PIE®/CICS-DynamicMenus

Dynamic Transaction Logical Menu System

PIE/CICS, Productivity Integrated Environment for z/OS / CICS Transaction Server is an integrated family of common and optional components. With PIE/CICS administrators can create user profiles extending the user sessions to 99 simultaneous applications running in separate sessions.

With PIE/CICS you can build secure menus that contain multiple applications and transactions without changing existing CICS applications. When used as a CICS based application, these menus greatly simplify site navigation and shorten learning curves.

Eliminate the need for the user to Sign On to each application and/or transaction. PIE/CICS seamlessly authenticates users to external security systems (RACF, CA-ACF2, CA-Top Secret) and to internal application security. PIE/CICS Single Sign On saves valuable time and reduces user frustration.

  • OVERVIEW
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  • AT-A-GLANCE
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  • FEATURES
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  • RESOURCES
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  • REQUIREMENTS
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OVERVIEW

PIE/CICS-DynamicMenus is an optional PIE/CICS component that provides a more friendly approach to creating secure menus by eliminating blank CICS screen tranID usage and arguments. In a native CICS environment, users get the CICS blank screen and they must enter full transactions. When one transaction is finished, users have to enter another transaction. There is nothing on the screen to assist them. Because users have to enter transaction IDs and arguments, they need to be trained in the precise syntax of their transactions. If the transaction syntax is complex or cryptic, there is plenty of room for error and frustration. Changes in transaction syntax require user re-training. The consequence of these problems is low productivity and high operating cost.

Why PIE/CICS-DynamicMenus?

Many installations create menu applications to get around the problems described above. While these menus help, often they do not completely eliminate the CICS blank screen. When users sign on, they get the blank screen and must enter the menu transaction. From time to time, users must enter another transaction to bring up a different menu or application. Most CICS menu systems give control to a menu line by either transferring control to a program with the XCTL command or using ATI START to start a transaction. These menu facilities suffer from the following problems:

  • You have to modify programs to work with the menu. This is a maintenance headache. It also means that you cannot access third party applications from the menu.
  • Menu displays are usually hard-coded, have very little flexibility, and are not customizable based on user or terminal ID. Users see menu options they are not permitted to use, which creates problems with usability and security.
  • During an ATI START, the keyboard is unlocked before the transaction is started. Eager users can enter data that causes their CICS sessions to terminate or hang.
  • When a menu uses XCTL, all work is performed under the menu transaction. Since all CICS performance monitors and chargeback systems use transaction ID for reporting and billing purposes, this makes your activity analysis reports relatively meaningless.
  • There is a more serious drawback in using XCTL: since external security is done by transaction ID, performing all work under the menu’s authorized transaction ID invalidates external security for any transactions executed through the menu.
  • In CICS versions before 3.3, you cannot XCTL to an application on a MRO system.
  • Using ATI START avoids the problems mentioned above. However, with ATI START, there is more overhead due to the long path length of ATI scheduling and terminal bidding. This is especially high in MRO environments. This overhead can substantially increase response time.

How PIE/CICS-DynamicMenus Solves the Problem

PIE/CICS-DynamicMenus uses a different method, called transaction XCTL, which “XCTL’s” to the transaction instead of the program. This method solves all of these problems.

  • It supports all your applications without modification. If you can execute a transaction, you can execute it with transaction XCTL. You can execute in-house programs, vendor programs, CICS commands, programs that run in MRO, programs that run in other VTAM regions.
  • Each transaction runs under its own transaction ID. That means external security can protect applications by transaction ID. Your monitor program can provide meaningful data on resource usage. Your charge back systems can differentiate between applications.
  • When the transaction ends, control is returned to the menu through AutoEnd. AutoEnd detects when a transaction (conversational or pseudo conversational) ends, and AutoEnd automatically returns control to the menu.
  • When it executes the transaction, PIE/CICS-DynamicMenus also passes the TIOA. So you can pass the transaction any arguments you like. That means you can execute a particular function of a transaction using a menu line.
  • The transaction XCTL method does not unlock the keyboard when the application starts. Users cannot enter data at the terminal to interfere with processing.

While PIE/CICS-DynamicMenus does not ordinarily use ATI START or XCTL to a program, it is flexible, and it allows you to specify either of these methods to execute a particular menu line.

FEATURES

  • Dual levels of secure menus
    You have two levels of security for each menu line: protect menu lines based on your external security rules and on Dynamic Menus internal security. Menu line security can be re-checked for each user at regular intervals.
  • Support for all applicaitons
    All applications are supported, and no customization is required.
  • VTAM application ready
    You can access other VTAM applications in other sessions. There are three commands to switch sessions: TSWITCH, PASS, and ACCESS. Logging on and transferring control to another region can be automatic and completely transparent tot he user.
  • Create user scripts
    You can execute scripts from a menu to automate end-user processes.
  • Transaction stacking
    You can stack transactions to execute multiple transactions in sequence. If these transactions do not require terminal input to end, they are executed immediately similar to a CLIST in TSO.
  • AutoEnd
    You can use AutoEnd to eliminate the CICS blank screen. AutoEnd returns control to the menu when a transaction ends.
  • Complete menu customization
    You can customize menus with user-defined titles, comments, and variables such as terminal ID, user ID, time, date, etc.
  • Help and tutorial system
    You can create tutorial menus, bulletin boards, help, and news files—making your system more user-friendly.
  • Fast pathing support
    You can fast-path through menus: 3.1 will select item #3 on the current menu and item #1 from the next.
  • Auto select one line menus
    If only have one menu line remains after menu line security, that menu line can be selected for the user automatically.
  • Dynamic Menu API
    You can use our API to incorporate Dynamic Menus into home-grown applications.
  • Dynamic Menu Transaction routing bridge
    With Dynamic Transaction Routing, you can execute the same transaction on multiple CICS AORs and transactions that aren’t defined in the TOR. You specify which AOR you want to execute the transaction on the menu line or in an exit.

AT-A-GLANCE

  • Simplifies access to applications
  • Allows you to organize and lend structure to your transactions
  • Increases control over transaction processing
  • Controlled workflow and logic with CICS applications
  • Dynamic Menus determines what options a user is authorized to execute
  • Secure portions of transactions

RESOURCES

REQUIREMENTS

  • Product
    PIE/CICS base
  • Mainframe
    IBM z/Architecture and compatible
  • Operating System
    MVS/ESA
    OS/390 2.10 or later
    z/OS 1.8 or later 
  • Host System
    CICS Transaction Server 3.2 or later