Frequently Asked Questions

Does HostBridge scrape screens to get CICS data?

HostBridge does not scrape screens. It doesn’t depend on row/column screen coordinates on a 3270 screen to get data. HostBridge was specifically designed to eliminate the inherent problems with screen scraper solutions: complex, poor performance, scale poorly, and break easily. Instead, HostBridge exploits the Link3270 Bridge API to intercept CICS data before the presentation layer (3270 screen) is added. This allows HostBridge to use CICS program field names as metadata for interaction, navigation, and orchestration enabling dynamic integration of CICS. Our customers, by far, are the largest group of users of the Link3270 Bridge API.

How does using The HostBridge JavaScript Engine (HB.js) for CICS integration compare to using Node.js and IBM® z/OS® Connect EE?ape screens to get CICS data?

Invoking z/OS Connect EE (ZCEE) from Node.js doesn’t solve all CICS integration requirements. ZCEE can only execute a single COMMAREA program and has no ability to orchestrate or automate multiple CICS transactions. Using Node.js to orchestrate or automate could make sense, but the challenge is Node.js’ limited ability to interact with CICS applications. For example, a Node.js application can’t interact with a screen-based CICS applications. It might be possible to “cobble” a method together, but it would rely on screen-scraping, a poor integration approach. HB.js was purpose-built as an integration and orchestration engine for all types of CICS applications. It works well with ZCEE, and never relies on screen-scraping.

Our shop already has the CICS® Transaction Gateway. How is HostBridge different?

HostBridge is a superior replacement for any screen scraping integration middleware. Using HostBridge over HTTP avoids latency/response issues with CTG and MQ. With HostBridge, you can do orchestration across multiple COMMAREA programs. If you have zIIP specialty processor(s), HostBridge will use less general processor resources than CTG. HostBridge offers flexibility in returned data structures and supports all COBOL data types including OCCURS and OCCURS DEPENDING ON.

Does HostBridge support SOAP web services?

The HostBridge JavaScript Engine is a comprehensive JavaScript facility and fully supports object-oriented scripting/Web services. Supported services types and protocols include XML, SOAP, SOAP 1.2, REST/RESTful services, Ajax, JSON (javaScript Object Notation), Atom, HTML, E4X (EcmaScript for XML), and ACORD (Insurance industry standard). The HostBridge engine also includes predefined objects that can perform virtually any operation a COBOL program can perform. These include CICS command-level access, CICS transaction execution, COMMAREA program execution, SOAP RPC response writing support, and more.

Does host authentication or authorization have to change when using HostBridge?

HostBridge works within your existing security model, and therefore your host application or security does not change. HostBridge-created CICS web services execute under the credentials supplied at the time service is invoked. A common “service” ID can run all requests if authentication is performed in the middle tier. HostBridge also supports a “trusted host” model. SSL, Digital certificates, and IP Address/Host inclusion/exclusion lists are supported.

What is the overhead of HostBridge on CICS?

All HostBridge processing is event driven and executes only when integration processing is invoked (no long running tasks). HostBridge is zIIP enabled, and when using the zIIP, all the benefits of it accrue to eligible HostBridge processes and integration/SOA workloads. These benefits include reduced processing costs, lower mainframe TCO, and potentially improved performance depending on an organization’s general purpose processor capacity (shifting workloads from a lower-capacity GPP to the zIIP may result in higher processing performance).

Does HostBridge support integration with anything outside of CICS?

HostBridge supports direct data access to VSAM, DB2, Datacom, DL/1; supports CA-IDEAL, TELON, Gener/OS; supports MQ; and, via FEPI can access any VTAM application. IMS support requires HostBridge running in CICS with a FEPI connection to IMS. Our MQ support can also communicate to non-mainframe, DB2 as well since the database may be off mainframe or be accessed by non-mainframe clients. We also have Batch Program in CICS (BPIC) and CICS Program in Batch (CPIB) products which can use batch programs in CICS or CICS Programs in batch for cases where programs need to be reused to aid with integration.

We bridge the gap between your mainframe and the hybrid cloud.