ASF V3.4 Details
Application Support Facility for z/OS Version 3 Release 4 (ASF V3.4) was announced on December 11, 2007. For announcement details, refer to the announcement letters.
ASF for z/OS V3.4 now includes support for all of the following environments:
- The Document Composition function is now an optional part of the base product. Customers who use the Document Composition function should order the "Base plus Document Composition" entitlement identifier or feature code.as part of the base product. This is the same feature that was delivered in ASF V3.3.
- As with ASF V3.3, the Document Connect for ASF feature (the Web client) continues to be available as a separately priced feature of ASF V3.4.
- The Document Writing feature is now available as a separately priced feature of ASF V3.4. This was previously only available in ASF V3.2.
- Customers requiring ASF for compatibility with OfficeVision/MVS can now order the "Base only" entitlement identifer or feature code in ASF V3.4. This was previously only available in ASF V3.2.
ASF for z/OS V3.4 continues to support both the CICS and IMS environment in z/OS.
Installation information is available, including the Program Directory and a list of required PTFs.
Enhancements delivered in ASF V3.4 include new functions for Document Composition customers and new functions for Document Connect for ASF customers.
ASF V3.4 Enhancements to the Document Composition function:
When choosing to use DB2 as your Application Support Facility database platform, you can now optionally use DB2 for all Application Support Facility databases. Previously, Application Support Facility required VSAM or DL/I for the scratch databases. In addition to the continued support for VSAM and DL/I, DB2 is now supported for these databases. If you are interested in configuring Application Support Facility to use DB2 for these databases, contact the Application Support Facility support team at IBM through your normal support channels before beginning the migration.
The utilities to transfer items between Application Support Facility databases have been significantly enhanced.
- The resource unload utility now allows you to download items from a Completed Document Library (CLL) database to a flat file and then reload them to another CLL database. You can also use this utility to delete items from the CLL database.
- For customers storing Application Support Facility databases in IBM DB2:
- The resource unload utility is now able to restrict processing to only those versions of a General Information Library (GIL) record that fall within a specific time frame.
- The resource unload utility can now directly transfer items from the Saved Document Library (SLL) database to the CLL database in one step, improving overall performance for this task.
- When processing the SLL database, up to 32,767 single document requests can now be specified.
The improved post installation steps for Application Support Facility V3R4 more clearly differentiate between the three transaction managers supported: IMS, CICS, and DB2. Only those parameters which apply to the selected environment are presented to the system programmer for customization. The jobs generated to run Application Support Facility are then contained in transaction manager specific JCL libraries.
Many customer environments include databases containing documents or text in line-mode format that have not been created using Application Support Facility. Previously, these documents could only be displayed through separate applications, many requiring 3270 emulation. Application Support Facility V3R4 allows you to display the contents of these documents as part of your Application Support Facility user interface, whether you use the 3270 panel interface or the Web client interface available with Document Connect for ASF.
Application Support Facility V3R4 has improved the way you manage customized programs. The Application Support Facility tailoring members have been separated from the program code and are now in separate load libraries. In addition, customer-written exits are now separate programs, making them easier to maintain and move to production.
In order to customize Application Support Facility messages and panels, many customers overwrite labels provided in the Application Support Facility message pool. This practice made it necessary to redo these changes after applying PTFs for the message pool. Application Support Facility V3R4 now provides a customer message pool designed for customer modifications, making these customizations easier to maintain during the service process.
PL/I is no longer required to modify or create exit routines in Application Support Facility. You can use any available language supported in your z/OS environment.
Improved access control lets all Application Support Facility batch programs run in Authorized Program Facility (APF) libraries. In addition, the definition of a document template supports separate authorization levels for modifying a paragraph and inserting a new paragraph.
ASF V3.4 Enhancements to the Document Connect for ASF feature:
With Application Support Facility V3R4, Document Composition functions can be optionally executed using DB2 stored procedures as an alternative to CICS or IMS transactions. This allows you to choose the transaction manager that is right for your installation.
