Explorer for ChangeMan ZMF is a VSCode extension that provides the ability to manage and edit ZMF components within a ZMF system.

Components may be browsed from Baseline libraries and checked out to a Package on the mainframe where they may then be retrieved to the local desktop computer, edited and subsequently uploaded back into the package for subsequent ZMF processing. After checking the component back into the package, a build of the component may then be issued.

As many components make use of copybook files, these may optionally be retrieved to allow a more seamless experience when editing the source component locally.

Depending upon the language editor of choice within VSCode, the source code may be COBOL, HLASM, PL/1 plus support for JCL.

Minimum Requirements


Before installing the Explorer for ChangeMan ZMF, the following pre-requisites are required to be installed. 

  1. VSCode version 1..52.1 or later. 
  2. Your language editor of choice, for example IBM Z/Open Editor 
  3. Version 8.2 Patch 5 (with the following hotfixes) or higher release. 
  4. ZMF 
  5. ZMF 
  6. ZMF 
  7. Sernet 
  8. ChangeMan ZMF REST Services version 8.2 Patch 5 build number 114 or higher.


Download the latest ChangeMan ZMF Explorer vsix file named zmf-explorer-n.n.n.vsix (where n.n.n is the version).

Within VSCode, click the 'Extensions' icon then click the ... at the top of the Extension menu and select "Install from VSIX". Select the file that you downloaded above.

You can install future updates of the ChangeMan ZMF extension as they become available in the same manner, you do not need to uninstall a prior version.


After completing the installation of the Explorer for ChangeMan ZMF, edit the Extension settings for the ChangeMan ZMF Explorer within VSCode.

it is recommended that you use the "User" location. Here you should set the defaults that you wish to apply and set up JCL job cards etc. The logging level is set to "Info" by default. You should only change that on request.

Ensure that you enter a valid folder location, This location will be used to place local files downloaded from ZMF until such time as they are either deleted or checked back into a ChangeMan ZMF package on the mainframe. If the folder location does not exist, it will be created when the ZMF Explorer extension is run.

At any time, you may cleanup files within that folder for example, if you copied a component down from a package to your local machine that you then no longer required and do not wish to check back into the ZMF package.

You should also set the defaults that you wish to apply and set up JCL job cards etc. The logging level is set to "Info" by default. You should only change that on request.

Ensure that you have the correct file associations set within VSCode depending upon the language editor you are using. If you are using IBM z/Open Editor for example, this is done in the Settings as "Include File Extensions'.

Using IBM z/Open Editor, you should ensure the following are specified depending on the languages you wish to use. Here is an example.

"files.associations":  {
"*.CBL*": "cobol",
"*.CPY*": "cobol",
"*.PLI*": "pl1",
"*.INC*": "pl1",
"*.ASM*": "hlasm",
"*.HLASM*": "hlasm",
"*.JCL*": "jcl",

Refer to the documentation of the language editor that you are using for further information.

For IBM z/Open Editor, it is also necessary to set 'Property Groups' to specify the local working directory that you previously created above:

In the **zopeneditor.propertygroups** section, insert the following (as an example) - where the syslib specified is the name of your folder created above in glob format. Again, refer to the documentation for that language editor.

"zopeneditor.propertygroups": [
"name": "local-cobol-files",
"type": "local",
"language": "cobol",
"syslib": [
"name": "local-asm-files",
"type": "local",
"language": "hlasm",
"syslib": [

It is also recommended that you change a setting in VSCode so that popup dialogs are more in line with the VSCode theme. To do this, enter VSCode Manage Settings and in the 'Search Settings' option enter 'dialog'. You are presented with Windows Dialog Style probably set to 'Native' by default. Use the drop down list box and change this to 'Custom'. Please refer to the VSCode documentation for further information on this.

User Guide

Create a Profile

Explorer for ChangeMan ZMF uses the same Zowe CLI profiles for the ChangeMan ZMF CLI plug-in interface to access ZMF maintained libraries on the mainframe.

As such, if you already have a ChangeMan ZMF plug-in Zowe CLI profile, this will automatically appear in the Explorer for ChangeMan ZMF tree and may be used to access ChangeMan ZMF maintained libraries. If you do not yet have a profile, the tree will be empty and you should first establish a new profile by clicking the relevant icon and following the prompts.

Allthough you can name the profile to be anything you wish e.g. "myProfileX" itt is recommended that you name the profile the same as the ChangeMan ZMF System that you will be accessing. e.g. "U830ALL". 

  1. Specify the URL as protocol://url:portnumber/basepath . Protocol may be either http or https. URL is the location of the REST api server and its port number. basepath is the URI of the REST server. Your Mainframe Sysprog who installed the REST server can provide this information. 
  2. If you use the HTTPS protocol, and are using self signed certificates, ensure that you set the rejectUnauthorized prompt to "false". Note that the use of rejectUnauthorized is a security exposure but may be acceptable whilst testing.

If the parameters are entered correctly, a new system will appear in the Explorer for ChangeMan ZMF tree. Expanding the "Applications" level should then successfully display a list of applications.

You may then proceed and create a profile for each ZMF system that you wish to access.

Note that you may wish to not enter your userid and/or password in the profile in which case simply press enter on those empty fields. When you later come to access the tree view for that system, you will be prompted to enter your logon credentials which are retained for the duration of the session only.

Hiding a Profile

Having created one or more profiles, you may wish to not have the ZMF system relating to that profile show in the tree. A system may be 'hidden' from view by clicking the relevant icon.

Once a profile is hidden, you may bring it back into view by clicking the 'Create a new Profile" icon and the hidden profile(s) will be presented. Selecting a hidden profile will then reestablish that profile back into the tree.

