IBA Group Presents at SHARE Virtual Experience

August 26, 2021

From August 2 to August 13, IBA Group participated in the SHARE Virtual Experience conference. It was a hybrid event, where the delegates could attend either in person or online from wherever they are.

The conference consisted of two parts. From August 2 to August 6, registered users could access more than 120 on-demand technical sessions that they could watch anytime. The live part of the conference lasted from August 9 to August 13 and featured over 100 live presentations.

The event showed a strong focus on open source and Zowe. Practically every presenter spoke about mainframe modernization, and other topics included hybrid cloud and z/OS 2.5. IBA Group presented a Global Repository for Mainframe Developers, For mainframe plugin, and Db2 database development in Git solutions at the event.

DevOps guide for beginners

Two years ago, IBA speakers talked about DevOps unicorns that would make mainframes fly. This time, they took a more practical approach, explaining to mainframe beginners how to start “DevOpsing” on the mainframe from the very scratch.

Mainframe gurus know what it is like to talk about mainframe development in simple words. The reality is that mainframe is never simple unless you couple it with modern approaches like DevOps. Having summed up the experience of a number of successful projects of DevOps implementation on mainframe platforms, the IBA team concluded that the siloed nature of mainframe needs an integrative approach to tackle the problems at the very core.

GRMD: mainframe Klondike

A year ago, the IBA mainframe team launched GRMD, an open source Global Repository for Mainframe Developers, aimed at making the life of mainframe newcomers easier.  The repository contains tested, searchable, and standardized solutions to ad hoc mainframe problems. The DevOps for mainframe solution for beginners that IBA Group presented at the conference is also a part of the repository.

The session hit the record of 80 attendees and attracted 20 new visitors to the repository, and the repository received 11 clones, 425 views, five stars, and five forks on the day of the session.

For Mainframe plugin: fighting black and green screens

Another session by young IBAers answered the question of whether the concept of UX/UI design could be applicable to the mainframe. The speakers presented a newly developed open source For Mainframe plugin that showed how modern UX/UI improves mainframe development. It is a new visual, drag-and-drop plugin that modernizes the mainframe’s black and green screen (available for download at JetBrains).

Earlier, the young IBA mainframers took part in the SHARE Summit of March 2021 and had a session focused on making the mainframe platform more user friendly for the newcomers. In addition, they proved the importance of creating more open source applications for the z/OS platform to make the mainframe look more attractive.

Kirill Branavitski, mainframe software developer at IBA Group:

“At this August SHARE, we went into the details of UX/UI, how it can increase your product’s value and why it is more important to have a good UI  rather than a large number of features. We brought up some problems of existing solutions, such as Eclipse-based enterprise IDEs for the mainframe and traditional terminal emulators. The attendees showed a strong interest in the solution. ‘Looks very promising!’ and ‘Where can we get one?’ were the words that confirmed the interest. There were many questions about the solution’s architecture. Changes are often met with resistance by people used to traditional solutions. This time we could convince them that our For Mainframe plugin can change the way people interact with the mainframe. I think we did a great job this time and hope to share more success stories in the future!”

Db2 database development in Git

IBA Group delivered its third session Managing Db2 Database Development in Git during the on-demand days of the conference, presenting their approach to the design of a DevOps pipeline for Db2 development and showcasing their Git-based solution.

Mainframe leaders and problem makers

The three sessions at the SHARE conference are not just siloed solutions that sprang up accidentally but rather a part of the company’s strategy of mainframe modernization. With 30 years of mainframe development behind, IBA Group went through the years of mainframe decay and was one of those companies who did not let the mainframe die when the shortage of mainframe developers was critical for the industry.

At present, IBA Group offers free courses on mainframe to university students, many of whom choose mainframe development for their first job. However, the vintage look of the legacy systems make many newcomers give up the job after the first few weeks.

A solution to a problem often comes from problem makers themselves. For example, young IBA developers came to IBA after the university course and instead of dropping “green and black” screens they started looking for a solution to modernize the mainframe interface and eventually came up with For Mainframe plugin.

Similarly, members of the IBA Group’s DevOps team came to IBA as students and managed to establish a kind of synergy between young developers, modern open source technologies, and legacy mainframe applications, which resulted in the creation of the Global Repository for Mainframe Developers.

IBA Group believes that the company is on the right track, offering employees from different backgrounds, age groups, and nationalities to work jointly on projects. They might have divergent views and different approaches, but they have a common goal of paving the way for a SMART future. If you feel like joining us on this road, please get in touch.

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