jcTOOL automatically converts Forté/UDS applications to Java/J2EE - Including the User Interface!
UI Conversion Agile Migration Process Why Choose ITerative Consulting?
Organisations with a major commitment to the Forté/Sun UDS (Forté) technology are currently faced with some significant challenges. The decision by Sun Microsystems to phase out support for Forté starting from October 2006 has forced companies to start making rapid risk management decisions in terms of where to take their existing investments in this technology.
Should they end-of-life the Forté applications? Should they completely redevelop? Should they replace it with a COTS package? Or should they migrate ‘as is’ to a new technology platform?
Most organisations derive significant business value from their existing Forté applications and would rather preserve this value and fully convert their applications to another platform with the least amount of risk and effort.
For these organisations, a migration process that encompasses a conversion tool that can capture their complete existing application directly from the Forté repository and fully automate the transformation of the Forté source code to a new, modern technology platform must be a commercially attractive option – particularly if it means not having to re-visit the original requirements or architecture.
ITerative Consulting brings a unique solution to Forté migration projects. Our conversion tool, jcTOOL converts entire Forté applications to Java/J2EE and also automatically converts Forté GUIs to Java Swing. The conversion objective is always to transform the entirety of the Forté application source code - not just selected portions. Once the tool has been optimised for the customer specific code, the conversion percentage is nearly 100% - typically 99.95+%. This complete auto-conversion ability is a result of jcTOOL being developed in Forté/UDS and directly accessing the Forté repository which achieves a more complete, lower cost and shorter time-to-delivery outcome for the entire migration project. jcTOOL can also convert subsets of Forté applications to enable partial conversion of applications for customers who want to retain only portions of their code, and the associated intellectual property, in their migration to a new technology.
The full application coverage of jcTOOL completely obviates the need to deconstruct the existing Forté application architecture, reverse engineer the code and manually reconstruct the application in the new target technology
In addition to jcTOOL, ITerative Consulting brings to the migration project a highly experienced set of software architecture and engineering skills and our agile migration process to ensure low risk, predictable and repeatable projects. Our complete application coverage and agile migration process allows projects to be undertaken with relatively small teams. This has enabled many of our customers to do their migration projects in-house with supporting services from ITerative. This approach offers the lowest cost and shortest time-to-delivery, retains valuable intellectual property, whilst also cross-training the in-house team on the new target technologies.
'Like for Like' Source Code Transformation
Significant energy has been put into making the transformed code look as identical as possible to the original source code:
- Physical layout, white space and indentation are retained
- Existing package and class names & structures are preserved
- Comments are preserved from the original source
- Java Doc is generated from the converted Java code
This approach has multiple benefits, including:
- The existing support team will have no problem in recognising and maintaining the converted application
- Valuable domain knowledge and IP is retained in the converted application
- The converted code is an 'auto trainer' in the new technology for the existing Forté support team
All this contributes greatly to the ongoing maintainability and extensibility of the converted application.
User Interface Conversion
The previous unavailability of an automated UI conversion has profound implications for a migration project as most applications are characteristically very heavily GUI oriented. Typically, a significant portion of the original development effort of a Forté application was invested in the GUI windows. Obviously, if it is not possible to automatically transform the GUIs to a new technology, this presupposes that at least this portion of the original application has to be re-developed as part of the migration effort and the original requirements have to be re-visited. This has a significant impact on both time-to-delivery and cost of migration.
As jcTOOL uniquely accesses the Forté repository; it can automatically transform a Forté GUI to the functionally equivalent Swing GUI on a ‘like for like’ basis. Transformed GUIs can be fully edited in native editors such as the Eclipse Visual Editor or Visual Studio.
Forté/UDS GUI in production Swing GUI automatically generated - before manual remediation
For Forté WebEnterprise users, jcTOOL fully automatically transforms the WebEnterprise templates to the functionally equivalent Java Server Pages (JSPs) for J2EE.
Business Tier Conversion
jcTOOL applies common and best practice patterns automatically in the conversion so that all transformed code is easily recognisable by the average developer. The Forté business class structure is transformed to JavaBeans which are familiar to all Java developers. Behaviour in services is faithfully transformed to equivalent service classes with the flexible choice in deployment of Web Services, EJB’s, Spring or other technologies chosen by the customer. This approach results in a migrated application that is both extensible and scalable.
Persistence Tier Conversion
The persistence tier is converted so that the existing database can be used against the converted application. Static and dynamic SQL in Forté is converted to JDBC.
Agile Migration Process
ITerative Consulting has a detailed Agile migration process, using the well known Unified Process as a template, for our Forté/UDS migration projects. This approach enables customers to produce incremental deliverables and progressively manage the risk in the migration effort and to generate conversion metrics during a pilot phase that enables reliable estimating for the entire project.
A typical engagement would start with a free analysis of your entire Forté/UDS application portfolio using the jcTOOL code profiler. This analysis and Code Conversion report will provide an early insight in to the effort involved in a complete migration project using jcTOOL. The next step is to convert a representative body of Forté TOOL code using jcTOOL to get an appropriate slice of the application deployed and functionally operative to establish the viability of a conversion-based approach to migration. This time-boxed step typically takes just a few weeks and provides valuable insight for management as input for a go/no go decision. At the end of this phase, stakeholders will be provided with metrics on the time and effort required to complete the full migration project. It is not necessary to revisit the original application requirements.
Once the success criteria have been met for the pilot, the next phase is to customise the tool to optimise the percentage of TOOL code automatically transformed with the objective of reducing any manual code remediation effort to a commercially cost-effective minimum. Once this phase is complete, the migration project enters the delivery phase where we use time-boxed iterations to incrementally deliver discrete applications or progressive functional scenarios.
Throughout the entire migration process, stakeholders have full visibility of the progress of the project and can manage risk accordingly.
Why Choose ITerative Consulting?
ITerative Consulting is the leading global vendor of Forté/UDS conversion services and focuses exclusively on Forté/UDS migrations.
ITerative has a core of J2EE and Forté software specialists who are uniquely positioned to maximise the conversion capabilities of jcTOOL. Our team includes a number of senior ex-Forté Software consultants whose intimate knowledge of the Forté/UDS technologies enables us to discover the metadata available in the Forté repository thus enabling the transformation of complete Forté applications to a new target technology. This combined knowledge enables the exceptional conversion rate of Forté applications.
ITerative Consulting also brings to the project our Agile migration process that is proven in the most demanding of project conditions. This unique combination of jcTOOL, a proven Agile process and a team of consultants experienced in large scale, enterprise-class application development enables ITerative Consulting to propose low risk, conversion-based, Forté/UDS migrations with guaranteed results.
ITerative Consulting has flexible account engagement models and can undertake turnkey Forté/UDS migration projects or alternatively work with your in-house team or chosen outsourcing partner.