May 2, 2024 | IBM Z

Advanced Tooling for Better IBM Z Batch Processing


IBM Z batch management tooling has significantly evolved over the past few years. IBM Z products offer new capabilities and plug-ins that allow any experienced and next generation developer to use advanced, modernized, and DevOps tooling for batch management.  


Table 1 shows five tooling environments that IBM Z batch management solutions such as SEA’s plusPack+ batch orchestration suite commonly integrate with. There is a wide variety of options for IBM Z batch management. This tight integration allows every developer on staff—not just your experienced IBM Z developers—to develop and manage batch workloads using their desired tooling. Integrated IBM Z solutions also offer new batch management capabilities that aren’t available with older products. 


Let’s look at each of these integrated tooling environments and see how they can improve IBM Z batch management.  

Table 1: Tooling Environments for IBM Z Batch Management

JCL Editors and Testing Services 

Job Control Language (JCL) is a full-bodied scripting language for mainframe batch processing. First developed in the 1960s, JCL has continuously improved, and it is still the default batch processing language for IBM Z systems. JCL data sets are traditionally created, edited, and submitted using IBM’s Interactive System Productivity Facility (ISPF) running under an interactive Time Sharing Option (TSO) session (usually referred to as TSO/ISPF).  


Many IBM Z batch management solutions such as SEA’s JCLplus+ contain their own modernized JCL editors and testing services that provide more advanced capabilities beyond TSO/ISPF. These capabilities include JCL syntax-checking, runtime validation, standards enforcement, and reformatting. They help detect JCL syntax and run-time errors, helping to reduce lost production time. Some solutions also include multi-system testing capabilities that allow you to perform JCL testing and run-time simulation across multiple systems.  

Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) and JCL Management 

New plug-ins allow batch developers to use Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) to provide JCL editing and testing services in lieu of using TSO/ISPF. Batch Plug-ins such as JCLplus+ Dev Plug-in enable developers to access JCL testing services from any Eclipse-based IDE including BMC AMI DevX Workbench for Eclipse and IBM Developer for z/OS (IDz). They can also use Visual Studio Code (VS Code) environments for batch management. With IDE plug-ins, IBM Z developers can use their IDE of choice for batch management. 

Figure 1: Plug-ins enable developers to use their IDE of choice for batch testing services

JCL Testing Service Integration 

JCL testing services can be invoked from and integrated with other services including REST APIs, Integrated Development Environments (IDEs), and the Java Command Line Interface (CLI). Testing service integration allows next generation developers to perform IBM Z batch management using the same DevOps tools they use for other enterprise batch operations.  


SEA’s JCLplus+ DevOps ToolChain Pack provides an innovative JCLplus-as-code solutions that enables the automation and deployment of JCL testing services from a command line. Based on SEA’s JCLplus+ technology and the YAML declarative language, JCLplus-as-code allows quality and development staff to declare different test JCLplus+ scenarios without designing, coding, and maintaining complex scripts for each specific testing need. Read our blog on Simplifying JCL Testing with JCLplus-as-code for more information. 

Jakarta Batch/Java Batch Processing 

Jakarta Batch (Java Batch) refers to batch applications written to the JSR-352 Job Specification Language (JSL) standards. IBM Z supports and runs batch processes written in the Java programming language, making Java Batch a viable alternative and add-on to traditional Job Control Language-based (JCL) programming and execution.  


IBM Z batch applications can be modernized by incorporating and adopting a Java Batch processing framework as a complement to traditional mainframe batch processing. It also allows organizations to leverage the skills of existing Java developers into batch testing and processing. Java developers are usually more widely available and cost-effective than mainframe programmers, which can help alleviate workforce transition issues.  


Organizations can implement Java Batch by using a Java Eclipse-based IDE plug-in such as SEA’s JSLplus+. Solutions like JSLplus+ allow you to perform the same functions for Java Batch processes as you currently perform with JCL batch processing, including syntax checking, error detection, defect elimination, and efficiency improvements. For more information on Java Batch processing, see SEA’s blog post on Why Use Java Batch for IBM Z Batch Processing?   

Multiple batch job scheduling options 

There are many options for scheduling IBM Z JCL and Java Batch jobs, including using the IBM Workload Scheduler (IWS) or third-party job schedulers such as Control-M or CA 7 Workload Automation. Batch jobs can also be scheduled using IBM command line utilities, the Java command line interface, RESTful APIs, and JCLplus-as-code 

Benefiting from IBM Z Batch Management Tools  

Developers are not locked into outdated obsolete tools for batch development and processing. There are many options organizations can deploy to better modernize, develop, test, integrate, and schedule IBM Z batch jobs.  


Some options such as Java Batch expand your development resources and take advantage of newer scripting languages, enabling non-IBM Z developers to become batch management programmers. Other options such as using Eclipse-based IDEs modernize and expand your development tool sets. While others such as JCLplus-as-code automate JCL validation and run-time simulation.  


Please feel free to contact SEA if you’d like to learn more about how these techniques and tooling can improve your IBM Z batch processing infrastructure.