Deleting a Profile

If you have multiple profiles, you might wish to delete some once you no longer need them. To do so, click on the trash can icon on the same line as the profile name. This will remove the profile. Alternatively, if you use the ChangeMan ZMF CLI plugin, a profile may be deleted using the zowe ZMF command line interface.

Creating and modifying Filters

ChangeMan ZMF systems can comprise of many thousands of components. In order to focus on the items that you wish to work with, you may create a filter for each ChangeMan ZMF system by clicking on the 'Edit Filter' icon against the profile name.

Filter on: 

  1. Application name(s). A valid application filter might be A*, BC*,CDE,FGHI etc. Or clear the filter prompt and press enter for all applications. 
  2. Baseline libraries. A valid Baseline library filter might be CP*,SRC etc. Clear the filter prompt and press enter for all baseline libraries 
  3. Baseline components. Here you may filter on specific components. A wildcard is permitted. 
  4. Package libraries. Like Baseline libraries, you may enter a list of package libraries that you wish to filter on. 
  5. Package components. Here you may filter on specific components. A wildcard is permitted.

Once a filter is created, it will not be automatically activated. A new icon will appear showing the filter status and hovering over the profile name will show the filter criteria. Clicking on the icon will then toggle the filter inactive/active and the tree will be rebuilt based on the filter criteria. It is recommended to contract the tree before toggling the filter status.

Accessing the ChangeMan ZMF tree view

When you click on the ZMF system in the tree view, a list of Applications are displayed. IF you receive an HTTP(S) error at this point, that suggest that the connection to the REST server has not been established., This may be that the ZMF system in question is not available or that the Connection parameters specified in the Profile are incorrect.

If HTTP access works correctly but HTPS does not, then that may likely be a configuration issue of either the profile parameters or AT-TLS itself.

Once a list of Applications is displayed, you can then select an Application which then displays Baselines and Packages. You may expand the tree further by clicking on Baselines/Packages to display their libraries. Clicking a library then displays the components with in that library.

Navigating the Explorer for ChangeMan ZMF tree view
After expanding the tree view and displaying a list of the components, selecting a component (left click) will download that component to the local computer.

Baselines components may only be viewed. Right clicking on components offers more options that can be performed. These options are displayed based on the status of the component and the tree is refreshed as actions are taken that may cause the right click options to be refreshed.

When the VSCode session is terminated, any Baseline components that were previously downloaded for viewing are automatically deleted from the local machine. You should not make local changes to a baseline component for that reason.

Right click on a baseline component will offer options that may be performed on the component. You may opt to checkout the baseline component into a package. If the component is already present in a package, this is made known and gives the option to proceed or not.. Once the component is present in the package, you may then click that component and it will be downloaded to the local computer for editing. At this point, you are given the option to also download any associated copybooks for that component. This is to allow the VSCode Language Editor to resolve any local copy statements and references to any variables that are referenced in the source. These copybooks are themselves not available to be edited.

After editing a component within the package, you may choose to then check that local component back into the package from where it was originally downloaded. Once checked back into the package, the local copy is then deleted along with any copybooks.

Please note that the Explorer for ChangeMan ZMF provides a simple means to checkout an eligible component into a package, edit that package component and then check it back into the package and submit a build job etc..

Note that not all components are presented in the tree view. The components must be in a state whereby they are eligible to be edited. VSCode is an Editor and not an IDE. Full IDE capability is provided in the ChangeMan ZMF Eclipse product.

Support for VSCode File Icon Themes (V1.0.1)

The ZMF Explorer supports File Icon Themes that may be enabled within VSCode. 
ZMF Explorer makes use of 2 icons - the 'Folder' icon and a 'File' icon. However the default VSCode File Icon theme "Seti' does not provide an icon for a Folder, so no folder icon will be displayed if using the 'Seti' File Icon Theme. You can check which File Icon theme is in use by clicking 'View' 'Command Palette' and searching on 'File Icon'. Switching for example to the 'Minimal' icon theme will then display icons in the ZMF tree view.  However, a recommended File Icon Theme that you may wish to install as an Extension is the 'Material Icon Theme'.  You can install this from the Extension menu. That theme provides customization options to allow you to set your preferred icon colors.


Support for the Explorer for ChangeMan ZMF is available on the Micro Focus Community page for ChangeMan ZMF.
Please do not go through the normal Support channels for this component.

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Explorer for ChangeMan ZMF 1.0.1
646.2 KB
Sep 24, 2021
More info Less info
Product compatibility
Version 8.2.5
Release notes

This release provides support for VSCode File Icon Themes

The ZMF Explorer supports File Icon Themes that may be enabled within VSCode. ZMF Explorer makes use of 2 icons - the 'Folder' icon and a 'File' icon.
However the default VSCode File Icon theme "Seti' does not provide an icon for a Folder. so no folder icon will be displayed if using that File Icon Theme.
You can check which File Icon theme is in use by clicking 'View' 'Command Palette' and searching on 'File Icon'. Switching for example to the 'Minimal' icon theme will then display icons in the ZMF tree view. 
However, a recommended File Icon Theme that you may wish to install as an Extension is the 'Material Icon Theme'. 
You can install this from the Extension menu. That theme provides customization options to allow you to set your preferred icon colors.

Explorer for ChangeMan ZMF 1.0.0
643.2 KB
Jun 18, 2021
More info Less info
Product compatibility
Version 8.2.5
Release notes

Explorer for ChangeMan ZMF

Release 1.0.0

Initial release of the Explorer for ChangeMan ZMF


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release-rel-2021-10-2-4543 | Thu Oct 21 03:26:53 PDT 2021