BCD, Midrange Dynamics Partner On IBM i Modernization
May 9, 2016 Dan Burger
When you think of modernizing applications to increase their efficiency and extend the original investment in the business logic that is so important to your organization, it should be apparent that the process requires some controls and management. It’s a bit like having a map and compass when going into the wilderness. That’s why we’re seeing partnerships form between the application development vendors and the change management vendors. The most recent hook-up is a partnership between BCD Software and Midrange Dynamics.
BCD has created several methods for IBM midrange shops to modify, install, and distribute application changes. For the time being, it’s BCD’s WebSmart PHP that is integrated with Midrange Dynamic’s Change Management Software (MDCMS). WebSmart is also available in an ILE version. The ILE version limits applications to only running on IBM i, while the PHP version allows applications to run on Windows, Linux, Unix, or IBM i. New WebSmart customers almost always choose the PHP option. BCD provides another application modernization pathway called Presto, which converts green screens to graphical user interfaces, with no changes to the business logic. Presto is BCD’s most popular modernization software. Work is already under way to integrate Presto with MDCMS. It’s expected to be available in sometime this summer.
PHP was the first of the integrated product because MDCMS already supports PHP. There are plans to integrate WebSmart ILE and WebSmart Node.js with MDCMS, but no time table is set for their delivery. WebSmart Node.js currently is in beta.
MDCMS tracks and provides reports on the software development process. Its biggest benefit is increasing code accuracy, which the risk of failure and time devoted to working out the bugs. It’s also valuable in helping organizations meet auditing requirements.
“Change management is very important to the application development process and speeds up the delivery of higher quality code,” says Marcel Sarrasin, vice president of marketing for BCD and BCD’s parent company Quadrant Software. He describes MDCMS as “a much more sophisticated solution” compared to WebSmart’s built-in change management.
“Enterprise change management makes it faster to move an entire application from one environment to another. It increases the use of proper development processes, so end users can start using these applications sooner.”
From the programmer’s perspective, there’s a three-step process that includes planning, testing, and deployment.
“We always encourage an agile development approach and a good change management solution makes that easier. Customers would code their application with WebSmart and set up their change management with MDCMS. Midrange Dynamics would offer support on implementing WebSmart with MDCMS and BCD offer support in the creation of the applications,” Sarrasin says.
The wide majority of application modernization projects–probably in the 90-percent range–result in applications designed to run on IBM i, as opposed to being built for multi-platform use. Multi-platform deployments are increasing, but that trend is slow in developing at this point.
“We are seeing more people who are putting a stake in the ground and saying IBM i is the system of record,” says Mary Langen, marketing director at Midrange Dynamics. Workloads are returning to the platform, she says.
“Our integration development work with BCD has been quick. We have a lot of compatibility with BCD on the technical level,” Langen says. “The compatibility works on our approach to the marketplace and how our team members work together.”
BCD and Midrange Dynamics have begun co-marketing at trade shows and planning for joint webinars is taking shape.