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XML-L  April 2001

XML-L April 2001

Subject:

Re: XML and the OS/390 platform

From:

Kirstan Vandersluis <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Mon, 23 Apr 2001 09:51:29 -0600

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text/plain

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text/plain (144 lines)

Charles,

As alternatives to the home-grown method that Mark discusses (nice, simple
architicture, BTW), you can use products from Seagull Software and iWay to
connect to mainframe data sources.  Seagull's Transidiom product accesses
the data through your existing host applications (3270), while iWay lets you
access the data sources directly... VSAM, IMS, and many others, using an SQL
interface.

The benefit of Transidiom is that your existing business rules coded into
your host application are preserved.  This technology is related to
screen-scraping, but both the design environment and run-time are optimized
so it is extremely quick to implement and performs well at run-time.  The
iWay product hits the data sources directly, so it generally performs
better, especially for moving large amounts of data.

One issue you should consider is the complexity of the XML documents you are
sending to your partners, and whether you must process inbound XML.  At
X-Aware, our Avantio Virtual XML Database (VxDB) product lets you pull data
from any number of sources into an XML document of any complexity.  You are
free to design your XML documents to meet the business need of you and your
partners, rather than allowing your internal data schema to drive your XML
format.  Avantio is bi-directional, so inbound XML is decomposed and sent to
the right processing resource.  You can check it out at www.xaware.com.

-Kirstan

--------------------------
Mr. Kirstan Vandersluis
X-Aware, Inc., www.xaware.com
eMail:  [log in to unmask]
Phone: (719) 579-6547
Cell: (719) 930-6024

> -----Original Message-----
> From: General discussion of Extensible Markup Language
> [mailto:[log in to unmask]]On Behalf Of Mark Wonsil
> Sent: Monday, April 23, 2001 9:01 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: XML and the OS/390 platform
>
>
> I have been working with a hybrid solution using Cobol and
> Java.  As you
> mentioned, there are quite a few tools available in Java, but
> I didn't want
> to mix all of that web programming in my Cobol.  I am still
> developing the
> process, but here is what I am doing.
>
> I let the web server and Java servlets do all of the web
> work.  A servlet,
> which stays resident after its first invocation or loaded
> when the server
> starts up, makes a socket connection to the mainframe.  The
> server program
> is written in Cobol and takes all of the information the
> servlet knows (all
> of the CGI variable, etc.) and sends back a record oriented XML file.
> Charles Goldfarb created the Element Structure Information
> Set standard to
> describe SGML documents in a record oriented manner.  This
> was done so Unix
> tools would work on SGML (and hence XML).  In short, the
> first character of
> the record indicates what is on the record and the rest is
> the data.  For
> example, if the first character is an '(', then the rest of
> the data is the
> start tag, a ')' is the end tag, , an 'A' is an attribute and
> value, a '-'
> indicates character data and a "?" indicates a processing
> instruction.  For
> more information on record oriented XML, see
> http://www.pyxie.org.  Using
> this format is much easier in Cobol for both inbound and
> outbound data.  In
> Java, it is quite easy to write a Sax filter to convert to
> and from XML from
> ESIS.  The servlet can do your validation too.
>
> The advantage of splitting up the duties is that the Cobol programmer
> doesn't get bogged down in the web issues.  A request comes
> in, the Cobol
> server looks up what it needs, sends an ESIS stream and waits
> for the next
> request.  One can also make a pool of server programs
> available to several
> web servers to scale up to higher traffic.  In addition, the
> web servers can
> be on the other side of the firewall while your 390 box is behind it.
>
> Food for thought.  HTH.
>
> Mark Wonsil
> 4M Enterprises, Inc.
>
> -----Original Message-----
> We are looking at implementing the usage of XML in our
> systems and since
> most of our legacy data and applications (written mostly in
> COBOL) are on
> an OS/390 platform, we need to move data from it to an NT box (and
> eventually to partners).
>
> On the NT side we plan to use MSXML 3.0 from Microsoft since
> it's the most
> advanced in terms of stability and conformance with the W3C standards
> (XML, DTD, XSL).  But on the OS/390 side the solutions seems not so
> trivial.
>
> We plan to use the XMLife vocabulary (developed by ACORD) and we have
> these solutions in mind and I would like to know your
> comments about them
> and your recommendations :
>
> 1. Create XML files directly from a COBOL application (it is
> simple and
> easy, but it is difficult to ensure the validity of the XML generated
> according to a DTD).
> 2. Use the XML4COBOL parser/generator product (from MAAS) (we
> don't know
> if it complies with the W3C DOM specifications and if it is
> easy to use).
> 3. Install JAVA on the OS/390 to have access to the myriad of
> XML tools
> available on this platform (we don't have any JAVA expertise,
> but it could
> allow us to concentrate more on business logic than on the
> creation of XML
> files).
> 4. Convert the data from the OS/390 to XML on the NT platform (we are
> limiting the benefits of using XML, since we cannot send an XML file
> directly from the OS/390 to our partners, we must convert
> them on NT box
> before).
>
> What do you think of these solutions ? Am I missing something
> ?  Which is
> our best choice considering we have a considerable amount of data and
> applications on OS/390 ?
>
> Charles.
>

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