Serena Blog

The best just got better.

With the release of ChangeMan ZMF 8.1 a new era of software development becomes possible for the mainframe. With over 400 customer requested ideas implemented and groundbreaking innovations in cross-platform SDLC support, this release makes managing software development, from idea to deployment more streamlined, more automated and more reliable than ever.

Leading enterprises are under pressure to deliver innovation rapidly to satisfy their customers, while maintaining high quality and integrity, and reducing cost and risk. Agility and accelerated application delivery is required but companies struggle to deliver mainframe changes at the pace that the business

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Today Serena is announcing ChangeMan ZMF v8, a major update to our flagship mainframe SCCM solution. Why the continued large investment by Serena in the mainframe? Read on…

Continuous Delivery for the Enterprise has been the mainframe_V8_blogpost subject of much focus and discussion in the industry and in my recent

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How does a developer know when they are done?.  soup.testing.001 How does a business know that their new application or feature does what the customer wants it to do? By testing. Testing is a cross functional activity that involves the whole team and should be done continuously from the beginning of the project. It serves as the gauntlet that a committed change has to run and pass in order to be considered worthy for release.  While testing is a major key ingredient

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We are looking for new and innovative uses of Serena Deployment Automation Community Edition and are announcing a new contest with a chance for a $1,000 Amazon gift card!

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CM_GraphicresizedOn June 10th I announced Serena Dimensions CM 14 – the best ever, and I am pleased to report that we have now secured a number of successful early adopters, many of whom are live and in production, and attracted a significant number of accounts that are now actively pursuing or planning their implementations and upgrades.

We have seen broad

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In our October 2014 Mainframe Virtual User Group (VUG), we highlighted the latest features in the ChangeMan ZMF 8.1 release, set to go GA at the end of the month. In addition to Kevin Parker and I presenting
at this VUG, we were joined by Greg Hughes, President and CEO of Serena Software and some of the lead developers of ChangeMan ZMF, and the Client Pack to demonstrate some of the functionality in his forthcoming release.

You may

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The world of configuration management is no longer just about The future of configuration management webcast servers in the data center. It is rapidly expanding and supporting other environments including cloud, mobile devices, embedded devices, BYOD and devices in the car and home. All these environments need to be configured as a broader system tying into a business platform or application. Everything is growing and becoming increasingly pervasive,

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We are gearing up for our next global user conference, xChange15, to be held March 22-25 in Washington D.C. Like our past xChange conferences, this one is going to be all about helping our customers get the most value our of their Serena software investments, with presentations and workshops featuring the best thought leaders, technical experts, fellow customers and technology partners.

In three jam-packed days, we provide over 60 technical sessions on the products you are using today, like SBM, Dimensions

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Tags: xChange


If you didn’t see the news yesterday, our friends at CloudBees, the enterprise Jenkins company, announced further strengthening of their partner program to delivery continuous delivery success to software development and IT organizations around the world.

It was

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Deploying software in today’s enterprise environments is an extremely expensive and inefficient process. The cost in terms of resources, time and revenue lost is actually astounding. I was on the phone with a large insurance company recently that was struggling with high costs and time to market issues with their main retail application. Their DBAs were spending over 50% of their time manually deploying 3 releases a day.

Do you have high cost, highly skilled team members deploying software? It shouldn’t be that hard.

You

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Technical blog posts

It is common in small shops for people to use a server's real name to access an application, for example: http://slvdc01/tmtrack/tmtrack.dll.

This is simple and easy, but eventually you will upgrade your application and move it to a new server, then the URL for users will change, links on your intranet page have to be updated, and inevitably users will get confused and frustrated. 

Instead, use a friendly alias that users can remember. Example: http://sbm.domain.com/tmtrack/tmtrack.dll.

Beyond being more resilient to changing server names, this has the added benefit of making it easier to secure with certificates, scalable, and even to provide easier access over the internet if desired. If your product (like SBM) is connected to by other integrated systems, an alias also reduces the need to update those systems as your implementation grows.


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Tags: SBM


It is so easy to open Composer, make a "little" change and click Quick Deploy. But, is a Quick Deploy sometimes too quick? Have you ever waited patiently for the "Deployment Completed" message only to realize that you deployed to production instead of staging? Or, maybe you didn't realize what happened until users started to call about sudden strange behavior... Don't feel bad. It's happened to a lot of administrators. We hear from customers all the time who have deployed something to production by mistake and now need to rollback.

Here we will discuss how to prevent a quick 2 minute change from becoming a long 2 hour recovery exercise.


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Tags: SBM


Today is my 15 year anniversary with Serena. WOW! A lot has changed during this time. 

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Before joining Serena I was a customer. (actually it was Merant; Serena acquired Merant in 2004). I worked for a defense contractor in the Washington DC area managing the software CM department. My very first task with this company was to move them off their outgrown, homegrown system to a COTS system.

