Mainframe User Group Recap: What’s New in ChangeMan ZMF 8.1

In our October 2014 Mainframe Virtual User Group (VUG), we highlighted the latest features in the ChangeMan ZMF 8.1 release, set to go GA at the end of the month. In addition to Kevin Parker and I presenting

at this VUG, we were joined by Greg Hughes, President and CEO of Serena Software and some of the lead developers of ChangeMan ZMF, and the Client Pack to demonstrate some of the functionality in his forthcoming release.

You may recall several months back, we did a VUG where the team gave us an early preview of what was coming in 8.1. Since then you have probably seen at least one or two demos of the HLLX facility. Since we are now about two weeks away from the availability of ZMF 8.1, the team wanted to give everyone a refreshed view of what is soon to come.

In teeing up the demonstrations of this functionality given by the developers on the call, we quickly gave a high level overview of some of the features that were not being demonstrated during this VUG. To name just a few:

  • HLLX – The new facility in ChangeMan ZMF 8.1 that allows ZMF administrators to create and manage their customizations in a new way, as spoken of in an earlier blog post
  • Enhancements to the Installation Calendar, including extending its capacity from one year to five years as well as the ability to inherit the value of previous days when adding a new day to the calendar (prior to this enhancement, new days always took the default of MAX 000)
  • The ability to upgrade from one release of ZMF to the next on an application-by-application bases
  • Mass update of single application parm(s) across all or many applications
  • A good deal of enhancements around logging and SSV file management
  • A new XML service to display the skeleton release variables.
  • Major improvements to ERO performance and usability
  • Security enhancements such as RACF PassTicket support and pass-phrase support for ZMF Web Services
  • Audit capabilities extended to pending scratch/rename requests
  • Storage constraint relief

Well over 400 change requests have gone into ChangeMan ZMF 8.1. There simply wouldn’t be enough time to demo even the items noted above, so we decided to focus on a few of the enhancements coming your way.

The ball was passed to David Jackson who manages the mainframe development teams. David gave us an overview of the fresh new ISPF interface, a dive into ZMF’s use of the )INEXIT and how attribute definitions are externalized. He also stepped us through portions of the dialog, split and scroll capabilities and use of CUA constructs.

The presentation was then handed over to Peter Webb, one of the lead developers for ChangeMan ZMF who demonstrated much of the new SORT capabilities and the consistency and usability enhancements that have gone into the ISPF UI.

Mark Turrell, another lead developer on the ZMF team took the ball and demonstrated two key enhancements in 8.1 that were both highly requested among the community; the first was the ability to delete a load component even if the ILOD record has been deleted. This request had fourteen requestors. Mark also stepped us through the capability to add user data to non-source components, also as part of 8.1.

John Skelton, Principal Developer of the Client Pack and frequent presenter at VUGs and xChange took us through a number of enhancements. The first was the ability to substitute field names such as Work Request and Department Number. He went on to demonstrate how these substitutions were not only visible in ISPF but also Eclipse. John then gave us a great demo of how the Client Pack participates with HLLX. Lastly John stepped us all through how the Client Pack now works with ERO.

As always there were questions from the VUG participants. Some were asked and answered during the VUG, others came to us after the VUG.
The questions (and answers):

Q: Is the panel exit (referenced in David’s ISPF presentation) used specifically for attributes, or does it provide other functionality?
A: The IBM exit point initiated by the )INEXIT statement is solely for Serena usage. Currently the exit is limited to simply handling the inclusion of the *INCLUDE CMNPATTR copybook member.

We have to cater for ZDD and ZMF4ECL clients and as such, the exit is not intended to allow a ZMF end user be able to modify an ISPF panel by including any other member name.
Before we can consider opening up additional usage of the ISPF exit, we need to see use cases based on feedback whilst also considering the impact on our other client interfaces. We would hope that HLLX would be a preferable means of adopting business logic into a panel as it is seamless across all clients. For example when we provided the means to override the “Work Request ID” and “Department” fields we had to ensure that we catered for the other clients as John Skelton demo’d in the Eclipse client.

Q: ­Will ChangeMan support IBM’s new functionality for PDSEs that allows multiple generations of members to be saved and retrieved?­
A: This feature is part of PDSE V2. ChangeMan ZMF supports PDSE V2 and while it does not explicitly exploit this particular function (in the same way that IEBCOPY and ISPF only processes the current version of a member), ChangeMan ZMF has been specifically tested against PDSE V2 without issues. Furthermore, while ZMF does not exploit this feature, it is capable of generating datasets in that fashion: e.g. DSNAME=(LIBRARY,2), MAXGENS=10

Q: ­This question relates to the Release Set Up activities on ERO­. Are the Release set up activities possible via Client Pack?
A: Not Currently. Release setup is considered an administrative function. This may be considered as an ENH for a future release.

Q: Question about the LIBTYPE display ordering. I believe this was shown via GLOBAL Admin. Is it also customizable via LOCAL Admin, as well?
A: This was shown via application (local) administration library types. This affects the display of application library types within application administration panels and application library types within developer functions, such as stage and checkout. There is also ordering within global library types that affects the display of global library types within global administration panels and also global library types within application administration panels. Note that within application administration, there are panels displaying the application library types and also panels that display the global library types for selection to be copied to the application. Thus you can set default ordering in global library types used both for displaying global library types and for inheritance to application library types. Like other settings inherited from global to application library types, the default display order can then be changed at the application level so that different applications have different values.

Q: A question about these additional user variables for non-Like-SRC components. Once this is enabled (via Global? Or and/or also via Local?), is it immediately effective for all libtypes? Or is it perhaps controllable by individual libtype? Also, is this new data access feature effective retroactively for components already present within pre-existing packages “in motion?” Or is it only going to be accessible/available “going forward?”
A: The global option (only) when turned on or off, affects all libtypes for all packages with immediate effect. So if you restage a component in a pre-existing package in motion after changing the global setting, it will get the new options (or not) stored as part of the stage process.
There are currently no plans to make it more granular (application, libtypes) but is technically possible to do so if requested.

Q: What, if any plans are there presently for expanding the number of “user defined” data/panel fields?
A: As a result of feedback from one of our beta testers , we were asked to also provide the means to ‘repurpose’ a number of the requester fields and to additionally provide the means to allow the user to provide their own descriptive text to the right of the input field. This has been completed as part of ZMF 8.1.1 under ENH252126.

In case you missed this VUG, or would like to reference it in the future, here is the link.

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