Eclipse-based integration platform for z/OS tools

IBM Explorer Aqua for z/OS (z/OS Explorer Aqua) is an Eclipse-based integration platform for z/OS users. Built using a continuous integration and delivery pipeline, z/OS Explorer offers an extensible and compatible suite of tools and capabilities to enhance z/OS DevOps tools user experience.

z/OS Explorer delivers extensible workstation connectivity to key z/OS functions with:

IBM repository of compatible products

z/OS Explorer Aqua enables integration with popular z/OS tools offerings such as IBM Application Delivery Foundation for z System, IBM CICS Explorer, and IBM CICS tools, via an IBM Installation Manager’s composite repository or an Eclipse p2 composite Update Site. z/OS Explorer can provide a single Eclipse environment with the ability to administer an IBM CICS TS environment in conjunction with development and problem analysis tools. For more compatible products, see Mainframe Development .

Application Development

IBM Developer for z Systems, an integrated, multiplatform development environment with modern, simple-to-use application development solutions for the enterprise and Rational team Concert which provides collaborative development and change management capabilities, can be accessed along with plug-ins for CICS, problem determination, and data management tools.

Connectivity to z/OS

z/OS Explorer connects to z/OS through a number of connectivity protocols. Direct connectivity is available through File Transfer Protocol (FTP) and z/OSMF V1.13 or higher. This provides a set of capabilities to view and manipulate data sets and UNIX file and folders, submit jobs and view their spool output. A richer set of functions to work with data sets, UNIX files and jobs is available by installing a host component known as Remote System Explorer. Customers doing enterprise deployment should use the Remote System Explorer.

Remote System Explorer (RSE)

The default perspective shows content provided by the Remote System Explorer which communicates with the host component using a user ID and password, or a client-side SSL certificate. z/OS Explorer allows expansion into the UNIX file system, data sets, jobs and TSO.

Push-to-client technology

To improve the experience of maintaining IBM Eclipse-based offerings built on z/OS Explorer, the push-to-client technology enables a system administrator to set up a policy to enable all connecting workbenches to be updated upon connection to the server. This simplifies the task of deploying maintenance of plug-ins. The centrally managed policy ensures all users are using the right level of plug-ins based on the policy and frequency of updates required.

Smart JCL editor

Smart JCL editor offers syntax highlighting and checking as well as auto-completion support working with Job Control Language.

TSO command console

The TSO command console enables users to issue TSO commands. It can be launched through RSE to accept TSO command input and show the results.


z/OS Explorer is available for use by all customers with a license for a supported version of z/OS. Third-party software vendors and customers can integrate their plug-ins with z/OS Explorer with no IBM product dependency, other than z/OS.

z/OS Explorer resources

Tab navigation


z/OS Explorer Version 3.0.1 provides the following new and enhanced features:

  • Show a submitted job in the Remote Systems view or the Remote System Details view.
  • Display the oldest spool entries first (the default) or the newest spool entries first.
  • Refresh JES Spool.
  • Rename the filter on the Filter Strings property page.
  • Compare JCLs of the submitted jobs.
  • Combine JCL Locate and Notify.
  • Enable autosave feature for JCL editor.
  • Set the file translation table in the FTP connection dialog.
  • Support JCL languages features that are introduced in z/OS V2R1 and V2R2.
  • Access data set aliases that contain symbolic names.
  • Prevent high CPU consumption when using large MVS-Files filters.
  • Support FIPS 140-2 for encrypted communication.
  • Enables Value Unit (VU) client licensing for licensed products that are installed with z/OS Explorer.

For more information about the new features, see What's new in Version 3.0.1.

z/OS Explorer V3.0.1 Aqua Release Announced

z/OS Explorer V3.0.1 is announced with ADFz V3.0. For more information about what’s new, see Application Delivery Foundation for z Systems V3.0 announcement letter

Planned availability date: September 9, 2016


z/OS Explorer Version 3.0.0 provides the following new and enhanced features:

  • Provides z/OS application developers and system programmers with an improved strategic integration platform for IBM Eclipse-based offerings.
  • Was built and tested using IBM continuous build and test infrastructure to help ensure IBM offerings are fully compatible and able to coexist in the same environment.
  • Simplifies the task of applying maintenance to all Eclipse clients by incorporating push-to-client technology. This technology enables a system administrator to distribute updates through a policy that is imposed by the server.
  • Provides the strategic Eclipse platform for connectivity to key z/OS functions required by all z/OS application developers and system programmers. z/OS Explorer delivers significant enhancements for navigation to z/OS data sets, zFS files, and JES jobs and output.
  • Includes smart editors for JCL files.
  • Includes a TSO command console that enables users to issue TSO commands directly.

z/OS Explorer V3.0.0 Aqua Release Announced

With a planned availability of Dec 11, 2015, the new IBM Explorer for z/OS V3.0 Aqua release offers an improved integration platform for IBM Eclipse-based tools for z/OS.

See announcement letter below for more information about what's new & noteworthy in this upcoming release.


Support is provided for Apple OS X Yosemite, version 10.10, or later. This formalizes the unofficial support for Apple Mac computers available in prior releases.


IBM Explorer for z/OS now supports mixed case user IDs for those systems that support them. When you create new user credentials, z/OS Explorer no longer converts the user ID into upper case. Case conversion is managed by the host system. Existing connections will continue to work with mixed case user IDs.

The repository has been updated to include the latest releases of WebSphere MQ Explorer, IBM Data Studio, Rational Team Concert, and a 90 day trial version of Rational Developer for System z.


z/OS Explorer, previously an integral part of CICS Explorer, is now available as a separate component. It delivers unified, extensible, workstation connectivity to key IBM z/OS functionality by providing simple and secure access to z/OS datasets, zFS files, and JES jobs, and output from within an Eclipse-based Rich Client Platform (RCP). For more details on the z/OS Explorer, refer to Software Announcement 213-141, dated April 23, 2013. z/OS Explorer is preloaded with the address of a new common repository of compatible IBM plug-ins for Eclipse.

The repository includes plug-ins for z/OS Explorer, CICS Explorer, CICS Tools, Problem Determination Tools, plus products from IBM’s Rational and Information Management brands. z/OS Explorer is available at Mainframe Dev Downloads.

Download z/OS Explorer from Mainframe Dev Downloads.

Always up-to-date system requirement reports can be dynamically generated using the Software Product Compatibility Reports (SPCR) tool.

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