21st century COBOL
It is probably quite safe to say that the backbone of 21st century service infrastructures, is still COBOL-based applications. Innumerable industries, during the late 20th century, were built around Mainframes and COBOL applications. These applications formed the foundations, on which more features and capabilities were added in the years to come. As we moved into a Service-oriented Architecture(SOA) space, the need for the applications to become smarter and interconnected rose. Applications needed to be viewed as web services, java beans etc. made available over different transport protocols like JMS, XMS, HTTP to name a few. This opened up opportunities to apply cross technology knowledge into one single box.
WebSphere Application Server(WAS) gets WebSphere eXtended Transaction Runtime(WXTR)
As an application server, WAS is one of the most competent products in the market. WAS provides application deployment, monitoring, Integrated application development for Java and J2EE applications. The idea of opening up such services to legacy COBOL applications, on a Java environment is an idea that sounds exciting and impossible at the same time. However, this is exactly what is now possible through WXTR.
Possible modernization using WXTR
WXTR not only provides WAS capabilities to COBOL applications, but also opens up SOA capabilities as well. WXTR provides an SCA (Service Component Architecture) interface that enables other SCA clients (WebServices and SCA) to access COBOL applications.
An interface such as the SCA on WXTR, added to WAS capabilities means, WXTR is capable of fititng into the SOA Architecture. Each COBOL Application deployed on WXTR can be accessed as a service by any client that is part of such an SOA.
Below is an example of calling a service using WXTR's SCA methods :
API : CallCOBOL() - This API enables the Client application to call a particular COBOL program deployed on WAS.
CallCOBOLService service = new CallCOBOLService(); // A web service client calling a WXTR resource
CallCOBOL cc = service.getCallCOBOLPort();
cc.callCOBOL(ProgramName); // This line calls the COBOL program
Summing up, WXTR is something to watch out for in the future. With increasing WAS capabilities, the extent to which Enterprise Applications can be modernized to fit into the modern Application ecospace will only increase.