Integrate mainframe transactions with Visual Studio

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Numerous operating environments must interact with various kinds of mainframe-based databases or transaction processing applications simply because those "big iron" systems are where data and/or key applications reside. Fortunately, Visual Studio makes it incredibly easy to integrate such functionality into Windows computers. That's because Microsoft has thoughtfully provided a COMTI Component Builder as a Visual Studio add-in. COMTI stands for the COM Transaction Integrator for CICS (IBM's widely used Customer Information Control System) and IMS (IBM's Information Management System). Together, CICS and IMS are widely used for all kinds of industrial strength implementations that range from reservation systems, to data warehousing, banking and securities applications and so forth.

Essentially, COMTI's job is to permit transaction programs to interact with Windows-based COM or DCOM (distributed COM) applications. Such transaction programs may work seamlessly with transaction programs that have been designed to separate business logic (which they handle) from presentation logic (which the COMTI wizards can help you handle, step-by-step). Using COMTI to access mainframe transactions on Windows clients means you can stick to the visual, object-oriented IDE and languages that Visual Studio provides even for these types of programming tasks.

To add the COMTI component builder to the Visual Studio IDE, follow these simple steps:

  1. Click Tools on the Visual Studio main menu bar.
  2. Select Customize on the resulting pop-up menu.
  3. Click the Add-ins and Macro Files tab on the Customize window.
  4. Click the check box for COM Transaction Integrator Component add-in for Visual Studio.
  5. Click Close to exit the Customize window.

Once you complete these steps, the COMTI icon will appear in a new toolbar. To access the COMTI component builder, use the toolbar. (Note: you can disable the COMTI add-in by following steps 1 through 5 above, but unchecking the COMTI check box in step 4).

For more information about the COMTI add-in and the various tools and wizards it supports, click here.

Ed Tittel presides over LANWrights, Inc., a company that specializes in Web markup languages and development tools, with a decidedly Microsoft flavor. He is also a co-author of more than 100 books on a variety of computing topics, and a regular contributor to numerous TechTarget web sites. Contact Ed via e-mail care of tips@searchvb.com.

This was first published in December 2002

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