Launching a Internet Browser from Mainframe

I have a URL that has been passed to the Mainframe via MQ. The URL has security token information contained so it is too long to display on a mainframe screen for a user to cut and paste into a browser themselves.

I want to launch an internet browser from the mainframe. We cannot use specific (IBM) emulator scripts as we would have to install these on each machine which is impractical.

We have the following:
Natural 4.2
Z/os 1.7
Cics TS 3.1
EntireX 7.1

Emulator we are using is IBM Personal Communication 5.6 for Windows.

Is there a way to do this with the current software??

If not, what would I need to get? Please note we cannot port everything over to Natural for Windows or Natural Server. Only Add-on software that does not affect the current processing in any way would be considered.


I think, this is not a question regarding Natural but your emulator. With Natural you can only print the url on the screen in multiple lines. Then write an emulator script to grab this url, reassemble it into one line and launch the browser. Of course, you have to distribute this script to each client.

But as you don’t want / can not use scripts, there is only one solution for your problem. As Natural does not know your PC, it does not know where to launch a browser. Thus you should do the things the script would do manually:

  1. Write the url onto the screen in multiple lines (no wordbreak!)
  2. cut and paste the multiline url into notepad
  3. remove the line feed in notepad
  4. cut and paste the line into a browser

With Entire Connection it is possible to launch iexplore from a Natural program:


Maybe this is an option for you.

Thanks. Thats pretty much what we ended up coming up with. Just not the most elegant solution unfortunatly. We have international users so the scripting idea won’t do.

Unfortunatly Entire Connection is not an option either. Couple of thousand users to change the emulator for. Rollout would take 6 months easy.

We use Hummingbird Host Explorer and it allows for mouse enabled hotspots. It recognizes ‘http:’ as a hotspot and when clicked will open browser to url. For long urls, we assign a hotspot to an onscreen keyword. When clicked, it calls a Host Ex macro that has the long url inside of it. The macro can also read data from the screen so the long url can be dynamic.

I would prefer to open the browser from Natural, in case Host Ex ever goes away.

The Request Document statement won’t open a browser to a URL?

No, REQUEST DOCUMENT will send or receive an HTTP message. It does not start an application.

These other options might be too late for your rollout, Chad, but in case they help you or others for future projects:

Use ApplinX Instant Web Application. This provides you with a 3270 emulator that runs in the browser already. Transformations and composite pages can be used to support the additional functionality you are looking for to integrate the mainframe application with PC applications such as browsers, spreadsheets or word processors.

Another approach I used several years ago (hmmm about 10 years ago now, pre-RPC) was to put a small EntireX daemon on each machine that had a shared identifier with the mainframe user (e.g. RACF user id). The daemon was responsible for receiving data from the mainframe and launching the PC application (Word in one case, cashier receipt printer in another). Unlikely to be practical for your application without a software management tool able to roll out the daemon to all affected users.