When the cycle time for initial integration development efforts proved too slow, the company transitioned most of its efforts to a lighter, more agile RESTful approach. The company chose HB.js because of the flexibility of its RESTful, object-oriented approach. Using HB.js, developers were able to create a service from any application function or CICS screen. Developers also gained the ability to orchestrate and aggregate host transactions into a single, web service or new, composite application.
HB.js allows developers to use familiar tools and platforms for development and deployment. At this company, programmers are creating services using Eclipse as a development environment and CA Endevor® for deployment processes. The services created through HB.js are language-agnostic, callable from COBOL, Java, C#, Python, PHP, or any other programming language.
The company has so far completed several APIs, services, and microservices with HB.js, improving integration with partner systems, developing streamlined internal tools for employees, and extending mainframe business logic to distributed platforms to achieve new business objectives. Two examples are provided here.
- RESTful Integration of a Third-Party Tool with DB2 Databases. The company uses a third-party formulary management tool to manage drugs covered under benefit plans. Entering data into this tool and into in-house databases required separate data entry processes. In just three weeks, the company developed a simple integration of this tool with its claims processing databases to eliminate duplication of effort and improve productivity and efficiency.
- Streamlining membership card reissues. In the past, when the provider’s members needed membership cards reissued, a lengthy, labor-intensive and error-prone process was initiated. Call center personnel took requests and entered them into an Excel spreadsheet. Another team used the spreadsheet with an ad-hoc batch process to update a single database parameter with a value indicating the need to reissue cards. Developers created a simple HTML front end and used HB.js to develop services that enable employees to complete the process in a single step.
With HB.js, the solutions provider now develops APIs and web services – and completes integration projects – far faster and more easily than with any other method, including Java-based SOAP development. The provider’s services strategy has also evolved as development cycles have grown shorter, deployment/migration simpler, and time to market faster. The specific benefits of the HB.js approach this solutions provider now takes include:
- Interoperability and process improvement: services-based integration implementations deliver improved process efficiency, greater productivity, lower operating costs, and new opportunities for business growth.
- Agility: lightweight, reusable HB.js services and microservices make the provider more agile from both the technology and business perspectives.
- Continuous delivery: changes to the backend application have no impact on high-order business services.
The solutions provider continues to expand its use of HB.js, and a clear sign of the success of the RESTful approach with HB.js is the rapid growth in the use of web services: from 2014 to 2016, the number of web services processed per year increased by more than 90 percent and now exceeds 1 billion.