Did I mention that I knew diddly squat about proper CM much less anything about overseeing the department? But having worked as a developer for another large defense contractor, I had firsthand experience of what life was like when things went wrong. Spent way too many late nights tracking down the elusive change that somehow didn’t make it into production.

So I used that experience as a guide into this new adventurous dark side—Change and Configuration Management. I remember the developers at my new job always got quiet whenever I entered their space. Like I was some evil person. In fact, one of the developers said to me, “you’re here to make my life harder.” Being the sweet, gentle person that I am (cough! cough!), I replied “just the opposite, I was hired to make your life easier.” I was convinced that I could convince him to see the value of good CM practices. Yea, right. 

So I took a two pronged approach. First and most importantly, I involved the developers in the evaluation process. I brought in the top three market leaders and asked the developers to help me in the selection. Dimensions came out as the winner and so began my journey with Dimensions CM.

Oh, and the second prong…..I joined their softball team. Figured I would show them that folks in the CM department are human beings too. We’re not evil, control freaks. Okay, maybe just not evil. :-)

Oh, life was simple then. I didn’t own a cell phone. Work actually had to page me after working hours. I know some of you reading this remember those days.


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Tags: Dimensions CM


Here are some simple ways to customize the Serena Request Center by editing the wrapper.htm file.

  • file location Serena/SBM/Application Engine/template/shell/SRP/wrapper.htm

In this blog, I'll be adding:

  • A tab that opens the Work Center interface.
  • A link for providing feedback in the User Links section.

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Tags: Serena Request Center


 

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The flexibility to customize ZMF to meet your user's requirements is one of the great advantages of ZMF.  This flexibility also introduces additional complexity as you upgrade ZMF from release to release.  Customer feedback tells us that forward fitting your customizations to a new ZMF release is a significant part of every upgrade project.  At xChange 2015, we hosted a 'best practices' session on this topic which received positive feedback on the recommendation to 'take the vanilla challenge'.  For those unfamiliar with my use of the term 'vanilla', it means 'as delivered' or 'out of the box'.  The challenge for you, is to to investigate your customizations and eliminate those that are unnecessary.

So, what are the items to consider as you attempt to minimize your customizations?


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Tags: ChangeMan ZMF/Mainframe


The Chrome DevTools command line is an extremely powerful tool for developing/debugging/testing JavaScript in real time on your forms.  You can manipulate the UI by typing commands that use the AE JavaScript library, or even define/execute your own methods while viewing states or executing transition forms.  You can write, test, and refine your custom JS code directly in the browser, and not go back to Composer until you're pasting in the final result!

To access the Console, simply navigate to the desired SBM page and then press the "F12" key. Then, select the "Console" tab and look for the > prompt:console_1.png


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Tags: SBM


In new Work Center UI, when you open any item from dashboard, activity or search results, it's shown in modal popup.

That popup overlaps entire Work Center page. You may need to have some useful information like selected application group, notification count, pinned views etc to be available even when popup is opened.


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Tags: SBM


Did you know that you can add links to external systems on the Request Center portal? b2ap3_thumbnail_SSM_login2.pngThis provides a one-stop Web portal for users regardless of tool. 

I add links to other SBM applications and Serena solutions such as Dimensions CM.


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Tags: Serena Request Center


Need to add several users to SSM?b2ap3_thumbnail_upload-from-excel.jpg

Need to update several users’ info in SSM?

Skipped that typing class a lot in high school?

 

If you answered yes to any 2 of these, then you’re reading the right post.


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Tags: Serena On Demand


If you add a new user via the Admin interface, the user will receive an email like the one below. The problem is, the link takes them to the Request Center and they are somehow required to magically know how to get to SSM.b2ap3_thumbnail_Welcome_to_SOD.png


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Tags: Serena On Demand


This video demonstrates a feature in Composer that makes it easy to reuse your forms, both within an application and between them.  When you copy a form and its underlying table changes, the fields on the form may no longer be valid.   The form copy mechanism maps fields with identical names and types, and an addition feature lets you change the table field associated with any control on the form.

If you enjoyed reading this blog entry, please subscribe to my blog by clicking the 'subscribe to updates from author' link below.


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Tags: SBM


Background

For Serena Business Manager (SBM) versions 10.1.5.x and earlier, the provided and only supported application server was Red Hat JBoss.  Due to changing market conditions, Serena Software has decided to change the provided Application Server from Red Hat JBoss to Apache Tomcat.  

Why change from JBoss to Tomcat?

