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Step Aside Experts: Copybooks are Now for Everyone

By Anon Anon posted Aug 08, 2015 12:38 AM


Many legacy systems use fixed format messages to integrate. As such, they require a COBOL Copybook to define the format and layout of their messages. The transactions, plus the Copybook allow legacy systems to talk to one another.  In contrast, more modern systems use "self-describing" XML to communicate not requiring a separate file to describe format, etc. [In other words Copybook=bad and confusing, XML=good and not confusing]

Users of CA Service Virtualization that are looking to record and deploy/consume a virtual service using messaging protocols such as JMS or MQ or between CICS regions in a Mainframe may often need a [Gasp!] COBOL Copybook to decipher the structure and format of the messages. Most people don't even know what a Copybook is, let alone how to use one.

Be honest, the term "COBOL Copybook" makes you want to run and hide, right? Somehow you made it all this way... bear with me 1 more paragraph:


We've found when working with many customers over the years, Copybooks are quite an elusive being [duh]. They go missing [you would too if you were written in COBOL]. When they're found, they're often not updated and their owners are never around to help out. [See, they ran away too!] This has caused some hefty delays in projects where time is not on our side.  So, the DevTest team decided to attack this challenge in two ways:

  1. Find a way to read transactions when we don't have the pesky Copybook. This issue was resolved in SV 8.0 with the introduction of Opaque Data Processing [also known as, "Magic"]
  2. Find a way to read, edit, parse and map Copybooks that do exist without making someones head hurt and subsequently make them want to run away screaming.


To resolve the 2nd conundrum, CA Service Virtualization 8.3 introduced a new user interface for Copybook editing, parsing and mapping to create the proper copybook bundle for use in virtual service recording and playback. This new user interface removes the need to manually create an XML mapping file and allows CASV to read the Copybook correctly and apply it to the payload being captured in a recording with a few clicks. [Don't worry. That's with a mouse, not a punch card.]

In this video, RudyDambis, shares with us how to use the new Copybook user interface to easily see/read/edit/parse your copybooks and subsequently create your mapping files.  This function no longer requires an expert, we swear. Check out the demo below...

Some of the key features demonstrated include:

  - Direct importing and navigating of copybooks, mapping files and bundles of the copybooks + mapping files in the DevTest Portal.

  - Ability to "parse" Copybooks to error check prior to use. This includes smart error messages + quick ability to fix the copybook error within our user interface.

  - Automatic error checking of mapping file entries with the ability to view the code directly for editing as necessary

  - Ability to create new "Copybook Bundles" which include the copybook + the mapping files


You can use this new functionality in CA Service Virtualization 8.3 due out in early August 2015. Let us know what you think. RudyDambis, larst06 and I are depending on YOU!