A new year and a new way for z/OS development - GIT on z/OS
Starting out the new year, it's time to reflect on last year and then begin with a fresh start. Last year I had a great time at DevOps Enterprise Summit. It was once again full of user experiences from a wide variety of customers including Target, American Airlines, NBC Universal, IBM, Walmart and many others. The two prior summit events where I had a chance to present as well, provided with an additional view into the DevOps transformation for distributed teams. It has become clear the concept of a central SCM is resounding and for may companies that SCM is GIT. There are different opinions about GIT, some positive, some not so positive, but in the end, it does not really matter. It provides just enough function to make it very valuable without providing all the complex capabilities many other SCMs provide. Just enough control but not too much. It being a distributed SCM also has a set of advantages over a centralized SCM when working with so much open source. It also allows the storing of all artifacts no matter the artifact type, allowing all teams to participate. Unfortunately, until recently that was not totally true. GIT has one major problem for those of us that work on z/OS and the is the lack of code page support. But that is what is changing and giving us a new start to the year.
At DOES 2016 I presented with Walmart talking about their use of modern practices to "save the day" by the mainframe team. In the session, we had the opportunity to announce some key new capabilities. First Walmart has announced their intention to post a set of z/OS services to GITHUB. These are fully functioning services, posted with an open source license, to allow any one else to use within their own organization. They have posted their cashing service, object store, and unique ID generator. These services are all tested at the scale of Walmart. Now if you need a caching service, callable via REST and need to store something slightly larger than a small package, you can download and use this service on your own systems. This is just a start, the goal is to have others post their z/OS services as well.
But how do we post z/OS code to GITHUB when it needs to be in EBCDIC, that's where the second major announcement from DOES 2016 comes in. Rocket Software has ported GIT to z/OS and has added the capability for code page translation. With this you can run GIT on z/OS and when the source sits on z, it can be in EBCDIC, or ASCII or UTF-8 whatever you need, and you can then store it in the right code page, ASCII or UTF-8 so when it's pushed to GITHUB anyone using any other system has full access to it, and does not have a code page problem. Rocket has finalized the release and it should soon appear on their ported tools page.
Having GIT on z/OS now makes it possible to share our existing code to GITHUB. Jenkins even already has z/OS capability, but there is still a problem for traditional artifacts such as COBOL and PL/I. That's where the fun of the new year comes in, we at IBM are working on dependency based for z/OS that can pull source from GIT and can use Jenkins or some other build engine to actually do the dependency-based build on z/OS. If you're interested in working with us contact me.
It was a great end to the last year and a great start to the new year, to view an additional video from DOES about these announcements you can watch it here. I look forward to the coming challenges and will be sharing this journey for improved z/OS development as the year goes along.
About the Author
Rosalind Radcliffe is a Distinguished Engineer within the IBM Rational organization. She is Chief Architect for CLM and DevOps. She is responsible for driving the DevOps for multi-platform architecture. This includes System z and Power system. In addition, she is responsible for the architecture for the Collaborative Management capability for Enterprise solutions. This includes UrbanCode Deploy and Rational Team Concert's support for standard Mainframe development activities. She is a member of the IBM Academy of Technology and a Master Inventor. Prior to Rational, she was in Tivoli responsible for the SOA Management Strategy for IBM.