Currently, as an application server, version 4.0.5 of JBoss is distributed with SBM.  The version of Tomcat on which this version of JBoss is based is Tomcat version 5.5.  This version of Tomcat has reached its end-of-life, so a newer version of an application server needs to be distributed with SBM.  Because a new version had to be included, analysis was done to determine if upgrading JBoss was the right direction or whether an alternative would provide more value.  During this research, Serena received feedback from many customers who preferred the community version of Tomcat over the forked version found in JBoss.  It also enabled a more simplified distribution as some JBoss capabilities were not exercised by SBM.  Thus, Serena has decided to embed the community version of Tomcat directly rather than JBoss with the next major release of SBM.  A newer version of Tomcat will also benefit customers because the technology has added improvements in garbage collection, JSP parsing, performance and scalability.  And finally, the community is active on newer versions; discovering, reporting, analyzing and correcting defects in a timely manner.


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Tags: SBM


Occasionally a server configuration problem can prevent communication between the Application Engine server and the Common Services server, resulting in a failure to run the Request Center and Work Center products.  This article covers the steps to diagnose the problem or at least gather more information.

  1. Get a zip of the log files from Configurator on the Application Engine server and the Common Services server (if different server).
  2. Look at the Application Engine.Log.isapi_redirect.log to see if there are any current errors.  The isapi redirect log file is generated by the JK Connector which SBM uses to send request between the Application Engine server and the Common Services server.
  3. Check the Application Engine.Log.Application event log.evt event viewer log for errors.
  4. Check the Common.jboss405.server.default.log.server.log log for errors.  This shows errors occurring on the Common Services side.
  5. Call Serena Support for help at any step of the way.
  6. If no smoking gun has been found at this point then it's time to take things a step further!

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Tags: SBM


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Dimensions Build includes a notification facility that enables you to send email messages containing information about build events. For example, you can notify users when a build is completed or when a build area is updated.

This post provides quick instructions on how to create build (email) notification templates for Dimensions CM Build. Templates are useful when you want to re-use the same subject and message in multiple notification events.

The overall steps are:

  1. Configure the Notification Server (if not already configured
  2. Create Notification Template
  3. Add Notification Events to the Stream (or Project)
  4. Add Notification Subscribers

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Tags: Dimensions CM


I commonly hear the request to have an approval step in a workflow that is going to be variable.  The other catch to this request is that the approvers change somewhat frequently, so there is a desire to not to have to make an administrative change each time the approver is going to change.

The best way to implement this is using an auxiliary table that will contain the user field with the defined approver and add permissions for a specified group of people to be able to update the auxiliary table records.

The challenge becomes, how do I get that approver field value copied to my workflow.  Before the days of orchestrations, we commonly would use TeamScript/AppScript for this.


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Tags: SBM


Introduction 

Amongst the most common type of issues reported to Serena Support’s ZMF team are problems related to ChangeMan ZMF security profiles.  It is reasonably common for us to discuss “Dave being unable to see or select the admin option” or “Heidi not being allowed to create a package in application TOGA”. 

So, how do we go about researching such a problem and can customers perform any self-diagnosis of such issues?  Obviously the answer to the latter is ‘yes’ or this would be a very short blog entry.  So, let’s use an example and work through the diagnosis process.   


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Tags: ChangeMan ZMF/Mainframe


In SBM 10.1.5, we've added a powerful and flexible new way to configure the REST Grid widget.

The Problem

In earlier releases, to configure the REST Grid widget you would enter an URL to the REST service.  Composer called that service, obtained a result and used it to determine the expected structure of the REST data so it could be used for mapping to other controls.  However, this process failed in a number of circumstances.  For example, the Composer user might not have permission to access the REST service, or the service might not always return all the data elements that might occur in production use.


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Tags: SBM


Back in SBM 10.1.3, we included a new feature to call REST web services with orchestrations.  The RESTCaller is included in the Composer interface after you upgrade.  You simply drag it onto your orchestration flow diagram and start to configure it the same way you do SOAP based web service calls.  Since this is essentially a wrapper, there is a little bit of translation that you will have to do.  There are two resources that you will want to reference. 


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Tags: SBM


When preparing for our ZMF 8.1 upgrade we have obviously all checked the Serena Support site – OEM Software Compatibility information here (you need to be logged into the Support website to access this link).  And from this we understand that z/OS 1.12 is the minimum supported operating system. 

However, we all know that we can always fire up ZMF on an earlier z/OS level and it will just about always work, right?  Well, no, that is not the case with ZMF 8.1.  

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Tags: ChangeMan ZMF/Mainframe


 

If you are part of the ChangeMan ZMF community, you may have received the ChangeMan ZMF Product Survey which went out in February of this year. If you were at xChange 2015, or if you’ve been on the last couple of Mainframe VUGs (Virtual User Groups), you have heard Mark Levy and I mention the survey.

During the kickoff session of the Mainframe track at xChange, among other topics such as the product roadmap, product futures and initiatives within R&D, I presented a glimpse of the survey results. The survey was still open so the results weren’t finalized but were consistent and in-line with what we are seeing now that the survey is closed. The results follow.


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Tags: ChangeMan ZMF/Mainframe