New CICS stuff in 1.1.1
JoeWinchester 110000DQA0 Visits (2076)
I just finished writing up an entry for this blog about new stuff in the CICS Explorer 1.1.1 release and showed it to a colleague. He read it and finished up by saying "Joe, this is all great content, you've showed how to create data sets, how to view the JES spool for an active CICS region, how to purge more than one job at a time, but this is all z/OS stuff - where is the CICS stuff ? I thought you were supposed to be the CICS Explorer ?".
Apart from having a big argument where I tried to point out that to be a CICS user you have to work with z/OS jobs and files, I did take on board their reasoning, which is that the CICS Explorer needs more basic stuff if it is going to complete its mission to modernize CICS and provide replacement function for CEDA, CEMA, and the CPSM Web User Interface. I'd just bought this fellow a coffee as well just to make his comments even more painful, so I spent the rest of the day promising myself I'd write a blog entry that focused entirely on CICS content in the CICS Explorer 1.1.1, and in return the least I can hope for is an apology and a coffee, although I doubt I'll get either.
The group members tab is a pretty exciting new addition for me, because it's the beginnings of something new in the CICS Explorer. To see the groups in a CSD, you need to open the Resource Group Definitions view. To do this use the menu Wind
The view supports filtering, so I've entered S* to show the groups starting with S. From the pop-up menu on a group you can install it, add it to a list, and open it. When you open a group - which is also the default double click action - you used to see the attributes for the group. This was the name, and not really that interesting because you already knew that. What is more interesting is what's in the group, so we added a tab called Members to the editor.
The members are the definitions in the group, arranged into folders by type, so in the screen shot above for the group SHAREAOR you can see that it has one IPIC Connection, two programs, one session and one transaction. If you double click any of the definitions it will open the individual editor for that definition, and there is also an Open pop-up menu item, so for example if you double click CICDELAY it will open the individual editor on CICDELAY.
One thing that you can do from the group editor - in fact from any editor - is open the action for the resource from the right most drop down arrow in the breadcrumb trail at the top. This was actually present in previous releases, however it was tidied up in the 1.1.1 codebase to have the breadcrumb become more of an integrated part of the editor (beforehand it was in grey at the top and didn't segue quite as nicely into the editor form). The screen show below is the menu that appears on a group, and shows you can perform an Install or Add to List... which operate directly on the group itself.
When you couple this with the ability to open a definition directly from the group, this means you can open a definition (such as CICDELAY) and then from its editor open the pop-up from the breadcrumb and select Instal... This means you can perform re-install of individual items in a group easily, and also I've seen quite a few CICS Explorer users have an editor on a resource open, and then go and search and find the same resource in the table view and use a pop-up menu in the table to perform an install or purge against the resource, when all they need to do is open the drop down from within the editor itself. The list of avaliable actions in the editor should be the same as the ones on the pop-up in the view (excluding a few that don't make sense to perform from within the editor).
If you look at the Program Definition list of actions you might notice one called New From... This is new in CICS Explorer 1.1.1 and was probably our single most requested feature to add to the CICS Explorer.
The CICS Explorer previously had wizards to allow new definitions to be created, in either a region's CSD, or the CICSplex Data Repository. What we realized pretty soon after talking to user is that in a lot of situations they didn't create definitions using the wizard because their starting point was typicaly another existing definition. This was either a template that they cloned and then altered some key attributes of, or sometimes it was just a case of "I want something that is very similar to that definition, so start from there".
The New From... function is also avaliable on the pop-up in the views showing lists of definitions, so once you've found a definition you want to copy you can select New From...
which then opens the wizard. If you press Finish (assuming there are no errors) then it will create a new definition for you, with all of the attributes copied across (including attributes that you can't see on the create wizard page).
One thing that might seem odd, is that the name of the definition being copied is included on the wizard for the new one being created. This isn't going to work - you'll get an error when you press Finish - because definition names are unique in the CSD or CICSplex Data Repository. However, it is possible that you aren't going to change the name, but instead enter a new Resource Group, which would have the effect of copying the definition to a new group. Or, if you wanted to you could change the region which would copy the definition and the CSD name of the group it belonged to to a new CSD (or the same if the two regions were sharing the same CSD). In fact, if you were feeling bold there is no reason you couldn't blank out the CSD and copy the definition from a CSD to the CICSplex Data Repository, or vice versa (here just select a DREP definition and New From... and then add a region name to target the CSD. Either way, there's so many different ways to use the wizard, that it seemed to make sense to leave the definition name in there, rather than blank it out. Let us know if we're wrong.
If you were paying attention a few screen shots back - you'll have seen a Copy pop-up on the menu of the URI Map Definitions. This lifts the selected data from the view into the clipboard ready to be pasted into something else such as spreadsheet or word processor. This capabilitiy was - like New From... one of the most requested items from CICS Explorer users, who often started the dialogue with "Can you add print support to the CICS Explorer please?". (the please wasn't always included, but as my grandmother user to say, manners doesn't cost anything). Rather than adding a print button however, we thought that this would open up a can of worms. We'd need to add print preview, page setup, deal with different print drivers, and rather than make the CICS Explorer be a print client, we just needed to get its data into the clipboard and then let another tool take care of printing/formatting where that tool does it for its day job.
The screen shot above shows where I've opened a view of URI Map definitions - used Ctrl+A for select all (you can use al the standard keyboard tricks to select rows - Ctrl + select to add a row - Shift + select to add a range of rows, etc...
Once the data is in the clipboard, open your favourite (or in some situations your least favourite but the one you have to use because your company chose it) spreadhseet, and do a paste. The clipboard data is tab separated, so in Microsoft Excel for the screen shot below I used a Paste Special to get the data into columns. (Microsoft and Microsoft Excel are registered trademarks of Microsoft corporation in the US, Canada, and other countires).
I find word processors are very good at accepting tab separted data and create nice tables, which is what most users asking for print wanted. This means you could be creating an e-mail to someone complaining about how their tasks were hogging CPU, or a nice management report on how wonderfully your regions were running, and lift the data straight from the CICS Explorer into a word processor, add some nice words around it, and use the word processor's page setup, print preview, to polish your mast