.NET App Modernization Tool Unveiled by looksoftware
May 11, 2010 Dan Burger
Before starting an IBM i application modernization planning process, it’s good advice to examine your application portfolio and understand where you want to make investments. Existing applications may not fit new business requirements or high maintenance may be strangling app dev progress. Either one makes you question their value. Some circumstances move companies in the direction of Microsoft .NET development, and if this occurs to you, then looksoftware should get your attention.
Ask yourself: When business goals and IT infrastructure are horribly misaligned, who gets the black eye? Without a doubt, it’s the IT department, and chances are good that IT is going to be required to come up with some solutions. In some situations, .NET development makes the most sense because the application development skills to create cross-platform interoperability are more readily available and the end goal is reached more quickly.
One of the keys to this is preserving legacy assets, says Marcus Dee, CEO of looksoftware. You do this by reusing applications, not rewriting them. And you do this by supporting new development as well as modernizing existing applications.
People need to look at long-term paths forward, Dee says.
Rewriting code typically takes five to 10 times as long to accomplish compared to reusing code and modernizing applications. However, if you don’t understand your code because it is old and poorly maintained, it’s possible that you will have a devil of a time sorting through it for reuse.
Also keep in mind, that only the most critical or most often-used apps are likely candidates for modernization projects. It’s not likely an analysis of your applications will suggest you modernize everything you have.
It’s one thing to create a new visual experience for end users, but in many instances that can cause problems in the long term. Creating user friendly applications sometimes ignores the cross-platform accessibility of back-end functions or the redevelopment of dated applications.
Dee says looksoftware is introducing its .NET-based re:new solution because it has the capability to integrate with other applications, platforms, and devices, which allows organizations to make platform choice based on strategic business decisions.
This isn’t about eliminating systems that run mission critical applications. It’s about extending those applications and those assets to get more out of them.
The .NET platform is a legitimate consideration for many companies. It is widely used and the skilled professionals who develop applications in that environment are readily available. The platform also allows easy integration with ubiquitous programs such as Microsoft Outlook, Word, Excel, SharePoint, Silverlight, and others that are familiar to many users.
The re:new option from looksoftware comes at the same time that looksoftware announced its application modernization product that makes use of Open Access for RPG and keeps developers coding in RPG rather than moving to .NET. That product also gives strategic planners the long-term path forward that Dee believes is critical.
It’s all about options, and these new offers will soon be added to the existing product portfolio of the Australian-based looksoftware, which also has a product called ilook that converts 5250 interfaces–including i/OS operating system screens–to Web-based GUIs and a product suite for both thick- and thin-client modernization and Web enablement of 5250 applications.
The re:new product is based on a collaboration between looksoftware and Surround Technologies, a longtime provider of System i development tools based in New Jersey that is a new partner of looksoftware.
Surround Tech’s Accelerator framework provides the programming libraries to develop Windows- and Web-based front-ends written in Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) and Silverlight to i/OS-based back-ends, while looksoftware’s collection of thick, thin, and mobile clients provide the multi-channel interfaces. The soarchitect from looksoftware provides the glue that holds it all together.
The general availability for re:new is slated for June 30. Pricing for the framework-based rapid development tool begins at $35,000.