While a large chunk of the world seems to think that mainframes are out of date and barely hanging on by the skin of their teeth in organizations that haven’t woken up to modern computing techniques, the rest of us know that mainframes, particularly the z14, are the most secure platforms for computing on the planet, and provide the backbone for 70 percent of the top 500 companies.

People don’t realize how often, in everyday life, that they interact with a mainframe. And mainframes provide a stable and robust platform for IoT devices to connect to, and also for mobile devices, and they are perfectly capable of working with RESTful states and JSON.

And just to underline that mainframes are as up-to-date as anything else, there are now mainframe-related apps available that you can download from Google Play on Android devices and the App Store on Apple devices. So what comes as an app?

IBM Doc Buddy, currently on Version 2, is really useful for looking up mainframe error messages and seeing what they mean. The app says that with the IBM Doc Buddy mobile app, you can search messages and codes issued from IBM Z products online and offline. In addition, the app aggregates mainframe content including blogs, videos, IBM Knowledge Center topics, and Thought Leader opinions. So it’s a handy resource to carry round in your pocket.

IBM Redbooks app – Another mainframe app you may have come across that was full of useful information was the IBM Redbooks app. However, this has been sunset as of 31 January 2018. Of course, you can still get the Redbook information from http://www.redbooks.ibm.com.

SHARE mobile app – For people who attend SHARE conferences, or wish they did, there’s the SHARE mobile app. The app lets you build your schedule by adding sessions to your ‘My Session’. It’s also possible to export your schedule to your Outlook calendar and automatically sync your schedule to your mobile device. In order to have your schedule sync between your app and desktop, you must create a profile within the SHARE Desktop Scheduler. Once the app is downloaded, the next SHARE event should appear on the home screen, when the app is launched.

IBM zServiceAdvisor – The recently-announced IBM zServiceAdvisor is described as a smart System Z software maintenance solution that runs on a mobile app. It’s designed to help maintain Db2 for z/OS and CICS software, and reduces the time and effort you spend doing maintenance tasks, and, more importantly, improves the overall health and stability of your System Z environment.

The benefits of the app are:

  • It will save the resources and the costs spent on manually reviewing APARS in order to keep the system in a healthy and stable state.
  • It will reduce the risk of outages or business impact because of not being able to install critical PTFs in a timely manner.
  • It will save the resources on performing the system in a timely manner.

IBM Systems Magazine for mainframes – The IBM Systems Magazine for mainframes is available as an app. You can then read the magazine on your phone or tablet.

Mainframe tutorial and refresher apps
There are also a number of mainframe tutorial and refresher apps, for example:

  • Mainframe Refresher from Squee International is a quick reference and frequently-asked interview guide.
  • Mainframe tutorials covers CICS, COBOL, IMS, Db2, JCL, and VSAM
  • Mainframe IQ from Gap Developers is a collection of mainframe questions
  • Test your mainframe skills!!! By Spriio.com is an application to help you assess your mainframe skills
  • Mainframe Interview Q&A from Scenica gives interview questions.

And there are lots more like that. I’ve no idea how useful they are, but there must be a need for them or people wouldn’t keep releasing them.

It’s useful to know that your mobile device can be a useful resource for working on a mainframe. And it’s useful to know that while you’re waiting for a plane or friends to show up, you can sharpen and hone your mainframe skills on an app on your phone.

Trevor Eddolls

Trevor Eddolls

CEO at iTech-Ed
Regular Planet Mainframe Blog Contributor
Trevor Eddolls is CEO at iTech-Ed Ltd, and an IBM Champion for the eight years running. He currently chairs the Virtual IMS and Virtual CICS user groups, and is features in many blogs. He is also editorial director for the Arcati Mainframe Yearbook.
Trevor Eddolls

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