link opens information center (click image to enlarge)
CICS TS currently offers these 5 books in the EPUB format (see Figure 5):
Upgrading from CICS TS Version 4.2
Upgrading from CICS TS Version 4.1
Upgrading from CICS TS Version 3.2
Upgrading from CICS TS Version 3.1
Figure 5: CICS EPUBs (click image to enlarge)
Download and give them a try with your eReader. This is our first venture into EPUB books, so as we try to make them better, we would really like to hear your feedback. Also let us know if there are any other books that you would like to see in the EPUB format. You can provide feedback directly in the information center using this feedback link, or "Add a Comment" below to this blog entry.
I want to give a special "Thank You" to Sophie McMonagle (CICS Information Development) for her suggestion for this blog topic and for her work in getting these EPUB books into the CICS TS information center!