Legacy Applications

To retain legacy business logic for client/server applications inherent in companies, organizations will have to web-enable existing applications.

COMPRSA convert or port client/server applications into web-based online applications, resulting in a huge saving for companies.

  • Web applications do not need to be installed on the user's computer--they are installed on a middle-tier computer (an application server or web server) in your data centre or at an Application Service Provider, so configuration management, deployment and support are easier. COMPRSA hosts sites for customers without data centres.
  • A web application can be run on any computer with a browser, regardless of the operating system. Because the application is actually running on the middle tier, hardware requirements are minimized
  • A web application can be used as the interface to a database on any platform: Windows, UNIX or Mainframe
  • Anyone with a browser and an internet connection can run your web applications and get access and data can be fully secure
  • When combined with virtual private networks the need for dial-in/dial-out access and dedicated lines can be eliminated

The move toward the client/server software model in the early-1990's was branded by some as 'right-sizing' and was considered a move to a more efficient computing model. One promise of the client/server architecture was the move away from the high maintenance costs of a central, very expensive, mainframe server and a series of 'dumb' terminals to a 'lighter', much less expensive, server and more intelligence and capability on the client side of the architecture. The revolution of 'right-sizing' to client/server software was felt the strongest within the market of the accounting software vendors as each offered product lines designed to optimise the client/server architecture in some fashion. Client-server systems require organizations to store applications on the client desktop and communicate back and forth with local back-end databases. With a browser-based solution, users are able to hyperlink to distributed web-based databases and application servers. This eases the workload placed on desktop systems and information technology staff and allows organizations to quickly and easily roll out a solution and make changes to applications and business processes.

Today's new 'right-sizing' revolution moves us somewhat back to the concept of the mainframe, with large centralized computing power now maintained on behalf of many companies through a concept of hosting software applications branded as Application Service Provider's or an ASP or simply....hosting.

The promise of the ASP model is lower cost of ownership by essentially outsourcing all the information technology infrastructure necessary to support a given software application and 'renting' your application through a low monthly subscription fee that may be based on usage. Smaller organizations find immediate appeal in this model, as many of these companies possess limited in-house technology resources. But larger organizations may also find interest in moving the costly maintenance of certain software applications to a third party.

The internet has made all this possible by connecting users to these ASP sites via their web-browsers. A web-browser is a standard component of almost any hardware platform and most ASP applications require no set-up on the computers that are accessing the system. Again similar to the days of the dumb terminals, the ASP solution requires very little computing power on the client. Also as during the client/server revolution business and accounting software vendors are flocking to the ASP opportunity. Those software vendors whose applications can be run in an Internet browser are best positioned to capitalize on the ASP model. Many of these vendors have designed their software from the beginning to run on the Internet and many of these are employee-concentric applications, such as requisitioning, time and expense reporting, customer relationship management or sales force automation.

Web services is a term that is being used to define a set of technologies that exposes business functionality over the web as a set of automated interfaces. These automated interfaces allow businesses to discover and bind to interfaces at run-time, minimizing the amount of static preparation that is needed by other integration technologies. A web service is a method of making various applications communicate with each other automatically over the internet. The goal is to streamline business processes by allowing software applications to be delivered over the internet and run across all kinds of computers, from large servers to handheld devices.

In order to enable legacy applications to participate in dynamic e-business, we need to apply web service technologies, which will allow the services to be defined.

Once the applications have been technically adapted, the business processes are likely to evolve to a more automated business process with reduced human intervention.

With operating system vendors agreeing on how to use more-advanced web standards, various services that use competing software applications will ultimately allow companies to automate their business processes and exchange information with each other in a standard way. This will eliminate the need for loads of development on the part of corporate programmers, to get their systems to link to those from other companies. In many cases, computers will do the work automatically.

With the advent of dynamic e-business, valuable legacy applications that support essential business processes in enterprises, can join this new area of distributed computing.

Moving to a web-based solution not only opens new markets, but also allows one to move toward implementing a true middle tier.