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What broke the Matrix will revive the Mainframe experience

A Playbook for Modernizing the Mainframe, Part 2

In the opening blog Why The Time Is Now To Modernize Development On The Mainframe, Jean Louis Vignaud kicks off our blog series with our goal to bring DevOps and “the cloud experience” to mainframe as a means for modernizing development on this mission-essential platform. Three primary stakeholders are critical to realizing a successful modernization effort, and in Part 2 of our playbook I will outline the keys to unlocking the full value of one stakeholder, the modern developer. Many of the customers I’ve spoken with are undergoing a disruptive generational shift in their workforce. As mainframe experts retire and cede their responsibility over mission-essential applications, businesses are left with the challenge of onboarding a new generation of modern developers. Modern developers are a diverse group, with responsibilities ranging from specialized back-end applications to web/mobile applications that touch the full technology stack. However, despite these differences, all of them share a similar lack of interest in becoming experts on mainframe, and are even less inclined in adopting historical practices established by their predecessors.  

The problem is choice

In the iconic Matrix movie series, the protagonist Neo discovers that the human concept of “choice” is what befuddles the villain from creating the perfect trap. Makes sense. Enabling choice can be a difficult barrier to overcome because “choice” intrinsically entails greater complexity. Yet, this barrier is precisely what businesses must overcome in order to successfully hire and retain the best development talent out there. Modern developers want to hit the ground running, applying their highly coveted skillset without having to take on new competencies that seem irrelevant to the future of their career. The desired end-result seems clear. Businesses who succeed are the ones who allow their developers to use their preferred, best-in-class tools, and moreover, empower them to treat the mainframe as any other development platform without having to learn its specificities.  

There is a bright side

At CA Technologies, Project BrightSide was born to revolutionize how mainframe is experienced by Development and Operations, with a key objective to enable our customers to easily tailor how their developers build and maintain applications that touch the mainframe. Through Project BrightSide, businesses can deliver a more seamless holistic experience by leveraging a package of traditional and modern APIs towards completing a DevOps solution-set comprising industry-standard and open-source tooling, all without requiring any changes to the mainframe back-end. For example, a Project BrightSide implementation can enable a developer to:
  • Build applications using popular IDEs like Intellij and lightweight text editors like Visual Studio Code
  • Manage mainframe source code with clients like Git through integrations into CA Endevor® Software Change Manager, the market-leading mainframe SCM solution
  • Orchestrate builds and write automated tests for mainframe development using prevalent build tools and testing frameworks
  • Interact with the mainframe in an abstracted Linux-style Command Line Interface

A modern developer experience

From coding straight through build, test and deploy, at no point will a modern developer need to deviate from their established best-practices. I encourage you to check out our sneak preview of Project BrightSide, and feel free to contact me if you are interested in learning more about the Project BrightSide customer validation program.