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Native processing CICS Containers and Channels in mapping node.
Traditionally the api for communicating with a CICS program utilized a single COMMAREA for sending and receiving data. A COMMAREA has been limited to a single data structure passing no more than 32K of data. To address these limitations IBM introduced a new api utilizing Channels and Containers, in 2005, where a CICS program can be passed a Channel which contains 1-many Containers each having unique data structures. For most modern CICS programs this is now the preferred api to use. A typical pattern might include a single Container for input (but some will have more) and may return multiple containers for output.
ACE supports the use of Channels and Containers with the CICS Request Node. The difficulty is that a CICS Channel is represented in ACE as a message collection. This poses a difficulty in that when a CICS Channel has more than one Container it cannot be natively mapped in the map node and must be mapped using an ESQL node or a Java node. This is a step back from WESB which allowed you to use the mapping node to address all of the CICS Containers within a CICS Channel. We are focused on driving reducing the use of the ESQL and Java nodes in order to simplify the programming experience and reduce the skill level needed for what should be simple mapping exercises. We would like to see the mapping node enhanced so that a CICS Channel with multiple CICS Containers (i.e. a message collection) can be created and parsed within a single mapping node. This will allow us to avoid using ESQL or Java nodes when there are more than one CICS Containers like we are currently constrained to. This will enhance programmer productivity and ease support bringing ACE more in line with features that WESB (WebSphere Enterprise Service Bus) used to have.
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