David Moskowitz, Productivity Solutions, Inc.

Web-ifying Legacy Applications: Welcome to the 21st Century

The process of integrating existing mainframe systems with a dynamic real-time Web-based presentation can be a formidable task. The developers who work on the Web side often don't thoroughly understand the complexities of the enterprise data (assuming there are Web-based developers, which isn't always the case); similarly the folks on the enterprise side don't appreciate the dynamic required on the Web: The two groups don't always talk the same language (both literally and figuratively).

Some enterprises use systems from multiple vendors and the application programming models for each one vary. SAP programmers don't know how to modify an IBM CICS system and vice versa. To make these types of systems play nicely is a challenge that is complicated by trying to make the data from both available on the Web. While application development tools can simplify the process somewhat, the base problem still remains.

In this presentation, David addresses the issues and presents an approach, based upon a real-world challenge, that can be used to successfully make legacy systems work in a Web-based environment. David will address not only the technical issues, but also some of the people challenges. How do you get COBOL, Adabase/Natural, SAP, etc., programmers to understand the demands and changes that real-time Web-based applications impose?

Choices, Choices, Choices: Fat vs. Thin Clients

Buzz phrase: Web services. How do you present information to the client? The obvious choice is via a Web browser. However, that can be limited. HTML doesn’t really afford the opportunity to develop a good, rich user-interface. The advantages to a browser UI are that it’s relatively easy to debug the application; you don't have to keep the client-side development in sync with the server-side development, etc. A fat client has clear advantages if you need a richer user experience that requires more interaction.

What is the best way to develop the UI for your application? How do you make the decision between fat and thin client? When does it make sense to use a fat client? How do you migrate to a fat client? What do you give up? How do you build a fat client in a rapidly evolving environment?

There are other technology issues that come into play: Messages/RPC/API used between the fat-client and the server. Another thing that has to be considered is the schedule: Once the organization makes the decision to create a Web application, how long are they willing to wait before something is deployed?

If you’re building Web services or a Web-based application that presents information to a real person, then these are some of the questions that need to be understood and addressed. In this presentation, David addresses these issues and more.

Picture of David Moskowitz

David Moskowitz is a Principal Consultant at Productivity Solutions, Inc., a Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania-based consulting firm that helps its clients thrive in an eBusiness economy. David is an object-oriented, Java mentor and project manager. In these capacities, he has guided many successful Java projects. He is currently managing a project, and serving as its chief mentor, that is re-engineering both applications and process as part of an eGovernment initiative. David has been a speaker at every Colorado Software Summit and his sessions are always well rated and attended.

Email: davidm2@usa.net

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