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IMS provides an improved runtime environment for online transaction processing

IMS provides an improved runtime environment for online transaction processing.

Editor's note: Originally posted in January 2010, this article was updated in September 2013.

IMS is celebrating 45 years of providing an upward- and downward-compatible runtime environment for customer applications. This fundamental principal was incorporated into the base IMS architecture that includes a transaction manager and a database manager for online transaction processing.

The IMS Transaction Manager (TM) supports both an interactive terminal SNA-based network and a TCP/IP-based network. To provide network transparency and message integrity for the customer applications, IMS TM includes a queue manager. When the IBM 3270 terminal protocol was introduced in 1971, IMS customer application programs used IMS Message Format Services (MFS) to build the input/output screen for the interactive terminal client. MFS parses the data to manage the input/output data streams for the application program. This provides device independent application programming. Figure 1 is an example of an interactive terminal screen managed by IMS MFS.

Enhancing Web Enablement

The use of device-independent programming enables the introduction of new client types that customers can leverage without requiring a modification to their IMS application investment. HTTP over a TCP/IP network established the foundation for the Web, and the use of a Web browser to access IMS applications. The Web leveraged the Internet to enable the development of application systems and to open the window of the desktop user to new opportunities.

The IBM Rational Host Access Transformation Services (HATS) product supports the reuse of existing MFS-based IMS application business logic by Web browser clients without modifying the IMS applications. Figure 2 shows how the MFS interactive terminal screen can be enhanced for Web enablement.

SOAP provides an XML-based network application protocol to establish a standard for exchanging structured information using HTTP. Web Services Description Language (WSDL) describes networked XML-based Web service interfaces and their associated interface methods. These two standards provided the framework that was used to build Web service applications that can interoperate using the intranet or the Internet.

The IMS SOAP Gateway supports the SOAP and WSDL standards that enable IMS applications to perform as a Web Service provider and consumer. The IMS SOAP Gateway server performs the conversion of SOAP messages and the IMS Connect runtime supports the XML transformation to provide IMS application programs device independence. Figure 3 is an example of the WSDL generated by Rational Developer for System z (RDz) to represent the IMS application program as a Web service provider. Figure 3 is an example of the WSDL generated by Rational Developer for System z (RDz) to represent the IMS application program as a Web service provider.

Kenny Blackman is a Certified Consulting I/T Specialist for the IMS Advanced Technical Support team.


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