This year at SHARE Pittsburgh (Aug. 4-9), the CICS Project will celebrate the 50th anniversary of its namesake. This anniversary is just one milestone in the long history of the CICS, including its use at the Montreal Olympics in 1976, the addition of web support in 1999, and the introduction of continuous delivery in 2015.
As IBM Director for CICS Development Steve Wallin said in a January SHARE’d Intelligence blog post, “Over the last 50 years, CICS has demonstrated the ability to evolve and integrate the latest application languages and frameworks, while continuing to support, enhance, and extend customer investment in existing applications.” CICS has the unique ability to cope with mixed languages on mainframes. It also provides a bridge or control between application logic and the mainframe infrastructure, including communications and the data repository.
Once it was clear that CICS was becoming integral to businesses worldwide, SHARE established the CICS Project in 1974. Members have included customers in the entertainment, banking, insurance, education, healthcare, and other industries. Schneck says, “The CICS Project has consistently stood out in terms of attendance and evaluation results [at SHARE events]. We strive to have a well-balanced agenda, IBM/user presentations, and provide the audience with in-depth technical sessions and glimpses of the future.” Members have included customers in the entertainment, banking, insurance, education, healthcare, and other industries. The CICS Project works with the IBM Hursley lab (where development occurs) in England to effectively influence the direction of CICS. Schneck adds, “IBM Hursley, Dallas System Center, and Level 2 support in Raleigh have always been great partners of the project.”
Schneck praises the work of the CICS Project, particularly the technical education he’s received since he started working on the project in 1987. He adds that the relationships he’s gained through volunteering have been an invaluable addition to his career. Garrod echoes his sentiments. “CICS is a community and SHARE is the embodiment of a community; a great place to share ideas and techniques. It provides professionals a chance to meet and talk to the CICS technical specialists that shaped the product and introduced new ideas,” he explains. Garrod, who doesn’t come from a technical background, recalls, “People were prepared to give me a chance [at SHARE events] to find out the answers they were looking for. The phrase ‘I work just down the corridor from someone who will know, give me your email address and I'll get back to you’ was well used.”
Garrod adds that the 50th anniversary celebrations for CICS in the United Kingdom included a museum tour, cake, a treasure hunt, a boat excursion, fireworks, and sessions about CICS and how it has shaped careers and influenced the industry. SHARE has planned its own CICS celebration in Pittsburgh this August. Attendees are encouraged to stop by for cake to celebrate the 50th anniversary and join in a rousing Jeopardy-like game devised by Hursley. Additionally, there will be at least two retrospective sessions regarding CICS technical history at the event, and multiple opportunities to win prizes throughout the week.
Join us at SHARE Pittsburgh (Aug. 4-9) for the CICS 50th anniversary celebration, along with 500+ other technical sessions and hands-on labs to choose from throughout the week. Learn more and register here.
For more information on the history of CICS, read this SHARE’d Intelligence article from Nick Garrod and Glenn Schneck: “CICS Celebrates Its Golden Anniversary in 2019.”