Databorough’s X-Analysis Now a WDSc Plug-In
June 28, 2005 Alex Woodie
OS/400 developers looking to break up their monolithic RPG and COBOL applications into more modularized components in preparation for Web enablement or migration to J2EE or .NET may want to take a look at the latest release of X-Analysis, the cornerstone of Databorough‘s suite of cross-reference and documentation tools. X-Analysis (XA) version 5.5, which was released in May, now works as a plug-in to WebSphere Development Studio client (WDSc), and includes other enhancements.
XA helps programmers and non-technical business managers understand their OS/400 applications and the logic they contain, through a series of lists, graphics, flow charts, and add-on components that make up Databorough’s suite, such as X-Rev, X-Migrate, and X-Extract. Once the RPG or COBOL code is documented and kept up-to-date in the XA data repository, solving problems or adding functionality becomes much easier, because the section of code that require modification can be located quickly.
London-based Databorough says XA stands out from other cross-reference tools because of its graphical capabilities. While other cross-reference tools only provide a greenscreen interface, XA offers users the option of a greenscreen or a GUI, and provides an array of output options to reporting tools like Microsoft‘s Visio and CASE tools. The tool, which Databorough has been gradually re-writing in Java, also now functions as a plug-in to WDSc and other Eclipse-based editors.
Databorough, which has North American headquarters in Toronto, Ontario, has found a big supporter in IBM, which has been urging its OS/400 ISVs to modernize their applications for years. With the iSeries Initiative for Innovation now in full swing, tools such as XA become nearly indispensable for harvesting every bit of functionality out of decades-old OS/400 applications as they’re updated with new interfaces and new capabilities.
XA 5.5 also brings new data viewing capability. Previously, users would have to purchase separately the X-Browse product, which starts at $8,000, if they wanted the product’s query and report-writing capability. With this release, the X-Browse functionality has been built directly into X-Analysis.
XA is a powerful tool, and with that in mind, Databorough has bolstered the product’s security by restricting access using user profiles. Other areas the company has worked on include business-rule extraction, analysis of journal changes, creation of test data subsets, data dictionary viewing, and the capability to reverse engineer Java Server Faces (JSF).
“We have been listening carefully to our customers for the last 15 years, and we’re not afraid of tackling complex development challenges,” Stuart Milligan, the company’s chief operating officer. “The results of this approach are now producing an overwhelmingly positive response from ISVs, IBM, and bespoke iSeries shops alike.”
IBM, it would seem, is quite impressed with XA’s application discovery capabilities–particularly now that it functions as a plug-in to WDSc. According to Milligan, IBM is working with Databorough to establish an OEM arrangement to distribute XA with WDSc, and perhaps collaborate in other ways.
“They are already handing out XA CDs,” says Milligan, who has split his time between England and the U.S. in preparation for a major push here. “We haven’t had a high level of marketing in the U.S., but that’s changing quite rapidly now. We’re doing much more.”
In addition to the base XA product, Databorough sells several other add-on components that let you do a variety of things with your RPG or COBOL code and logic, including: X-Rev, for reverse engineering programs and creating comprehensive data models; X-Extract, for unearthing business rules buried in source code; X-Migrate, for RPG-to-Java conversion, database population, and UI design; X-Subset, for creating accurate test data subsets, and in some cases for data warehousing purposes; X-Archive, for purging and archiving production data; X-Resize, for file and field reengineering (such as Y2K or 2005 Sunrise remediation efforts); X-Control, for source and object change management; X-Web, a Java-based Web framework; X-Cube, a business intelligence application; X-Verify, for ensuring the referential integrity of records; and X-Decompile.
Databorough sells several XA packages that combine XA and the add-ons in different ways. XA itself runs from $6,000 to $12,000, whereas the Modeling Toolset, which combines XA and X-Rev, starts at $16,000. The Extended Modeling Toolset adds X-Extract, and starts at $26,000, while the Legacy Migration Toolset, which adds the X-Migrate and X-Web components, starts at $60,000.
The company also offers two specialized sets, including the Data Management package, which requires the basic Modeling Toolset, includes the X-Verify, X-Subset, X-Archive, and X-Cube products, and starts at $32,000; and the Field Reengineering package, which also requires the basic Modeling Toolset, includes the X-Resize and X-Control products, and starts at $12,000. Users can also buy the complete set of Databorough tools for a cost that starts at $75,000. All pricing is tier-based. For detailed product descriptions, visit the company’s Web site at www.databorough.com.