Gupta tools were application development stars in the 1990s. However, since then they have long been overtaken by browser technologies and modern platforms such as the Microsoft .NET framework. This raises many questions as to how the existing Gupta applications can be made future-oriented. To modernize this further under Gupta is, in the long run, often not a viable solution, but to develop it again is expensive and risky.
fecher offers a real alternative: In a "Porting Project", Gupta applications are ported to the .NET framework using a proven process model. Fast, cost effective and at a fixed price.
The Porting Project provides our clients with a real .NET application that conforms with modern architecture and presentation standards. Moreover, this also lays the foundation for further development in the direction of SOA or web app. fecher utilizes the U.S.-based Ice Tea Group's unique tools, which make it possible to port all of the source code.
During a project, our clients are included in all of the decisions to be made. You can also choose to do the post-processing activities following the automated porting yourself. Upon request, we can also assist your Gupta developers with the initial steps in .NET.
Without the automated migration to .NET we wouldn’t have got this far. And yet our effort has been hardly higher than for an upgrade of a Team Developer version to the newest release.
In porting Gupta applications, there are three separate fundamental areas to consider: The application itself with its application logic and user interface as well as associated reports and the database which the application accesses.
A porting must functionally transfer as many of the original application's functions and processes as possible to the new environment. Moreover, the ported application should look the same to its users as it did when it was still in Gupta. Lastly, the developers want the application structure to remain unchanged, as it will be easier to maintain the application in the new environment and to develop it further. Accordingly, the porting tool Ice Porter generates a functionally complete equivalent application and an identical display of the user interface with configurable options for redesign such as skinning or a tabbed MDI. Additional add-ons such as ribbon bars, navigation bars or expanded table functions can be used immediately for further development.
Developers can use the tool iCustomizer to apply, without any great effort, client-specific or changed requirements to a standard application: The add-on for .NET applications enables adjustments to be made to the user interface during run-time, with no additional programming. It can be used to modify or add graphical user interface elements and controls from Microsoft Visual Studio's repertoire. Developers also use the tool to expand a finished application's functions via C# code and events. fecher has tailored this customizing tool - which was originally developed by nGroup during a porting project - to the Porting Project Framework and uses it in its projects.
Significant development efforts have also gone into the Gupta application's reports. Manufacturers, service providers and clients have also often customized the reports to better fit their needs. Both types of reports are retained when switching technologies with a Porting Project as reports are also automatically ported. The Ice Porter porting tool supports a variety of target systems:
Our clients are therefore not subjected to technological constraints and can make their selections based on functional requirements and license models.
The procedures can also be customized to meet your needs. In some projects, the Gupta reports remain in use via report hubs and are only gradually converted at a later date upon implementation for the client. fecher also offers solutions for end-user modified standard reports.
In theory, a switch from one database to another is quite simple: As SQL has been standardized, existing applications, in principle, should be able to work together with any new database platform. In practice, however, this road is a bit bumpy. Deterrents to a smooth switch-over include incompatible manufacturer standards for defining tables and views, proprietary programming languages for triggers and stored procedures and, last but not least, significant deviations in the various SQL dialects.
Help is provided by the tool-supported service dbPORTER and the middleware component sqlTRANSLATOR, which translates the SQLBase-specific SQL into the SQL of the new database during runtime. Fully transparent - without changes in the source code. These in-house tools, developed by fecher, finally make the switch as easy as SQL's originators intended it to be.
We always conduct our Porting Projects according to a proven procedure model. The only variable is the service level. In an All-inclusive Porting, we deliver a "turn-key" ported application at the end of the project. In Cooperative Porting, clients bring in their own development resources. The cost, which is already lower than for redevelopment, is thus lowered even further. After the Automated Porting, fecher then delivers the compiled code to the client's in-house developers. Your developers take care of the fine tuning and the finalization. To make sure that everything runs smoothly, our experts will train them beforehand. If additional coaching is needed, our experts remain available at all times.
The Porting Project Procedure Model consists of a number of phases: In the evaluation phase, fecher develops with its potential clients a solid decision-making basis for the porting of their Gupta application. This also includes a fixed-price offer that corresponds to the quantity and complexity of the code. The project really begins with the porting phase after all parts of the evaluation phase have finished. The test phase then finally lead to an application that has been fully ported to .NET, is fully executable and has been prepared for further development in Microsoft Visual Studio.
1) Information: An information package consisting of reference examples shows how the Porting Project is carried out in practice. Initial questions are answered in an on-site meeting or an online demonstration. We also provide advice on technology selection, various migration approaches and what the future holds for Gupta.
