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ASF Replacement                                                                                   


icon has long had the capability to replace IBM's ASF (and DCF) with a binary compatible next generation solution - evidenced by many successful client migrations. IBM have now announced a global partnership that packages icon's DOPiX as part of an IBM solution offering. A summary of the November 2014 announcement follows: 


icon DOPiX/ARK V4.0 provides next-generation capability for document creation, formatting, and processing, and leverages the investment made in applications that use IBM Application Support Facility for z/OS and IBM Document Composition Facility.

DOPiX is a family of products that can be used to create and format many types of documents that include business letters, invoices, insurance policies, quotations and contracts. DOPiX is application-independent and platform-independent. It can be called by any business application through defined interfaces and communication protocols. DOPiX/ARK is a z/OS-based solution that is specifically designed with current Application Support Facility customers in mind.

At a glance

icon DOPiX/ARK V4.0 delivers next-generation capability for document creation, formatting and processing. Version 4.0 provides:

• Interactive, process-integrated, or automated document creation and formatting

• Several output channels

• Easy integration into existing environments

• One system for all types of business correspondence

• Cost savings through postage optimization and batch printing

• Increased productivity through a flexible and sophisticated editor

Customers who currently use Application Support Facility for z/OS® should consider icon DOPiX/ARK.

The DOPiX ARK (ASF Replacement Kit)

The DOPiX ARK replaces the batch and online document creation and output functions of IBM's software 'Application Support Facility for z/OS' (program number 5655-002), a.k.a. “ASF”. The DOPiX ARK also completely replaces the ASF template development, but allows the customer to retain their investments in the ASF databases. The ARK Package is an immediate modernization tool for ASF installations. It will provide not only a future proofed, robust, binary compatible platform, but enable much more state-of-art features and functionality with a full DOPiX CCM implementation.

This evolutionary pathway allows IT personnel to inform the organization's many stakeholders of the possibilities and position the availability of a stream of increasing document and content capabilities at the organisations use within a planned natural pace of adoption.

For existing ASF users, there is no need to replace ASF databases (ASF, GIL, SLL/CLL, UPL) because these can be used directly by DOPiX ARK. The DOPiX server components run on z/OS. This configuration allows optimum performance, as all data is kept on one system close to existing business applications and high volume output environments. The DOPiX/Server connects via the well-known ASF SIB interface to the client's business applications. Thus, no changes to calling programs will be required. DOPiX/ARK also supports all ASF callbacks of user programs, such as PDP, PVP and DCP, using the SIB interface. Therefore no modification of these programs is required.

As DOPiX may operate on the ASF databases, a 'big bang' migration is not necessary. If needed, templates and content can be modernized step by step according to the business needs and business applications.

The administration of document templates by DOPiX/Admin is done using a fat client written in Java and running on Windows and Linux. The ASF administration and document maintenance teams can utilize their existing knowledge as it is a similar methodology, but implemented in a state-of-the-art tool.

The DOPiX/Dialog thin client is an easy-to-use GUI. Users can use the keyboard and/or mouse to efficiently create online documents with syntax highlighting and spell checking to ensure technically and textually correct documents. An immediate online WYSIWYG preview of the output document is available for all users, thus minimizing the practice of proof printing.

DOPiX ARK also contains the DOPiX/Compose rendering engine, that replaces IBM's Document Composition Facility (program number 5748-XX9, further called “DCF”). DOPiX/Compose is a highly IBM DCF compatible formatter and at the same time delivers a much broader functionality. Direct generation of data streams like AFP, PDF, PDF/A, PCL, PostScript, and all common image formats is supported out of the box.


ASF compatibility considerations

Whilst there is the highest level of compatibility, with the leap in functionality delivered this new capability means that not all components need to be retained. The following ASF features require review and/or are replaced by DOPiX functions:

• ASF GIL versioning and staging

• ASF WebClient and SIB-W

• ASF paragraph group objects

• ASF User-Exits

• ASF FLL (formatted letter library)

• ASF DXB variables

• Several rarely used ASF function codes

How to migrate

Discussion with your icon account team will enable the optimum plan to be created. Whilst every migration is unique in the details, the following steps are commonly performed:

• Prepare

o          Send your ASF system documentation to icon

o          Kick-off workshop with icon

o          Define customer specific mapping between Host and Client user id

• Install new DB2 databases

o          DOPiX/Client Manager database

o          DOPiX UPL

• Install DOPiX ARK java components

o          DOPiX/Server

o          DOPiX/Rendering Engine

o          DOPiX/Client Manager

• Install DOPiX/Host

• Install client components

o          DOPiX/Dialog thin client

o          DOPiX/Admin

• Install DOPiX objects

o          DOPiX GIL resources

o          Load AFP resources in GIL for DOPiX/Compose access

• Customization

o          DOPiX components by icon

o          Replace the original ASF online transaction calls (prefix FSN) with DOPiX transaction calls.

o          Replace the original ASF batch calls (prefix FSN) with DOPiX calls

o          Replace ASF user exits with DOPiX solutions

• Integration test

• Go into production with all or a part of the ASF applications

Protection of investment

Many tens, hundreds or thousands of person years of work are invested in your existing ASF systems - and this can be retained rather than re-coded! In fact many end users may not even notice that the system has been upgraded until new functionality is released to them.

Your team of ASF technicians can be optimised on the backlog of projects that most support driving the business forward, whilst the creation of new documents and content can now largely be moved into the hands of end user departments. Yet the same level of control and compliance is provided for. As ASF for z/OS was withdrawn from marketing, IBM recommends that existing customers consider DOPiX ARK software and icon recommends that customers consult with their local representatives (or IBM) as soon as possible to take advantage of this opportunity.

Icon representatives:

UK/Ireland:                   www.icon-uk.net

US/Americas:               www.icomdyn.com

Continental Europe:   www.icongmbh.de

Further Information and Options:

For the full IBM EMEA Announcement, download here:       PDF file logo Download here

DOPiX is also available on IBM PURE Systems through a preconfigured DOPiX application with the benefits of a greatly simplified and accelerated test, integration and deployment. IBM Pure Systems Business Partner


For other deployment options, contact icon

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