The Open Mainframe Project’s Zowe 1.20 release is now available. This is the third update in 2021 as the squads respond to customer requests for enhancements and new features, as well as defect fixes and patches. To obtain Zowe visit https://zowe.org/downloads, and to see a full list of release enhancements see https://docs.zowe.org/stable/getting-started/summaryofchanges.html#new-features-and-enhancements.
The Zowe community squads operate using agile release scrum practices across its four main components: Command Line Interface, VS Code Zowe Explorer extension, Zowe Desktop and Zowe API Mediation Layer.
The API Mediation Layer is the engine room of the z/OS components, based on Netflix Zuul and providing the heavy lifting for services such as REST API routing and authentication.
- One of the themes of the current program increment (or PI) is to extend its capabilities to provide high availability and the guarantee of an always available endpoint, and 1.20 saw progress made towards this with enhancements to the current VSAM caching service as well as preparation for alternative service providers.
- Authentication services were enhanced with x509 client side certificates being able to operate not just in a northbound client->server fashion, but in a southbound manner for onboarded z/OS services.
- Zowe uses certificates for data encryption and can operate in scenarios where z/OSMF is or isn’t able to generate a JSON web authentication token (JWT). For users where z/OSMF was available the APIML used to generate a JWT that wasn’t actually needed, and with 1.20 this is no longer the case which helps with keyring setup simplification. z/OS services onboarding to the API Gateway may take advantage of single sign-on (SSO), and this is now displayed on the catalog tile to let users know which services are SSO enabled (and which aren’t).
An issue with importing external certificates authorities was fixed that is including in the minor version release 1.20.1.
The Zowe Desktop allows mainframe users to access a rich set of capabilities using nothing more than a browser, proving very popular with customers who have locked down desktops. A growing number of extension apps for the desktop are being made available and it’s fast becoming the new face of z/OS at many sites.
- The File Editor is an extremely powerful desktop app that provides quick access to the USS and MVS file systems. 20 introduced quick search, a preferences menu to customize colors and other behavior, and undo and redo for file editing.
The Zowe CLI allows users to interact with their mainframe from their PC through commands either ad-hoc in a terminal, or else through a scripting language such as bash, groovy, and others (often in a devops pipeline or automation/orchestration scenario). The CLI saw a number of enhancements for 1.20
- Added a like option to the zowe files create data-set command, aka. allocate like
- Support for GZIP compression and decompression REST requests with different content encodings gzip, default or
- Ability to set –protocol on request to specify http or https, overriding the profiles default
One of the great features of the CLI is not just its base function (which is serves through z/OSMF REST APIs or SSH on z/OS) but the ability to have extensions created that can interact with other z/OS services and extend the scope of what an end user can access.
- The Db2 CLI extension was enhanced for the export table to add a semicolon after SQL statements
- The FTP extension has grown in recent releases and now includes allocate for sequential or partitioned data sets.
The Zowe Explorer is the hugely popular VS Code marketplace extension, that provides access to z/OS jobs, USS and MVS files. A number of enhancements were provided that include
- Recently opened files can be displayed on request using Ctrl+Alt+R (Windows) or Command+Option+R (Mac) key combinations
- Allow the file picker to filter data sets using Ctrl+Alt+P (Windows) or Command+Option+P (MNac)
Learn more about Zowe by visiting https://www.zowe.org/.