I'd really excited to let you all know that IBM Explorer for z/OS V2.1, short name z/OS Explorer, was announced April 23 2013, with general availability scheduled for June 14 2013.
Many of you will have experienced the z/OS Explorer as a component of CICS Explorer, providing a common way to define and share connections, manage single sign-on, as well as views and APIs giving users and plug-ins access to z/OS files, datasets, jobs, and output. With this announcement, these z/OS Explorer benefits can be experienced by any customer with a z/OS licence and at no additional charge. Independent software vendors can now use z/OS Explorer without the 'parent product' restrictions currently in place for CICS Explorer.
z/OS Explorer will be available both as an executable and as a plug-in. The executable can be used as-is, as a powerful tool to create, edit, and submit JCL and review JES output, edit zFS files, manipulate paths, etc. It can also be used as a workbench for a plug-ins supporting a wide range of of IBM, vendor, and customer products. The plug-in can be installed into compatible Eclipse workbenches, giving you extra choices while retaining a consistent user experience.
A key component of z/OS Explorer V2.1 will be an IBM repository of compatible plug-ins whose URL will be pre-loaded in z/OS Explorer. This builds on the composite update site introduced with CICS Explorer V5.1. Initially, these are limited to CICS Transaction Server and IBM's CICS and PD Tools. The announcement includes statements of direction from IBM Data Studio, IBM IMS Enterprise Suite Explorer for Development, a trial version of IBM Rational Developer for System z, IBM Rational Team Concert™, and (yes, Kevin) IBM WebSphere MQ Explorer.
z/OS Explorer V2.1 leads us on a path to a (hopefully, not too distant) future where you will be able to deploy a single Eclipse workbench supporting multiple roles across z/OS and its major sub-systems. From the feedback you've all given us on this forum and elsewhere, I know that this is important for many of you.
z/OS Explorer is based on Eclipse 4.2.2 (Juno). Updated CICS Explorer and plug-ins for CICS and PD Tools plug-ins will be available at GA. The repository will support both Eclipse P2 and IBM Installation Manager.
Further details can be found in the announcement letter, here: http://www-01.ibm.com/common/ssi/cgi-bin/ssialias?infotype=an&subtype=ca&supplier=897&letternum=ENUS213-141
The z/OS Explorer web page URL given in the announcement letter will not be available for a few days, so please use this one instead: http://www-01.ibm.com/software/htp/cics/ibmexplforzos/