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Nexaweb Offers Legacy App Migration to Java

Web application developer Nexaweb Technologies has announced a plan to assist IT departments in migrating legacy applications to the Web, and helping streamline and clean up the applications in the process.

Nexaweb Advance doesn't put a Web 2.0 face on a creaky old 3GL or 4GL application. First it looks at all of the application's interfaces and behaviors, determines how it handles data input and creates a map of the application.

From this map, a newer application is born built on a newer language, Java. In the process, programmers get a layout of their application and everything it does, which offers a chance to cut out the fat and redundancies that may have come from years of tweaking with the code.

"The architectural integrity of the original applications are often severely compromised," David McFarlane, chief operating officer of Nexaweb, told InternetNews.com. "So the first thing we have to do is help an organization understand those apps, capture them and document them."

Nexaweb builds a model of the application's functionality in the Universal Markup Language, or UML . In the process of finding all the functions of the application, it also shows where there might be duplicate or bad code, so organizations can re-establish the integrity of the app. The modeling tool supports applications written in PowerBuilder, ColdFusion, C++, Visual Basic, and Oracle Forms.

The application is then re-composed in Java using an Eclipse-based IDE. A UI is generated from the UML model and applications are generated and deployed on a variety of platforms, including Java EE, PHP, or .NET servers.

McFarlane said it is possible to shut down the legacy applications after the port is complete but that's not how he expects most customers to use it. "This transformation process is also one of expansion, not simply replacement," he said. "For many customers, it's a chance to make changes. They don't shut down the apps but do extend them with new functionality."

There is a risk in migrating an old app, regardless of its language or age, and breaking things in the process. McFarlane said that there is always that risk, but Nexaweb minimizes it through reusing as much of the old code as possible, and creating business logic out of the UML mapping.

Nexaweb Advance is available from the company starting this week. It will offer an online seminar on March 13 at 2:00 p.m. ET / 11:00 a.m. PT to discuss the program.