Blog > May 2021 > 3 Things Next-Gen Developers Need to Manage Mainframe JCL

3 Things Next-Gen Developers Need to Manage Mainframe JCL

Far from being a traditional programming language, job control language (JCL) has always been difficult for developers to master. A powerful scripting language, JCL is essential for running mainframe applications; however, getting JCL right can be difficult unless you’ve been using it for some time.

While writing JCL has always been challenging, learning it 20 or 30 years ago was different than learning it today. JCL used to be much more “rigidly positional, it was really structured, there were no shortcuts” as Paul Casson, BMC Senior Product Manager, said in a recent webinar—"How to Empower Next-Gen Mainframe Pros to Easily Manage JCL”—alongside Anna Murray, ASG Director, Product Management.

Watch the Webinar

Yet, changes that have made JCL simpler over the years have paradoxically made it more difficult in some ways. For instance, the removal of rigid structure and introduction of shortcuts have sometimes made JCL harder to read and harder to enforce standards on.

This is an additional hurdle for next-gen IT pros who likely didn’t learn JCL or mainframe development in college, as Dr. Cameron Seay has blogged about. It can also create bottlenecks in the software development life cycle as your organization accelerates cross-platform development and delivery to support digital transformation.

Here are three important attributes your JCL management solution should offer to make learning and managing JCL easier for next-gen developers in a fast-paced digital economy.

  1. Modern Point-and-Click JCL Management Capabilities

    It’s easy to make mistakes with JCL, especially when learning the language. Next-gen IT pros must also learn the JCL standards and rules your organization uses.

    Having modern capabilities like automated scanning and reformatting that require a simple mouse-click can help people new to JCL focus more on managing it and worry less about committing manual errors due to a lack of knowledge and awareness.

    For example, ASG-PRO/JCL provides scanning that enables developers to automatically identify errors in their JCL script, helping them quickly find and fix issues before promoting changes to QA or production. The reformat feature in ASG-PRO/JCL enables you to organize JCL according to the standards of your organization, such as automatically shifting parameters to the front of a line of code instead of at the end.

    These modern capabilities remove much of the manual work and knowledge required so that next-gen developers can be productive and accurate with JCL as they’re learning the language. Both functions are made even easier in BMC Compuware Topaz Workbench and IBM IDz—two leading integrated development interfaces (IDE) ASG-PRO/JCL integrates with through an Eclipse plugin.

  2. Graphical User Interface for Modern User Experiences

    The green screen is not impossible for next-gen developers to use, and many learn to love it. However, the reality is most next-gen developers are going to be more comfortable and productive in modern IDEs like Topaz, IDz and Microsoft Visual Studio.

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    For example, while ASG-PRO/JCL still provides modern scanning and reformatting capabilities in a 3270 green screen interface, the scanning capability in Topaz enables next-gen developers to simply click “scan” and get results with a clear list of problems and easy links to the right line of code. The 3270 interface does have an easy edit macro, but the developer must comb through lines of output with embedded issues between the lines of JCL in a green screen.

    The former is much more efficient and empowers next-gen IT pros who are learning JCL to be more productive and confident in what they’re accomplishing. The same can be said for reformatting JCL.

  3. DevOps Enablement and CI/CD Integrations for Automation

    Providing a modern IDE also opens opportunities to integrate JCL management into your software development life cycle and DevOps toolchain. ASG-PRO/JCL offers a RESTful API for integrating with continuous integration/continuous delivery tools like Jenkins, TeamCity and Circle CI that can also be orchestrated by ASG-Enterprise Orchestrator, making it possible to automate core functions of JCL management in your DevOps toolchain.


    Having these integrations and the ability to quickly shift contexts between tools in an IDE increases next-gen developers’ ability to manage JCL with quality, velocity and efficiency, which improves overall software development and delivery.

    As mainframe activity and workloads grow to support evolving customer-facing systems of engagement, the role of JCL is more important than ever. Considering the steep learning curve for writing and managing JCL, it’s imperative that you equip your next-gen developers with tools that make it easy for them to get the job done.

Posted: 5/19/2021 8:00:00 AM by Mike Siemasz - Product Marketing Manager
Filed under :AEO, ASG, ASG-PRO/JCL, JCL, Mainframe, Topaz