Published in "The Connection" magazine, Nov/Dec 2018
Green Screen, in 2018, seriously?
It's hard to say what is most surprising. To be sitting in the last throes of 2018, writing an article about green screen applications. Or to have recently found myself deep in the bowels of 3270 and 6530 terminal data streams writing code to automate the testing of them. More accurately, that should really read 'porting code' - since my firm, Ascert, has had a TAL screen handling and testing library since I first joined (and worked on it) back in 1997. Even then, I think most of us assumed it was the last chance saloon for a technology that would soon go the way of the dinosaurs, disco, and flares. But time and the future makes fools of us all I guess. Especially those whose predictions of the death of the mainframe have proved somewhere between premature and wildly inaccurate.
At least the cause of this peculiar turn of events is simple to explain – a customer needed it. Rather less easy to explain is why this wasn't just one isolated customer, but a steady stream of requests from different sources over a period of months. Having barely had a single conversation over testing this style of application for the last 20 years, all of a sudden it was a hotter topic than contactless EMV testing, or Open Banking APIs. Being more of a practitioner than an analyst though, I parked my curiosity as to this resurgent interest and got on with the far more solvable task of understanding what was required and cracking on with delivering it. In so doing, I unwittingly uncovered some pieces that could help explain what was going on...
Click on the image to read the entire article written by Rob Walker