Written by Ashley (Nan Nan) Li, Zowe Contributor and Content Designer at IBM
The Open Mainframe Project Zowe community’s 1.25 software release is now available. This blog post covers the the main highlights of new and updated features for the 1.25 release that were presented at the Zowe System Demo Meeting on November 1. All Zowe meetings can be found on the Open Mainframe Project calendar. Everyone is welcome to join and give feedback to help shape future Zowe releases.
You can read about the highlights below or watch it in action in the Zowe systems demo video.
Run Zowe in Kubernetes
With Zowe v1.25.0, you can run Zowe workloads off-platform in a container orchestration platform like Kubernetes. Zowe provides all the necessary Kubernetes manifest files you need to stand up it in a .zip file that you can download from Zowe.org.
Using Zowe containers has many benefits such as portability and ease of management. This means that you can now run Zowe servers on other platforms including Linux on Z and your PC. You can also run redundant copies of servers for scaling capacity to meet workload requirements. Full details on how to configure the prerequisites and install the build are covered in a new Zowe documentation section. Detailed troubleshooting information are also available to help you.
In addition to using the Zowe containers, you can containerize your own Zowe extensions and run them in a Zowe cluster. Instructions and samples can be found in the Zowe documentation. We also introduced new Zowe Conformance Criteria related to containerization which you can refer to if you don’t use the base images we provide. You can find all needed information like how the image files and folders should be structured.
You are encouraged to read this “Running Zowe in Kubernetes” blog written by Jack Jia to get a more comprehensive view of Zowe containerization, the purpose, and how you may benefit from it.
Simplified onboarding of REST API services to API Mediation Layer
The process of onboarding new REST APIs to the Zowe API Mediation Layer is made easier and more intuitive now. An onboarding wizard on the API Mediation Layer dashboard offers a walkthrough of the required steps to create a correct configuration file which is used to set the application properties and Eureka metadata. You can simply copy the configuration file to your project and use it when onboarding your service. The wizard supports different onboarding methods, including Plain Java Enabler, Spring Enabler, Micronaut Enabler, Node JS Enabler, static onboarding, and direct call to Eureka.
In addition, the onboarding wizard provides checks and warnings to help you avoid configuration mistakes. More information on this wizard can be found in the Onboarding a REST API service with the YAML Wizard topic on the Zowe doc site.
Dynamic compression of responses to API Mediation Layer
Dynamic compression gives you the ability to specify if all responses from the service to the Zowe API Mediation Layer are going to be compressed in GZIP format on a per service basis. To achieve this, set the customMetadata.apiml.response.compress parameter to true. You can further limit the compressed routes by setting the customMetadata.apiml.response.compressRoutes parameter to true. More details about these two parameters can be found in the Custom Metadata topic.
Enhanced loading and validation of profiles for Zowe CICS Explorer
While loading the profiles, Zowe CICS Explorer now allows you to load the profile names first onto the screen before you expand the profiles to fetch the resources. New icons (empty circle, red circle, green circle) are also provided to indicate the loading status of the profiles. New error messages added in this release will also give you more hints for troubleshooting purposes, such as error messages about untrusted certificates.
The Zowe CICS Explorer allows interactions with CICS regions and programs via the popular VSCode extension Zowe Explorer. To learn more about this extension and how to use it, see the Zowe CICS Explorer GitHub repo.
Ask questions about Zowe through a chat bot
Ask Zowe is a cognitive Slack bot that provides instant assistance to questions in Zowe Slack channels. It uses natural language understanding (NLU) technology to recognize and understand questions and connects to the Zowe documentation to find the most relevant answers and pages. Similar to other chat bots, you can type your questions in the chat window. The bot will provide either a direct answer or links to the Zowe documentation pages which it finds most relevant to your question. You can also rate whether the answers are relevant or not to help the bot learn over time.
To interact with this chat bot, go to the Open Mainframe Project Slack workspace (get an invite) first. Then, you can use @Ask Zowe in a Zowe Slack channel or a group chat, or message it directly.
Improved Zowe App Server
The Zowe App Server introduced several improvements in this release.
- load all of the CAs in the key ring. This is very helpful for automating and simplifying the end user configuration. The App Server now supports listing of the keyring content so it could
- New APIs on ZSS: The for getting the user’s information about home directory and user ID and so on. and a new API
Compare contents in the Zowe Editor
Preview feature: Team Configuration via Zowe Explorer
For team leaders or system administrators, Zowe Explorer vNext allows you to use the Team Configuration file which makes profile management more centralized and much simpler.
The new option “Create a New Team Configration File” enables you to configure global profiles and project-specific profiles. Once the zowe.config.json and zowe.schema.json configuration files are created, you can use a text editor or an IDE to review the configurations, add more propertities or change connection details for mainframe services. It also enables you to edit, store, and share mainframe configuration details in one location.
Detailed instructions can be found in the Zowe VSCode extension’s GitHub repo. To try out this feature, you can download the .vsix file directly from the GitHub release page with the tag “Pre-release”. Separate downloads are available for Zowe Explorer and Zowe Explorer Extension for FTP.
Preview feature: Auto-store of credentials in Zowe CLI
The new autoStore property in the Zowe configuration file provides the ability for you to execute commands more efficiently. When it is set to true, your credentials will be stored for future commands so you don’t have to enter the credentials every time, and will be stored in the securely in your PC’s credentials store. This allows the static connection details to be shared between team members with dynamic/user specific information to be stored locally on each user’s PC. This also works when you issue commands to API Mediation Layer.
Your feedback matters
We hope that you love the new release and we’d love to hear your feedback on anything related to Zowe! Tell us how you think about Zowe and help shape the content of future Zowe release as the community continues its journey to make the mainframe open, simple and familiar. Please get in touch via Slack or github.com/zowe.