The Linux Foundation Projects
Skip to main content
Blog | Open Mainframe Summit | Zowe | Zowe Development Updates

Building a Browser-Based Search and Impact Analysis Using Zowe as a Bridge

By | November 10, 2021

In-COM Data Systems recently joined Open Mainframe Project but we were active in the Zowe community long before joining the project.

In fact, Ami Sadeh, CTO of IN-COM Data Systems, was a conference speaker at the 2nd Annual Open Mainframe Summit in September. Ami shared his knowledge on Zowe, Search, and Impact Analysis in a session about how Zowe APIs are used to standardize information retrieval from the mainframe and added to a browser-based search and impact analysis tool. Watch it here:

The Bigger Picture

Zowe has proven itself to be one of the most popular Open Mainframe Projects to date. It is an integrated and extensible open-source framework for z/OS. Zowe is used as a standardized and secured method of content retrieval from the mainframe. In his presentation, Sadeh emphasizes that search and impact analysis must be fast and accurate in order to be valuable and reliable.

So, how is Zowe used to build a browser-based search and impact analysis tool? First, let’s dive into the process. On one side, there is the mainframe. The mainframe is where your information resides: code, jobs, batch environment, online environments, logs, database schemas, and several other assets. But to reach the other end of this process, we are going to use Zowe to retrieve that information for the application server to process and prepare. By accessing data from a browser, users can gain understanding, documentation, create artifacts like reports and exports, and make informed decisions.

Understanding The Zowe Connector

The Zowe connector uses APIs to enable its functionality. From the security controller, the login, ticket, and query methods are used. This is how we will take mainframe credentials and get them authenticated. Once the credentials are authenticated, we will use the data set’s controller methods (specifically, the content, members, and filter) to list the members of data sets and retrieve their content.

Closeup of Search and Impact Analysis

Now, let’s take a closer look into the search and impact analysis aspect of this process. For many, search is an integral part of our daily work. However, many people don’t have time for high-level training to learn how to use complex analytics technology. Simply put, in order for search to be reliable, it must be fast, relevant, and intuitive.

There are several categories of impact analysis enabled by the application server:

  • Search Driven Analysis
  • References Analysis
    • Call Trees
    • Hyperlinks
  • Fields Analysis
    • Search for Fields
    • Fields Tracking
  • Runtime Analysis
  • Code Analysis
    • Control Flow
    • Program Complexity

The Browser Experience

The browser experience is where everything comes together. First, information comes from the mainframe through the Zowe bridge. It is then processed for impact analysis and search on the application server and is made available to users in the browser.

Essentially, this browser experience enables users to access information retrieved from the mainframe through Zowe to perform impact analysis and searches, create artifacts like reports and exports, and make decisions.

A Successful Open Mainframe Summit 2021

The Open Mainframe Project strives to increase collaboration in the mainframe community and foster a shared collection of valuable tools and resources. For two consecutive years, Open Mainframe Summit has served as a space for this community to exchange knowledge and network with like-minded individuals. You can find more details about the event in this blog or you can watch all of the sessions on demand on the Open Mainframe Project Youtube Channel. Click here to check out the playlist.

Learn more about IN-COM Data Systems.