Introducing Z and I Emulator for Transformation

This book provides the information you need to understand the HCL Z and I Emulator for Transformation (ZIETrans) product, install ZIETrans Toolkit, and use it to develop simple applications. After you have familiarized yourself with the concepts in this book and used ZIETrans, you can find more advanced information in the ZIETrans User's and Administrator's Guide, the ZIETrans Web Application Programmer's Guide and the ZIETrans Advanced Macro Guide.

What is ZIETrans?

With ZIETrans, you can create Web applications that provide an easy-to-use graphical user interface (GUI) for your 3270 applications running on IBM® System z® platforms and your 5250 applications running on IBM i operating system platforms. ZIETrans applications can access 5250 applications without requiring Online Transaction Processing (OLTP) capacity. In this book, these character-based 3270 and 5250 applications are referred to as host applications. You can also create service-oriented architecture (SOA) assets using Web services that provide standard programming interfaces to business logic and transactions contained within host applications. Data from video terminal (VT) emulation screens can also be accessed.

ZIETrans applications can be given a modern appearance. ZIETrans Web applications can be developed with an interface that matches your company's Web, and your users can access them through their Web browsers. ZIETrans Web applications can also be developed to provide access from mobile devices such as cellular phones, data collection terminals, and personal digital assistants (PDAs).

Note:
Throughout this document, configuration settings that apply only to ZIETrans Web applications and EJB applications unless otherwise noted, are marked with  Web-only .

ZIETrans has two components:

The following figure shows the stages of development, deployment, and runtime for a ZIETrans Web application.

  1. The developer uses the ZIETrans Toolkit to develop and test a ZIETrans Web application.
  2. When ready, the developer deploys the ZIETrans application by exporting it as a Java™ EE application and installing and running it on a WebSphere Application Server system.
  3. Using a Web browser, the user accesses the ZIETrans application.
  4. The ZIETrans runtime connects to the target host system through a Telnet server.
  5. As the user interacts with the host through the ZIETrans application, the ZIETrans runtime transforms host screens to a GUI.
Figure 1. ZIETrans Web application
ZIETrans Web application

A ZIETrans 3270 example

Imagine you need to create a GUI for a 3270 host application. With ZIETrans you have a choice of providing the GUI using a Web application.

The following figure shows a screen from the host application:

Figure 2. A host terminal screen
A host terminal screen

If you decide to create a Web application that provides the GUI, you use a wizard to create a simple ZIETrans Web project. You give your project a name and specify the host machine where the host application runs. You take all the defaults and add no customization. After just a few minutes, you use the preview function to see the host screen transformed to this:

Figure 3. A default Web transformation
A default Web transformation

As you can see, ZIETrans has added a banner across the top of the screen and a navigation area on the left, but has made minimal changes to the original host screen. This Web page may not yet be what you want to show to your users. Now you do some customizations. You change your template. After each modification you make, you preview the screen to evaluate your changes. Soon your page looks like this:

Figure 4. A customized Web transformation
A customized Web transformation

After a very short time, you have transformed the host screen into an attractive Web page that provides all the function of the host screen and more, and is accessible through a Web browser. You decided to switch to a template more suited to your business. You hid unnecessary information, and created a table to display only required input fields. You provided a drop-down list of valid values for an input field and use of a calendar widget for another input field. Finally, you changed the size and location of some of the text and provided navigation buttons.

When creating a Web application you might decide that this is enough customization, but with ZIETrans you can add much more. For example, you can:

How to add these and other types of customization is discussed in the remainder of this book and in the ZIETrans User's and Administrator's Guide.

A ZIETrans 5250 example

Imagine you need to create a GUI for a 5250 host application. With ZIETrans you have a choice of providing the GUI using a Web application.

The following figure shows a screen from the host application:

Figure 5. A host terminal screen
A host terminal screen

If you need to create a Web application that provides the GUI, you use a wizard to create a simple ZIETrans Web project. You give your project a name and specify the host machine where the host application runs. You take all the defaults and add no customization. After just a few minutes, you use the preview function to see the host screen transformed to this:

Figure 6. A default Web transformation
A default Web transformation

As you can see, ZIETrans has added a banner across the top of the screen and a navigation area on the left, but has made minimal changes to the original host screen. This Web page is not yet what you want to show to your users. Now you do some customization. After each change you make, you preview the screen to evaluate your changes. Soon your page looks like this:

Figure 7. A customized Web transformation
A customized Web transformation

When creating a Web application, you might decide that this is enough customization, but with ZIETrans you can add much more. For example, you can:

How to add these and other types of customization is discussed in the remainder of this book and in the ZIETrans User's and Administrator's Guide.

Roles and skills

A number of different people, each with different roles within your organization, can be users of ZIETrans. Depending on the role, skills ranging from a beginning user to an advanced developer may be required. The following roles and skills are involved in ZIETrans application development, deployment, administration, and usage:

Casual Web developer

A user of the ZIETrans Toolkit. The developer creates and edits a ZIETrans Web application using Rational SDP and the ZIETrans perspective.

Skills expected:
Creating a default application may require minimal HTML, JSP, and cascading style sheet (CSS) skills. Editing transformations and templates may require minimal to advanced HTML, JSP, CSS, and JavaScript skills.

Advanced Web developer

A ZIETrans Toolkit user who is already familiar with Rational SDP and advanced topics such as servlets, EJBs, Struts, JSF, and Web services. The developer creates and edits a ZIETrans Web application using Rational SDP and the ZIETrans perspective. The developer also creates business objects (Integration Objects) based on ZIETrans macros, and integrates these with other back-end systems.

Skills expected:
Highly skilled in HTML, JSP, CSS, JavaScript, and Java EE application environments.

User

ZIETrans has two types of users. The browser-based user of a ZIETrans application. The browser-based user invokes the application, either through a direct URL request to the application, and uses the resulting host session to work with a host application.

Skills expected:
Web browser common usage is all that is required.

ZIETrans administrator

The person who administers ZIETrans Web applications. This may be the same person as the WebSphere Application Server administrator. This person has the ability to monitor the number of ZIETrans sessions and manually stop connections in error cases. Currently, this role only exists for the ZIETrans Web application environments.

Skills expected:
Web browser common usage along with ZIETrans problem determination skills.

WebSphere administrator

The person who administers WebSphere Application Server. The WebSphere administrator is responsible for deploying ZIETrans applications that have been packaged as .ear files and transferred to the production system. This role exists for the ZIETrans Web application environment.

Skills expected:
Web browser common usage along with ZIETrans and WebSphere Application Server problem determination skills.

Independent software vendors

Independent software developers use the ZIETrans Toolkit to create custom applications that are resold to other customers.

Accessibility

Accessibility features help a user who has a physical disability, such as restricted mobility, limited vision, or other special needs, to use software products successfully. As a set of plug-ins of Rational SDP, ZIETrans takes advantage of the accessibility capabilities provided by Rational SDP. These are the major accessibility capabilities in Rational SDP:

Accessibility when using ZIETrans

Keep the following in mind when using ZIETrans:

Notes:
  1. ZIETrans supports accessibility for Web applications only when using Internet Explorer.

Keyboard shortcuts

Ctrl + F9
When a region of the host screen is selected, a new dialog box opens up that displays the selected text.

Where can I find information about ZIETrans?

The following ZIETrans information is available before you install ZIETrans:

In addition to the information available before installing ZIETrans, the following information is available on the system after installing ZIETrans: