Competition suggests it may be faster to replace an application's entire underlying architecture than to do a simple screen scrape.
By the time the dust settled at the modernization "Code Shoot-Out" competition, software tool developer michaels, ross & cole, ltd. (mrc) had done the impossible: Using m-Power, one mrc developer had proved that complete architecture replacement could be faster than screen-scraping.
At the recent CommonGB conference, mrc participated in a 24-hour modernization "Code Shoot-Out" competition. The rules were simple: Each participating vendor received the same green-screen application on day one and was given exactly 24 hours to modernize the application.
While each vendor could choose their own modernization approach, the choice usually boils down to one of two options: Screen-scrape or replace the underlying architecture. Screen-scraping creates a modern-looking interface on top of the legacy app and is generally believed to be the fastest approach. While replacing the underlying architecture is widely considered to be the most complete modernization option, it's notoriously time-consuming and difficult.
Given the short timeframe, most vendors opted for the fast, screen-scraping approach. The mrc developer chose to completely modernize the green-screen application with m-Power, from the interface down to the underlying architecture. While this method is significantly more complex than screen-scraping, mrc's developer still managed to:
• Completely modernize the application's outdated architecture, replacing it with n-Tier Java servlets,
• Complete a larger percentage of the original app in the provided timeframe than any of the other competitors,
• Enhance the original application with:
o A mobile version of the app
o A Web pivot table
o A Web ranking report
o An extranet with advanced, user-based security
o A fully-featured intranet
Despite choosing the more complex modernization approach, m-Power's total results (listed above) were unmatched by any of the other vendors. In doing so, mrc demonstrated that the notoriously difficult and time-consuming modernization approach (replacing the underlying architecture) could be accomplished faster than the "fast" approach (screen-scraping).
"mrc's tool [m-Power] goes beyond simple application modernization," says Steve Bradshaw, managing director of Rowton IT Solutions Ltd., and moderator of the Code Shoot-Out. "It allows the user to take their existing application, add function, business logic and integration with other systems, then present the unified result in a single graphical interface. The results were excellent."