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CICS Explorer on Mac OS X

Shhh …now please keep this to yourself as I don’t really want to admit it ….

I am about to out myself here, but I like to use Mac OS X.

There I said it. But please don’t hold it against me!

I also like to use CICS Explorer, so that means I have a dilemma… Because, officially, the supported CICS Explorer platforms are:

  • Microsoft Windows Vista
  • Microsoft Windows XP (32-bit)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003 and 2008 (32-bit)
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux V5 (Intel®) (32-bit)

Mac OS X is missing from that list!

If you are prepared to run with an unsupported environment for CICS Explorer, it is possible to get CICS Explorer running on Mac OS X. That is the aim of this post.

First you need to download an Eclipse 3.4.2 (AKA Ganymede SR2) distribution from the Eclipse site here. Do NOT download the later 3.5 code. I picked the Mac Carbon 32bit Eclipse IDE for Java Developers as my Eclipse installation.

After Downloading this tar file, using Finder I extracted the downloaded file ‘eclipse-java-ganymede-SR2-macosx-carbon.tar’ by double clicking on it. This left me with an ‘eclipse’ folder in Finder.

Open the ‘eclipse’ folder and launch the Eclipse application:


Click Open to run the internet downloaded application. You will then be prompted for your workplace:


Click OK to use the default, and in a few moments (The first Eclipse startup is a little longer than normal) the Eclipse ‘Welcome’ page will appear:


Now before we carry on with Eclipse, we need one more part – The CICS Explorer SDK. Don’t worry, you don’t need to do any compiling, and you don’t need to be planning on developing a CICS Explorer based app, for now we are just going to get a running client. So back on your web browser go the the CICS Explorer Downloads page.

Now depending on whether you are a CICS TS V3 or CICS TS V4 licensee pick the appropriate link.

Once you have signed on and agreed to the T&C’s you should get to a download screen. The file you want to download is the SDK, for example:


You will probably get an applet warning if you’ve decided to download with the IBM Download Directory. Either follow the dialog, or you can download using http if you prefer.

In any case what you should be left with is a zip file called something like cicstsv41_explorer_sdk_v1002.zip. What is really really important is that you do NOT unzip this file.

If you used an http download (rather than download director) your web browser may have unzipped the file for you. If this is the case, look in your trash and drag the zip file back into your download directory. You can delete the unzipped version.

Now we have the CICS Explorer SDK handy, it is time to go back to Eclipse. Click Help on the Menu bar and select the ‘Software Updates…’ menu item e.g.:’


The ‘Software Updates and Add-ons’ window will open:


Select the ‘Available Software’ button:


We now need to reference the zip file we downloaded. To do this we need to add a ‘site’, so click the ‘Add Site…’ button:


The type of site we want to add is an archive – we have a zip file after all – so click the ‘Archive….’ button. A file open dialog box will open, so navigate to the SDK .zip file we just downloaded:


That little bit of navigation should have filled in the ‘Location:’ box:


Now click ‘OK’ to add the new site.

You should now find that the ‘site’ you just added is in the ‘Available Software’ and it should have expanded out a list of items under ‘Uncategorised’ (sic – sorry I am sitting in England as I write this, so it’s getting spelt the ‘proper’ way 😉 ). Select the check box next to the ‘jar:file’ entry for the sdk .zip and all the subcomponents should be auto-magically selected:


Now click on the ‘Install…’ button. A dialog box should pop up showing progress of a dependancy check, but when that is done, you’ll get a confirmation window:


Click ‘Finish’ to process the install. A status dialog will be displayed:


When it is done, you will get an Eclipse restart prompt:


Click ‘Yes’ to allow the restart and Eclipse will restart itself. You’ll get the workplace confirmation dialog again, just click ‘OK’ and when it’s finished you’ll get the Overview window:


Click the curved arrow icon (see above screenshot for location) to go the workbench. Being a devout Assembler / COBOL programmer, I get nervous being in a Java IDE, so get to a ‘normal’ CICS Explorer view, we need to switch perspectives. From the menu, pick Window->Open Perspective->Other …


A perspective picker window will open:


Select ‘CICS SM’ and click OK. The CICS SM perspective will now be displayed:


Now all you have to do is create a connection and you are on your way …. Select Eclipse->Preferences from the menu:


Now select ‘Connections’ from the left had side of the window, and you can now create the connection for CICS Explorer to use:


If you were just installing the CICS Explorer SDK into an Eclipse installation on another platforms, the steps listed here would pretty much be exactly the same as this.

Granted, it is a bit more involved that unzipping a file, but for me the little bit of hassle was worth it so I can keep using my preferred platform. However all of this does show one of the benefits of a tool like CICS Explorer being build using Java and Eclipse technology.

Just a reminder, that although it all seems to work (at least for me), Mac OS X is not an officially IBM supported platform for CICS Explorer. If it works for you great, if it doesn’t let us know over on the developerworks forum. Please do not contact normal IBM support with problems running in an unsupported platform like this. If you do you may be asked to demonstrate the problem in a supported environment…

Categories: CICS Explorer Tags: ,
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  1. October 24, 2009 at 9:07 pm
  2. March 1, 2012 at 3:01 pm

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