Mainframe Blog

BMC Contributes to Open Mainframe Project’s Zowe With the Workflow WiZard

Open Mainframe Project Zowe Workflow Wizard
2 minute read
Paul Spicer
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BMC’s contribution to the Open Mainframe Project (OMP), the Workflow WiZard, has been accepted as part of the Zowe project. The Workflow WiZard helps developers and systems programmers simplify the generation and management of z/OSMF workflows.

The IBM z/OS Management Facility (z/OSMF) is used by systems programmers to manage z/OS. In addition to general management tasks, it handles installation, configuration, and maintenance of IBM and ISV z/OS software products.

Workflow WiZard makes it easier to create z/OSMF workflows, whether you are a systems programmer writing workflows for your own shop or an ISV software developer writing a workflow to configure your products.

It has been quite a journey to get to this point. If you would like to learn more about how the Workflow WiZard project came to fruition, please read on.

The Journey To Make Mainframe Software Installation Easier

Since 2015, I have been the product manager representing BMC as part of the Common Vendor Install Initiative, a collaboration of IBM and ISVs working to adopt a common and modernized way for customers to manage z/OS software using z/OSMF.

As we began to work on the simplification and modernization of our installation process, it became apparent we would need to develop a lot of z/OSMF workflows, some of them lengthy and complex. We needed an easier way to develop and manage all of these workflows.

The Inception of the Workflow WiZard

z/OSMF workflows are written in XML. Editing and managing them is challenging, with no easy way to maintain individual workflow steps and no ability to divide a workflow so multiple developers can work on it. We also found that testing of workflows was time-consuming, particularly when Velocity scripts were involved.

These challenges led us to develop a workflow builder that assembles a z/OSMF workflow from individual step templates and largely eliminates the need to code Velocity scripts. This enables multiple developers to work on a workflow and be responsible for their own steps. It also significantly simplifies testing and ongoing workflow management.

Sample Template for Input to the Workflow WiZard

Sample Template Workflow Wizard Post

The Plan To Make the Workflow WiZard Open Source

As we talked to other vendors and our customers, it became clear that they also needed an easier way to build and manage workflows. With the increased use of open source software on the mainframe, especially with Zowe, we decided to make the Workflow WiZard available under Zowe so everyone could benefit from the capability and, if they desired, contribute to its ongoing development. 

Conclusion

With Workflow WiZard now a part of the Open Mainframe Project’s Zowe project, we’re confident it will make the jobs of developers and systems programmers easier, and that with further iteration from the Zowe community, its capabilities will improve well into the future.

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These postings are my own and do not necessarily represent BMC's position, strategies, or opinion.

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About the author

Paul Spicer

Paul Spicer is a lead product manager for BMC’s zSolutions and is responsible for Automation, Middleware Management and Install strategy.

Paul has over 35 years of experience working with IBM mainframe systems, with over 30 years providing systems management solutions in roles spanning software development and product management.

Prior to joining BMC, Paul worked at software vendors including Macro4, Candle Corporation and IBM.