If you store Application Support Facility databases in IBM DB2 V8 or V9, you may realize performance improvements during the document composition process from a Web client. These improvements are due to Application Support Facility's exploitation of DB2 functions such as multiple-row read and multiple-row write. The most significant improvements can be seen in Distributed Relational Database Architecture™ (DRDA®) environments, where DB2 data is requested from a remote location.
In addition, the performance of spellchecking, opening and saving paragraphs, and previewing documents from the Web client has been improved.
Now the Document Connect for ASF server component performs as a standard J2EE application that can be invoked from different clients. This includes a Portal client, a Web services client, and a Web client. In support of these clients, Application Support Facility now provides services that can be integrated with SOA applications. In addition, Document Connect for ASF includes improvements to the graphical user interface.
You can now integrate the Document Connect for ASF client with other applications:
- A new C++ API (MFC client) allows the integration of Document Connect for ASF with C++ applications on Windows®.
- A new C# API (.NET client) allows the integration of Document Connect for ASF with .NET applications on Windows.
- A new Java™ client API (Java client) allows the integration of Document Connect for ASF with Java applications on Windows.
- A new HTTP POST API (Web client) allows the integration of Document Connect for ASF with Web client applications.
- A new Java server API (runtransaction API) allows the integration of Document Connect for ASF with enterprise applications on WebSphere Application Server.
Document Connect for ASF supports the system management of multinode high availability WebSphere Application Server installations. By using WebSphere Application Server variables for setup parameters and file locations, you can configure WebSphere Application Server for use with Document Connect for ASF on one system and use that configuration for multiple systems.
Many of the Document Connect for ASF server functions that run on WebSphere Application Server are now able to run on zAAP processors. This lets you offload some of Document Connect for ASF's Java and XML workload to separate processors, freeing the general purpose processors for other System z™ workloads.
The updated Document Connect for ASF feature provides improved integration of datastream transforms. You can now use more than one datastream transform (such as AFP™ to PDF) on one system. Selecting a specific transform for a specific document can be done at run time. In addition, Application Support Facility line output can now be converted to xsl&colon.fo for further processing with an xsl&colon.fo formatter.
The contents of the SLL and CLL databases play an important role in output management systems based on Application Support Facility. Customer applications may have a need to process particular documents in these databases outside of Application Support Facility. With Application Support Facility V3R4, Document Connect for ASF users can now search these databases and generate a list of items that meet the search criteria. In addition, Document Connect for ASF users can display a list of SLL and CLL items for further processing.
Document Connect for ASF now includes additional controls over the paragraph selection process used by users. This includes the ability to preselect paragraphs and mark paragraphs available for modification in the paragraph selection tree displayed for the user. In addition, two new exits are provided. The first lets you control and modify the attributes of the paragraphs shown: paragraphs can be added or removed and their modification attributes can be changed. This lets you protect or hide paragraphs from the user's view so that they may not be changed. The second exit lets you display additional paragraphs for insertion into the paragraph selection tree, allowing you to retrieve paragraphs more dynamically.
You can now integrate your own help files with Document Connect for ASF. The files must be in HTML format.
With the updated Document Connect for ASF feature, you can more easily e-mail composed documents, sending them as e-mail attachments. Using standard parameters, other information contained in the e-mail (such as sender, recipients, and subject) can be supplied by the application invoking Application Support Facility. With the improved integration of datastream transforms, it is now possible to use AFP for document preview and PDF as the format for e-mail attachments.
A new toolkit is provided allowing you to verify the conversion of standard paragraphs from DCF to HTML and from HTML to DCF based on the customization settings on the Document Connect for ASF server.
The updated Document Connect for ASF feature installs more easily with WebSphere Application Server. You are no longer required to modify WebSphere Application Server classpath, libpath, or shared library settings.
The number of prerequisite products required to use Document Connect for ASF has been reduced:
- The Java Runtime Environment is no longer required on the Web client.
- When using WebSphere MQ or CICS Transaction Gateway to connect WebSphere Application Server to the Application Support Facility host, you no longer need to install the connection product on the application server. Since Document Connect for ASF now uses WebSphere Resource Adapters, WebSphere MQ or CICS Transaction Gateway is only required on the z/OS host.