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RESTful APIs Unlock the Value of z/OS Assets

July 12, 2016

If you work on the mainframe using z/OS and haven't heard of RESTful APIs, you need to wake up and smell the coffee. Seriously, even though RESTful APIs are still a fairly new thing, they're already essential. If you don't know about them, ask the people on the distributed side of your business -- who I can assure you already rely upon them -- to help bring you up to speed.

In March I wrote about IBM's use of RESTful APIs in z/OSMF to manage software installations. Since then, JSON and RESTful APIs have been part of all my face-to-face discussions with customers, the vast majority of whom have no idea about RESTful APIs.

The simplest way to explain RESTful APIs is to tell you what they can do. Imagine a newbie developer with no z/OS experience enabling some mainframe assembler programs that provide browser-based access to data. I'd imagine this but I don't have to, because I've seen it with my own eyes. And the young developer learned this in a day.

For a detailed explanation of RESTful APIs, read the IBM Redpaper, "Building an Enterprise API Strategy." This document also introduces z/OS Connect. IBM is using z/OS Connect Enterprise Edition to provide tools to help customers develop RESTful APIs for their z/OS assets.

Once you've done some research, getting started is easy. Establish a proof-of-concept team; two people should be sufficient. The first person should be from the distributed side and know how to code and develop RESTful APIs. The second team member should possess standard z/OS skills. Together, that's all the capability needed to create a RESTful API solution in a matter of days. And you won't need to move the data or the application off of z/OS, either. Get ready to be shocked.

Taking advantage of modern development methods is that easy. So please, give this a try.

Posted July 12, 2016 | Permalink