FAQ: Questions + answers = solutions

Any task we have solved over the years, were initiated by a series of questions from our customers. Typically they have had challenges regarding the sustainability of their IT systems, a specific business goal they wanted to achieve, a desire to optimize some of their IT related processes or there have been changes in the organization, which have led them to think in new directions.

These issues, and the way we have handled them, have formed the basis of the solutions we have made for our customers. By sharing this knowledge, we hope you can see that there is a solution to even the most complex challenges. We believe that it boils down to asking the right questions as early in the process as possible.

In our FAQ you will find questions and answers related to both the business side of IT, as to the technical aspects regarding specific technologies, languages ​​or platforms. We hope you will find inspiration whether you are a technical manager or a decision maker at business level. Otherwise you have to write your own specific questions to us.

Read our references

See some of the solutions we have made and what impact they have had on our customers business

FAQ

Why convert your IT system?

The reasoning we typically encounter, when a customer considers a conversion of an existing IT system includes the following:

  • Young IT people will no longer work with our old system – programming languages and workspace is outdated, so to attract qualified employees, we offer modern language technologies and development platforms
  • The licenses for the old systems are very expensive – with modern systems comes modern and more flexible licensing, which may result in great savings compared to before the conversion
  • We would like to down-size – a conversion is a welcome opportunity to cut to the core of our systems and to maintain only the parts we use. In addition, the new language typically consists of far fewer lines of code to perform the same data processing, which helps to reduce the total volume of the system
  • We can not deliver what the business wants when it comes to web and mobile solutions – that is why we are looking at new, modern technologies and platforms so that we can continue to live up to the business strategy and contribute to the overall IT development of the business
  • It is too expensive and too risky to develop a completely new system from scratch and there is no standard software that supports our business – we are therefore looking towards newer and more modern development possibilities, so we internally become more flexible and agile

Is it possible to restructure your programmes during conversion?

Yes, to a certain degree. For example is it possible to convert text-based screens to web-interfaces, impose name standards, replace old date-formats with the company’s standard format or introduce logging of all programmes and/or functions before database updates

How long is the freeze period during a conversion?

Since the actual conversion is performed electronically using a rule based tool, the freeze period is very short. While the work of adjusting the rules is being done, the developers can keep working on the company platform as usual. The freeze period is not carried out till last minute when the last changes are tested and the code is being migrated

Young IT people do not want to work with our old systems. What to do?

You convert to a new platform and introduce modern tools like RDz and RTC on top of the old systems

What happens to the comments in the source code during conversion?

All comments in the original source code will appear in the converted code. The vast majority of comments will be placed where they were found, while a few will be placed in different locations. This happens because some statements in the old code are broken up and converted into multiple statements, while other statements are joined and compressed into a single statement in the converted code.

Who is responsible for testing the converted code?

The customer is responsible for testing the converted code. Firstly, it is the customer who has the primary business knowledge, and secondly there might be data in the system that Xact can not access because it is confidential.

What languages does Xact convert from/to?

The conversions we have done so far are covered in the drawing below. However, we have just signed a new contract where the customer has a Cool: Gen solution that we need to convert to a JavaScript/HTML front-end and COBOL back-end solution. The different combinations of source/target adaptors are added along the way since using our own-developed tool XcodeCon it is in principle the same process that operates inside the automatic engine whatever the combination is. The structure and set of rules of the different languages are generally what we are looking at and analysing carefully before we get started with a new language or a new combination.

xcodecon

Why does Xact perform rule-based conversions?

  • A rule model ensures maximum flexibility during the conversion process
  • 100% automated migration without manual adjustments
  • Both source code, data models, data structures and data are migrated
  • Documented and coherent coding deliverables
  • Possibility of further development or maintenance of existing code during the entire migration, minimizing the code freeze period
  • Potential elimination of obsolete code from the programs
  • All of your standards, code extensions, and changes connected with the migration are documented
  • Possible to include automated re-factoring

What is the difference between migration and conversion?

Both terms cover the transformation of source code, data structure and data from one source code language, data structure and data format to another source code language, data structure and data format.

How do we get started using the new tools?

After modernizing your IT system, where the old IT systems typically have been replaced with new modern systems, there will be a new platform and associated new tools that developers need to start using. As part of our solution we always offer to teach all the new users to use the systems subsequently. It can for example be a specific course in EGL or it can be a comprehensive introduction to the optimal use of the new tools. We offer this kind of follow-up training to ensure that our customers immediately after the implementation can get started to exploit all the new possibilities. Unfortunately we have seen too many examples where newly purchased software lands on a shelf somewhere gathering dust, and we think that’s a really sad situation. Specifically since we have the house full of technical skills with extensive experience in teaching.