Mainframe Blog

Modern Tools for Modern Mainframe Developers

Modern Tools Modern Mainframe Developers
4 minute read
Sam Knutson

The need to provide customers with outstanding experiences is obvious, but the need to provide developers with modern tools and processes may be less so. As mainframe developer demographics continue to shift and the acquisition and retention of top talent proves to be an ongoing challenge, organizations must consider the developer experience as they plan and undertake the digital transformation necessary to remain competitive in the modern digital economy.

Today’s developers are knowledge workers, looking to contribute to customer satisfaction through continuous innovation and creation of new features and services. The ability to do so in a modern environment, with tools and processes that empower them to create meaningful applications, can help attract and retain top talent in your organization.

Recent survey data, however, indicates that the mainframe developer experience is generally subpar. A new Forrester Consulting thought leadership paper commissioned by BMC, “Modernizing Mainframe Development Tools Can Help Drive Greater ROI,” shows that 79 percent of developers said their organization’s mainframe development tools need significant improvements to be more effective.

As your organization looks to extend critical business applications, it is necessary that you provide mainframe developers with modern tools, practices, and feedback. In short, you should treat your developers like high-performing athletes by encouraging creativity, providing them with the tools they need, embracing an agile mindset, and delivering meaningful feedback that helps them improve their performance.

BMC AMI DevX’s April 2021 launch helped organizations achieve these goals with an integration between BMC AMI DevX Code Pipeline and Visual Studio Code, new integration points and APIs that enable an open borders approach to mainframe development, and more. New features in our July launch build upon this commitment to helping you provide mainframe developers with the best, most modern experience possible.

Integrations with GitHub Actions and HCL Launch

A new integration enables GitHub Actions to call BMC AMI DevX Code Pipeline directly to compile, build, and deploy mainframe code. This integration leverages the power of GitHub to simplify the DevOps toolchain while making it easier to build CI/CD pipelines with automated workflows.

New capabilities with HCL Launch extend BMC AMI DevX Code Pipeline’s built-in integrations with industry-leading release management tools, further enabling users to employ their tools of choice and facilitating integration of the mainframe into their enterprise release management processes.

BMC AMI DevX Code Pipeline sandboxes

Developers can now have their own isolated build and deploy environments in BMC AMI DevX Code Pipeline, giving them the flexibility to easily make code changes in isolation, independent of changes other developers are making, then test and merge these changes back into their continuous integration system.

Improved editing functions within BMC AMI DevX Data Studio

Improved BMC AMI DevX File-AID editing functions make copying and pasting easier within BMC AMI DevX Data Studio by allowing users to copy and paste multiple cells and between editors.

Expanded automated testing coverage and security

A new palette item within BMC AMI DevX Total Test increases the coverage and capabilities of automated test scenarios by enabling the execution of REST services within test scenarios. Expanded capabilities also include load testing and 3270 automation within automated test scenarios.

We’ve also added the ability to use client certificates for authentication within DevX Total Test and from Command Line Interfaces, adding additional security capabilities into your DevOps toolchain.

New BMC AMI zAdviser dashboards

BMC AMI zAdviser helps organizations know exactly how they’re doing as they strive to improve the quality, velocity, and efficiency of their software delivery. By collecting usage data from BMC Compuware (and now BMC AMI) solutions, it enables users to measure both overall performance and the performance of individual developers against Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), providing valuable insight and meaningful feedback.

A new quality dashboard within zAdviser features new KPIs. “Escape Abend %” enables users to see the percentage of unique abends that occur in production compared to the overall number of unique abends. “Time to Detect from Compile” shows the time taken for an abend to occur from the date of the program’s last compile, while “Median Time to Detect from Compile” displays the 50th percentile of the time to detect an abend since the compile date.

BMC AMI Ops is now the first BMC AMI product captured in zAdviser. The BMC AMI Ops Automation Dashboard displays captured zAdviser data for customers with CMSC running on the same LPAR on which BMC AMI Ops is installed.

BMC AMI Ops Automation for Batch ThruPut enhancements

ACM for Tailored Fit Pricing constrains less-important workloads on busy systems, lowering CPU busy percentage, thereby enabling TFP customers to manage CPU costs.

Scheduler Intelligence’s Late Job Acceleration detects if a job is going to miss or has missed its due out time, allowing BMC AMI Ops Automation for Batch ThruPut to increase the targeted job’s service class by one, thus giving the job more resources and helping it complete sooner.

Modern tooling for the modern mainframe

By offering a simple connected experience for the mainframe and enabling automation everywhere, these new features allow organizations to standardize and automate processes that are currently being carried out manually—and inefficiently—while making it simpler to modernize the mainframe and connect it with modern toolchains. And by offering functions and work environments that make mainframe development easier, they enable the acquisition and retention of talented developers who know that developing on the mainframe will be just like working on any other platform.

As you modernize your mainframe environment with DevOps and CI/CD pipelines, don’t overlook the importance of modern tooling in creating an experience that attracts developers and enables them to do their jobs to the best of their abilities. Your developers—and your customers—will thank you.

Access the 2023 Mainframe Report

The results of the 18th annual BMC Mainframe Survey are in, and the state of the mainframe remains strong. Overall perception of the mainframe is positive, as is the outlook for future growth on the platform, with workloads growing and investment in new technologies and processes increasing.

These postings are my own and do not necessarily represent BMC's position, strategies, or opinion.

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About the author

Sam Knutson

Sam Knutson is AVP of Product Management for BMC. His past positions include Vice President of Product Management for Mainframe Performance Solutions at CA Technologies, System z Team Leader for GEICO and Senior Developer at Landmark Systems. Sam has served on the board of directors for SHARE, the world’s first and longest-running user computer group, and he is a distinguished member of the mainframe community. He holds a B.S. in Computer Science from DeVry Institute of Technology. Sam is an avid trail runner and marathoner.