Mainframe Integration Myth #4

by | Nov 10, 2021

Last week, we addressed the complexities of a microservices paradigm in mainframe integration. Now we’re moving on to one of the most common integration approaches.

#4 – You can integrate with almost any mainframe applications via 3270 screen scraping

There are certain scenarios where 3270 screen scraping may be an option to “open up” the mainframe and achieve integrations. It is certainly possible to use these green screen applications and replicate the user interface – in fact, it is one of the earliest forms of opening up the mainframe. But screen scraping should be a last resort approach for integration.

Why? This method is slow, inefficient, and resource intensive. It typically is best suited only for situations where the presentation later is the only access point to the application, because heavily conversational applications require returning to the user location for each interaction. Complex screen elements and flows, like pop-ups, branches, and color attributes also give screen scraping approaches a heightened level of difficulty.

While screen scraping is an option, it is not the only or best option to achieve integration. For instance, if you open a web page, 3270 screen scraping goes into the HTML. Using more modern integration platforms, application integration is achieved using the underlying the BMS maps, as well as the underlying transactional systems (CICS, IMS, etc.). This is a great deal more efficient and scalable, and it delivers information more quickly to customers, partners, vendors, and other parties. Not to mention, traditional screen scraping can be priced by session – making it an inefficient and costly solution.