zEnterprise series part 2 of 5: Achieving Top Marks in Development Efficiency

Application development plays a complex, vital role in mainframe IT organizations and an efficient development process is key in delivering improvements to the business. This blog – the second of five – examines the issues organizations face and how a contemporary approach can improve efficiency and productivity, unite development teams and put YOU in control.

The need for productivity

Application development isn’t just about edit, compile, debug and test. It’s a lot more complex, and involves a range of tools such as configuration management and databases. For programmers to work efficiently and productively, this workflow must be modeled and integrated into a single development experience. If developers have to return to the mainframe, productivity may be compromised.

There are a number of efficiency related issues that mainframe development teams face in the development cycle. These can be tackled effectively with the right technology:

  1. Use of different programming languages and tools across the development organization
  2. Late identification of bugs extending the testing cycle and consuming key mainframe resources
  3. Limited choice of operating systems and a development environment which is reliant on the mainframe
  4. The harder an environment is to learn, the harder it is for new users to adopt
  5. Complexity of integrating tools and processes into the existing development environment.

Stepping up: meeting mainframe development challenges head-on

Micro Focus can address these issues with its innovative technology, Enterprise Developer for zEnterprise, helping organizations to achieve top marks in development efficiency and productivity. Let’s look at each in turn.

  1. Developer collaboration through common tooling
    The lack of collaboration between an organization’s new and experienced developers is an increasing hindrance. But it’s not just about trying to merge new skills with old. It’s also about enabling them all to use what they are familiar with so they can share the same processes too.Java users for instance may know Eclipse inside out, but they have never seen COBOL.  Bringing COBOL under the Eclipse IDE demystifies mainframe development, as it provides a familiar environment for cross training in COBOL. This encourages a strong focus on syntax rather than tools. COBOL developers however, know the language just fine, but come from an older-style interface and have little appreciation of the new Eclipse IDE.By ensuring the same application compilation and execution within Eclipse, and by making the development environment more productive and powerful, the change for the COBOL developer is both simple and rewarding. Unifying development across teams this way creates a larger more flexible resource pool and – at the same time – more productive, collaborative developers.

    IBM SCLM integration into the IDE

  2. Enabling application quality early on
    Mainframe application quality cannot be compromised. Bugs must be identified and fixed during the unit test stage to shorten the development cycle. Access is available to advanced testing tools including full control of a GUI debugger, just in time and core dump debugging and a full unit test environment running under Windows. These help developers reduce the overwhelming backlog of work – and the reliance on precious mainframe resources.

  3. Flexibility makes life easier
    Developers can now maximize the productivity gains of an Eclipse-based development environment by having the choice of development either directly on the mainframe or on Windows with no reliance on the mainframe, all from a single IDE. Supporting a choice of operating systems offers a level of flexibility which is increasingly important to many organizations.
  4. Technology meets efficiency
    Easy customization of the Eclipse-based user interface allows familiar development workflows, tools and mainframe configuration management to be rapidly woven into the Eclipse-based development process. This, alongside an intuitive graphical interface, means existing mainframe developers – and even newly-qualified programmers – can efficiently adopt new tools and an organization’s development process.

  5. The right tool for the job: Eclipse
    With graphical tools and tightly-integrated mainframe configuration management, developers can work on or off the mainframe with full access to tools and projects – all from the same environment.

Customizing the IDE to develop on and off the mainframe

Better, faster, easier

The recent launch of Micro Focus Enterprise Developer for zEnterprise has enabled faster delivery of new zEnterprise business functions. Now, customers can build their own fit-for-purpose core applications. Enterprise Developer for zEnterprise is part of the wider Enterprise product set, which addresses the IT strategy and application modernization needs of IBM mainframe shops. Now, so-called legacy systems are reinvigorated and fully integrated into the modern IT landscape.

This ground-breaking technology meets known obstacles to efficiency head-on and boosts mainframe application delivery. It lowers costs, removes bottlenecks and accelerates innovation.

That’s not all: one eye on the future
Enterprise Developer for zEnterprise is a landmark product in a constantly evolving IT landscape. It  provides an open environment which is more accessible to new talent. It unifies enterprise development across the COBOL, Java and .NET development communities. Enterprise Developer for zEnterprise is a launchpad for new mobile or cloud-based enterprise initiatives. It’s where your organization ’smartens up’ and looks towards long term innovation and development efficiency.

Enterprise Developer for zEnterprise is available now. It’s battle-ready to unite disparate developer skills through the customization of the development environment. Quite simply, this technology puts YOU in control.

Our white paper A Step Change in Development Efficiency gives more detailed information about how Enterprise Developer for zEnterprise tackles the challenges discussed in this blog.

To read the first blog in this series, click here.

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