Generate Database APIs Faster to Leverage Your Data and Drive Results

April 22, 2024

Data is a business’ most valuable asset and mainframe databases house this data–fueling mission-critical systems. Organizations must have the ability to leverage their existing investments, which includes skills, to build and maintain new and existing mission-critical applications to compete and succeed in their respective industries. They need to digitize both internal and external customer interactions in a more modern way.

Organizations leveraging the mainframe to run their business continue to build new applications to meet ongoing business demands. Some organizations might be in a “status quo” or “business as usual” mode, with no new application growth. However, even if no net-new development efforts are part of your mainframe strategy, you still need to maintain existing applications.

Opening up and making mainframe databases more extensible by using APIs and services is key to simplifying and automating everyday user experiences. APIs provide modern, scalable access to z/OS services, tools, and data.

Most APIs today are based on the principles of REST, which uses HTTP protocols to invoke the API, and JSON documents to represent the data exchanged with the service. These requests are text-based, allowing easy interchange between different platforms.

Introducing the Database API Generator

The Database API Generator simplifies the development of new web-based applications by providing direct access to existing mainframe data. It automates the creation of Representational State Transfer (REST) APIs that access business data. Developers can easily create APIs that can be called from the web applications, providing easy access to database resources using modern, standard techniques.

There are two types of APIs:

  1. Business APIs are for business applications and data, which is the focus of this blog. The Database API Generator can create these APIs for you. See the Database API Generator whitepaper.
  2. System APIs focus on systems management, performance, and infrastructure. For information on systems APIs, see the IDMS Systems API whitepaper and Datacom Systems API whitepaper.

Next-generation developers tend to be familiar with modern tools, such as Microsoft Visual Studio CodeTM (VS Code) to develop RESTful APIs and browser-based applications, in languages such as Java or JavaScript. Often, these developers have very limited knowledge about the mainframe. By providing tools that help developers use their existing skills, organizations can better leverage the mainframe to run their businesses and utilize existing business assets more quickly and effectively.

Embrace Open and Deliver at the Speed of Business

You might already be using it, but if not, check out Zowe, an open-source framework for mainframe that enables you to securely develop and manage applications with an experience that is similar to distributed and cloud environments. The framework and capabilities accelerate mainframe application development via modern DevOps tooling while introducing new levels of automation and infrastructure and systems management. By arming new and emerging mainframers with these valuable skills, Zowe helps sustain the mainframe environment by attracting and retaining next-generation talent. 

Modern tooling is the name of the game and a key component of simplifying and automating the user experience. In this case, the Database API Generator leverages Visual Studio Code, which is a source-code editor made by Microsoft. Features include support for debugging, syntax highlighting, intelligent code completion, snippets, code refactoring, and integration with Git.

By automating the creation of REST APIs that access data, developers can easily create web applications to discover and consume the data using modern, standard techniques. 

Get Started Today

Broadcom is here to support you on your modernization journey. Whether it’s using the Database API Generator or any of the database “Embrace Open” product offerings, we can get you kick-started on your projects. Here are some resources to get started: