The Change of Address application IBM-CICS

The application we shall develop to demonstrate the use of CICS Web services is quite simple, yet has a number of features that makes it ideally suited as a CICS Web service application. This application introduces the idea of a centralized repository of names and addresses, to be kept, ideally by a nation’s postal service. It keeps no personal data other than names and addresses. Thepurpose of this application is to notify subscribers when a person or business changes address. Subscribers would be banks, utility companies, government agencies and so on, that is, anyone who needs to know. Subscription control is left with the postal service. Address change notifications are driven by the person changing address, the relocatee, either by personally notifying the postal service or possibly via a Web interface, which is not included as part of this project. Of course adequate identification and proof of address are required.

The sample application safely assumes all subscriber organizations maintain a database of their clients. We provide a Web service called GetHash that returns a hash value for a given address. The organization should add a column to their customer database table to include the hash value. The generated hash value depends on a standard format of address. We provide a Web service called StandardAddress that takes an address and returns the address in a standard format. This allows for correct comparison of address hash-values.

When an address is updated in the postal service system a notification is generated and distributed via the publication/subscription function of WebSphere Message Broker. Only those corporations subscribing to the service will receive such notifications via their WMQ clients. These notifications are very small, just a hash of the old address for the relocatee. The corporation must check to see if they have a match for this hash code in their client database. If they do, they invoke a CICS Web service called RetrieveAddress that effectively asks if the address change was for their client. The CICS Web services will either reply yes and also provide the new address or no. It is then up to the corporation to update their database. The CICS RetrieveAddress Web service will cut an audit record to indicate that a particular corporation requested the new address and presumably updated their database.

This last point is important for privacy legislation reasons in many countries. The postal service may have to produce a report listing those organizations to which it has provided this information. We created a Web service called CorpAck that allows the listing of corporations that acknowledged the change of address. This is also important to the relocatee, as they otherwise have no visibility of who has or has not been notified.

We chose to implement this system in CICS because the address database is potentially a very large database or possibly even a VSAM file. There is also a possibility that many postal services may already have databases with this information. We need high performance from our CICS Web services to make the facility attractive to use. On any given day potentially hundreds or even thousands of relocations may be recorded.

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