2) Free Analysis (Rough Analysis): The PPJ Inventory tool and our constantly refined and updated checklists are used to determine the size and complexity of the code as well as any peculiarities. This lets us estimate the time, the effort and the cost of the Porting Project with a fluctuation margin between 10 and 15 per cent. There is no charge for this first Rough Analysis.
3) Detailed Analysis: We examine the application's modules and reports for problem areas and dependencies. The potential client receives a results report, a fixed-price offer and a rough timetable for the porting. The fee for the Detailed Analysis is calculated based on the hours of work performed. Depending on the application's complexity, this could take two days or more.
1) Project setup and partitioning: The Porting Project is set up based on the results of the analysis. Together with the client, we coordinate the precise timetable and the course of action to be taken. We jointly define the target structure of the individual application modules and components and therefore of the entire application. A combination of several programs can also be carried out.
2) Code generation and completion: Using the Ice Porter tool, we port all modules and reports, one by one. To obtain the best translation result, this process is repeated several times. The Porting Project Framework or the Ice Porter tool, if necessary, can be adapted to suit the project. Special source code characteristics can, for example, also be taken into account. We manually review the generated .NET code to ensure it will be compilable.
3) Code Finalization: The sections of code identified by Ice Porter during the translation will be verified by our specialists (All-inclusive Porting) or your own developers (In-house Porting). They will also verify all masks, dialogs and reports as well as perform basic tests.
1) Test phase: The final tests are carried out by the customer himself. Oftentimes, the first end users are also deployed as early adopters. Depending on the selected Porting Model, namely All-inclusive Porting or In-house Porting, any errors that crop up will be corrected by us, the client, or jointly.
2) Training and coaching: We provide your developers with a comprehensive introduction to the Porting Project Framework's native class library and the ported application. This lays the foundation for successful further development. We'll also gladly arrange seminars for more advanced .NET training. Support agreements are also available to secure our ongoing support.
3) Further development: Quite often, the ported project starts a new life cycle for the software. All further development takes place in Visual Studio. Software developers with .NET know how, are comfortable with the easily readable and manageable source code. As Gupta developers are nearly impossible to find, the Porting Project also solves the skills resource problem. In comparison, it is also much easier to make source code changes in Visual Studio. Cutting-edge refactoring, analysis and documentation tools also significantly increase productivity. We also provide our clients with support in these areas.
In implementing its Gupta Porting Projects, fecher utilizes the technology of the U.S.-based company Ice Tea Group. The software house specializes in Gupta and started Porting Project in 2003. Porting Project helps Gupta developers port their applications to the .NET platform, thereby making the applications sustainable. Since then, the Ice Tea Group has continued to improve the porting tools. fecher has been their Premium Porting Partner responsible for the worldwide distribution of this service since 2008.
The Porting Project is based on the Ice Tea Group's Ice Porter tool, which automatically converts SAL code into C# or VB.NET code for the .NET platform. The intelligent translator also converts reports from Gupta Report Builder to the target choice, whether Crystal Reports, List & Label, Stimulsoft Reports or SQL Server Reporting Services.
The service that Ice Porter performs is however difficult to fully explain in writing. The use of the tool is demonstrated in a workshop and in additional training sessions. Ice Porter can indeed be used for complex and In-house Projects. The client decides whether to purchase a license for Ice Porter or to rely on the fecher team's experience in using this tool, ensuring your porting project starts quickly and safely.
Every powerful software is modern-architecture based; it implements today's requirements to recognized patterns and reacts flexibly to new trends. The Porting Project Framework provides all of the necessary objects needed to generate clearly-structured migrated source code. This enables a very productive further development of the application using all of the Visual Studio and .NET community tools.
With this framework as a basis, the software is future-proof. The Ice Tea Group demonstrated that once more as it provided the framework in a version for a web architecture based on Javaspript.
In Porting Project Services, the framework is expanded by enabling partitioning in multi-layer architectures. Applications can then be partially or wholly transferred from a desktop to a server, a data-processing center or a cloud-computing provider. Porting Project Services uses the proven Windows Communication Foundation for its communication layer. This is the ideal SOA-based architecture entry-point.
A version of the proven Porting Project Framework is also available for projects involving a web architecture. Applications ported with this framework run as real-time web applications on Windows web servers and are usable with all common browsers. Even the most complex of user interfaces can be mapped and displayed. Browser-based applications often provide better user experiences than desktop applications.