Volume 7, Number 42 -- November 6, 2007

English Clothing Maker Taps looksoftware for System i Modernization

Published: November 6, 2007

by Alex Woodie

Alexandra, the English manufacturer of uniforms and other clothes for workers, has successfully service-enabled its back-end RPG application to provide a way to access the application over the Web, looksoftware announced last week.

Since Alexandra was founded in 1958, the company has been providing clothing to workers in England's hospitality and healthcare industries, first via catalog, then through stores, and finally across the Web. In 2002, the company was granted a royal warrant of appointment to the Queen of England, providing another valuable source of business.

The company currently relies on the System i server to run critical back office applications, and has for some time. It has always been happy with its IBM midrange box, according to looksoftware.

But the company ran into trouble when shopping for a new Web-based procurement system that hooked into the System i. Alexandra quickly needed a way to allow their large customers to access their e-commerce Web site, but to do so using their own procurement systems.

A solution came in the form of a looksoftware Web services and service oriented architecture (SOA) development tool, called soarchitect. In the hands of the looksoftware's UK partner, Simply Computing , soarchitect was able to generate the necessary Commerce XML (cXML) interfaces into Alexandra's RPG code, enabling the company to deliver an ASP.NET-based Web site that offered its customers the desired functionality.

As a result of the development, Alexandra's customers are able to perform all necessary transactions, such as quotations, orders, and purchases, automatically through their own procurement systems, thereby increasing efficiency.

"SCL's success with Alexandra is a great example of how a Web services approach can deliver rapid results and high reuse of existing RPG code," says Marcus Dee, managing director of looksoftware, which is based in Melbourne, Australia. "By service-enabling back-end applications, new solutions can be delivered quickly and relatively easily."

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Editor: Alex Woodie
Contributing Editors: Dan Burger, Joe Hertvik,
Shannon O'Donnell, Timothy Prickett Morgan
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