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z/OS Report Distribution using RSS Web Feeds

  • JES2RSS is mainframe software for publishing z/OS report content via an RSS web feed.

  • JES2RSS takes reports directly from the JES queue or designated datasets, transforms them into web friendly formats (i.e., PDF, HTML) and publishes them to a web server so any RSS reader can retrieve the published contents.

  • JES2RSS transcends traditional email and FTP report distribution by providing a standard mechanism to publish report content and provide automatic notification of new items.

  • JES2RSS combines the powerful JES2FTP technology with RSS 2.0 extensions for web feed publication.
Report Flow with JES2RSS

What is RSS?

Really Simple Syndication, or RSS, is a family of standardized web feed formats that is used to publish frequently updated content.  RSS has become one of the most widespread web technologies used to support content publication and RSS 2.0 is one of the most widely used and supported web feed standards.  

RSS or web feed document is an XML file containing a list of items and links to content in the feed. When a web publisher (like JES2RSS) has something new to publish, it first creates and stores the main content file. It then creates or updates the XML web feed file on an RSS server with links to the new main content file. A user subscribes to an RSS web feed using RSS reader software to manage access to the newly published content.

What is an RSS Reader?

An RSS reader is web-based or client-based software that is used to initiate the RSS web feed subscription process. It periodically checks the web feed file for new items, downloads any updates it finds, and provides a user interface to monitor and read the feeds. Most users already have an RSS reader, since Microsoft Outlook, several Apple apps, and most browsers have either built-in or plug-in supports for RSS feeds.

What is an RSS Server?

Any web server that can deliver web content can be an RSS server, since an RSS feed file is an XML document. The access is standard HTTP and the RSS reader will retrieve an XML file from the designated HTTP server just like any other file.

RSS and Mainframe Report Publication

RSS is well suited for business report publication. As mainframe applications generate reports, they are automatically stored on servers and then published for users to retrieve. A particular report might be published in multiple web feeds depending on the nature of the information or the business application.   Since RSS publication of mainframe reports using JES2RSS does not require any proprietary client side software, web feed publication of mainframe report content can be immediately deployed without any mainframe TSO or CICS access requirement.

RSS vs. Email Distribution

Email is better suited for distributing reports when the recipient needs a personal copy and wants notification of newly published reports. Email distribution depends on reliable delivery of content to a user's in-box, must be sent multiple times if intended for multiple people, and typically only sends new content.  With RSS, new items are already filed into corresponding folders and only those items/reports subscribed to are downloaded. Users subscribe or unsubscribe to reports on their own, thereby eliminating the need for mailing list management. RSS publication automatically keeps and makes available a designated number or date range of reports.

RSS vs. FTP Distribution

With standard FTP distribution, the report is stored on an FTP server. While good for archiving reports or making a report available to a large number of users, users need to periodically check the server for new content. The JES2RSS created web feed file is automatically updated as new content is generated and keeps track of this new content for the subscriber.  

What Next?

Check out out sample RSS feeds: here.


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