Part 8: Passive Aggression

As threatened, today we’ll look a little more closely at packaging XD images, an activity that not many of you have had to face.

You need to get into XD, or cross-development, if you want to create headless images that will run on your development operating system or even other operating systems, which can be handy if you’re developing something that’s going to run on MVS. It’s also handy for creating images to be deployed as Windows services.  Your friend in all of this is the “Server Guide” in your Instantiations documentation.

There’s a few things that have to be done to package an XD image. First, you have to load the Server Workbench. Next, you need to load your packaging rules class, or, if it’s the first time your packaging, you need to create an application to hold it. None of your actual application code should be loaded yet, and depending on the target environment, probably can’t be.

You now have to create what Instantiations refers to as a “passive” image. This is an image within an image where you specify the target environment, features to be installed, subsystems to be defined, and any specific locale information. The newly-created passive image will have its own environment separate from your normal development environment, remembering its own open browsers, etc., but you can’t actually execute any code there, with one important exception. You’ll then need to load your application code into that environment using the tools of the passive image. You should not load your packaging rules class into the passive image.

The only code you can apparently execute in the passive environment is the packager. You open the “Browse Packaged Images” dialog from the transcript of the passive image and go through the packaging steps just like normal. However, it’s deceptive, because the packager isn’t actually running in the XD image – it’s running in the development image, and you’ll have to switch back to that environment if you need to version and release changes to the packaging rules.

This environmental schizophrenia is only part of what makes scripting the packaging of XD images a challenge, but we’ll see how it all comes together shortly.

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