Happy Birthday, CICS!

by | Apr 9, 2019

In 1969, I remember getting my first pair of glasses as a third grader. I also vividly remember thinking that I could not imagine being an adult or how much the world would change in the next 50 years. I was young and I had my whole life ahead of me. Now 50 years later, it feels like those years flew by in a flash.

In 1969, something even more significant than my first pair of glasses happened: CICS was released to the world. IBM had started the development of CICS in 1966 in Des Plaines, Illinois, in order to address requirements for the Public Utilities Sector. In 1968, CICS was released to the world as, not surprisingly, PU-CICS. Soon it became evident that the system was applicable to other industries, so they dropped the Public utility prefix and the first release of CICS occurred in 1969. Development moved to Palo Alto and if it wasn’t for customer pressure to keep it alive, it may have succumbed to its counterpart IMS, which IBM considered more valuable. In 1974, CICS almost had a similar fate when IBM decided to end CICS development to concentrate on IMS. Again, the customers spoke and development was moved to the Hursley Labs in England which had just finished the PL/1 compiler.

CICS Fun Facts:

  • CICS originally only supported a few devices, like a 2741 Selectric “golf ball” type terminal; video terminals were used later.
  • Computer software was free with hardware OS/360 and CICS was open to customers.
  • Companies like Amoco made major contributions to CICS.
  • CICS owes its early popularity to its relatively efficient implementation at a time when hardware was very expensive, its multi-threaded processing architecture, its relative simplicity for developing terminal-based real-time transaction applications, and many open-source customer contributions, including both debugging and feature enhancement.1
  • In the late 1980s, CICS popularity grew with the introduction of the “z” notation.
  • In 2001, IBM introduced an HTTP server to CICS.

As CICS has continued to prosper, many new features and functions have been added. In December of 2018, IBM released version 5.5 of CICS/TS for z/OS. I think it is safe to say that CICS is here to stay.

Happy Birthday, CICS! You don’t look a day over 29.

1Wikepedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CICS

Additional Sources Used:

Customer Information Control System (CICS) General Information Manual (PDF). White Plains, New York: IBM. December 1972. GH20-1028-3.

King, Steve (1993). “The Use of Z in the Restructure of IBM CICS”. In Hayes, Ian. Specification Case Studies (2nd ed.). New York: Prentice Hall. pp. 202–213. ISBN 978-0-13-832544-2.

Warner, Edward (1987-02-23). “IBM Gives PC Programs Direct Mainframe Access: PC Applications Can Alter Files”. InfoWorld.

IBM (September 13, 2010). “CICS Transaction Server glossary”. CICS Transaction Server for z/OS V3.2. IBM Information Center, Boulder, Colorado