IBM is to offer a Customer Information Control System (CICS) Soap Technology Preview designed to help developers build connections to its CICS-based mainframe applications through web services.
The technology will be available by the end of this month free of charge on IBM's alphaWorks web site and provides Soap enablement of existing CICS Cobol applications, permitting them to be invoked through Soap requests over either HTTP or WebSphere MQ messages and then integrated both inside and outside of the enterprise.
"This means you can invoke Cobol and PL/1 programs via Soap messages without the need for an intermediary. You can open up all this enterprise data and communicate with these applications in a way you could not before," said Bob Sutor, IBM's director of Web services technology.
IBM sees the technology as an essential step toward validating web services as a fundamental technology corporate users need to make their legacy applications interact fully with more modern technologies both inside and outside their companies.
"If people are truly going to take web services seriously as an enterprise technology, then they have to have meaningful access to their enterprise and legacy applications and data. And when you think of web services as useful for business, we have to take these types [CICS] of environments into account,'' Sutor said.
CICS is a mainframe-level transaction monitoring system that has had a presence in corporate accounts for 35 years. IBM officials estimate that around $1 trillion worth of transactions move across CICS-based mainframes every day.