Rebuilding an application, input wanted - Forum - OpenEdge Development - Progress Community

Rebuilding an application, input wanted

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Rebuilding an application, input wanted

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For a customer of us, I will be asked to do some major maintenance on their business application. The application in question is one that handles the order process and production steering of a pallet manufacturing company. Their current application was built over 10 years ago in v8, migrated all the way up to 11.3 and consists of a mix of smartobjects and plain progress. 

I will be visiting them tomorrow and then I'll ask what they have in mind, but I thought it would be good to collect some thoughts here on my opportunities. Should they ask for a total rebuild, should I then:

  • build it with plain progress
  • create a basic framework and build on that,
  • use an existing framework like OF-1 or DWP,
  • install PAS and use KendoUI for a nice frontend
  • use Consultingwerks SmartComponentLibrary 
  • something else? 

They will probably also want an app for the workers inside the factory.

I know there is not much info I can provide, but I'd love to hear some input on what would be wise to use. I already know that they want to keep working with OpenEdge and that they have one person that does some small maintenance on the code, so the final solution should be low-level enough for him to do some small things. 

All Replies
  • One of the main reasons why modernisation is so hard is that applications have been designed lazily with business logic and UI logic etc all mixed in the same code. So I would suggest that whatever solution you implement you ensure that everything is nicely split out so that in 10 years time a new modernisation project is a lot easier to achieve!

    But then you probably already know that ;) 

  • Not enough info to give much tips. In any case watch out for vendor-lockin with frameworks! And look further than the horizon psc provides (another lockin), there are  f.e. more web frontends than kendo. You are not a psc presales-consultant nor do you have to make a loyal impression here.

    https://inviqa.com/blog/8-tips-for-avoiding-vendor-lock-in (quick googleresult on avoid vendor lockin, there will be better links)

    http://tom.lokhorst.eu/2010/09/why-libraries-are-better-than-frameworks

    https://survivejs.com/blog/mobx-interview/#on-frameworks-vs-libraries

  • Thanks for the answers so far. @James: yes, seperation of BL and UI is one of the primary concerns, in years from now they should be able to replace the front end easily.

    @ not sure what you mean with not being a presales consultant. I would need to check my bank account, but I don't think I am paid by PSC ;)

    With regard to frameworks: I am a bit divided on this; a framework like DWP makes life extremely easy for a developer, but there does not seem to be a lot of activity anymore. Besides, the inner parts are closed source, hence lock-in. OF-1 seems active, just as the SmartComponentLibrary, but I don't know how these rate on closed vs open sources.

    And sure, there are more web frontends, but having one that works tightly with OE has its advantages. And my JavaScript skills are a bit rusty at best, so I am definitely not looking for a solution that requires heavy JS programming.

  • Patrick, closed source is not the criterium for vendor lockin. Moreover "we are pretty reluctant to use all-in frameworks. The first two years they serve you really well. But the third year they cannot longer keep up the pace with new technologies. The fourth year you spent refactoring just be able to adopt new technologies." (one of the links I sent). Good luck advising your customer.

  • Hi Patrick,
     
    The eternal debate between build or buy. In the end, a framework is just a tool – or a collection of tools. The primary question is, is your client willing AND capable of developing all components of the new architecture, backend and frontend required to match the users’ needs along with developer productivity to match the required time to market themselves. Or would they rather use components that were tested in a similar environment and are provided from a vendor with a lot of experience in the field you’re working in.
     
    „just as the SmartComponentLibrary, but I don't know how these rate on closed vs open sources.”
     
    Source code for the SmartComponent Library is provided to all of our clients and our development process is very transparent to our customers.
     
    I fully agree with James (and probably most here will), that the separation of Business Logic and frontend is an absolute basic requirement. So is the ability to use a framework together with any legacy which is there to allow for any migration strategy that makes sense in your specific situation..
     
    If you’re looking into a CCS compliant framework for the OpenEdge backend and various clients (OpenEdge, OpenEdge GUI for .NET, Angular 4, NativeScript, …) let me know and we can have a conversation offline, an online meeting or just have a meeting in Prague next week.
    Von: Patrick Tingen [mailto:bounce-ptingen@community.progress.com]
    Gesendet: Montag, 6. November 2017 13:00
    An: TU.OE.Development@community.progress.com
    Betreff: RE: [Technical Users - OE Development] Rebuilding an application, input wanted
     
    Update from Progress Community
     

    Thanks for the answers so far. @James: yes, seperation of BL and UI is one of the primary concerns, in years from now they should be able to replace the front end easily.

    @agent_008_nl not sure what you mean with not being a presales consultant. I would need to check my bank account, but I don't think I am paid by PSC ;)

    With regard to frameworks: I am a bit divided on this; a framework like DWP makes life extremely easy for a developer, but there does not seem to be a lot of activity anymore. Besides, the inner parts are closed source, hence lock-in. OF-1 seems active, just as the SmartComponentLibrary, but I don't know how these rate on closed vs open sources.

    And sure, there are more web frontends, but having one that works tightly with OE has its advantages. And my JavaScript skills are a bit rusty at best, so I am definitely not looking for a solution that requires heavy JS programming.

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    Architect of the SmartComponent Library and WinKit

    Consultingwerk Ltd.

  • ```

    The primary question is, is your client willing AND capable of developing all components of the new architecture, backend and frontend required to match the users’ needs along with developer productivity to match the required time to market themselves.

    ```

    That might be the question on the openedge backend side. Allas, and that is one of the reasons why I'm not a fanboy of psc products and openedge framework vendors. On the web frontend side (and other backends) it is a different story. You can use libraries there, see the links I sent. The opinion I shared is not from some maniac that wants to program everything himself but from succesfull and in part big and well known enterprises.

  • Stefan, I sure read the link with the "we are pretty reluctant to use all-in frameworks" part and especially the part you cited got my attention since it is exactly what my fear is with frameworks. When I leave this customer, 1 or 2 years from now, I want to leave them in a state where they can build upon in the years to come. That means - for sure - separation of BL and UI and an application backbone, be it a framework or set of libraries, that they can use themselves.

  • Yes, but you said "a framework like DWP makes life extremely easy for a developer", therefore I quoted that.

    Of course you should separate ui- and backend logic, that's self-evident and antique knowledge in this community.

     There are some open source oe backend frameworks also (oo and so), I would have to search for them. Maybe you can ask f.e. Roland de Pijper about them. These should not be hard to maintain if you do not have too many special wishes. I have no idea about their soundness. There is also autoedge that is usable as starting point. I think M. Fechner has a monopoly on commercial oe frameworks since years.  If you sell his framework you should demand a share. ;-)  

     Yuk, frameworks... You can get yourself (I mean that company you advise) into big trouble also if you don't want to learn js and want to do frontend work. See what happened to those who wanted a "short time to market" solution with angular 1.x. They are in *deep* trouble when they want to keep up with new developments, with lots of logic coupled to angular.  Maybe hire a specialist? I would take web ui advisements from stakeholders here with a grain of salt. And of course: watch out for coupling front- and backend.

  • If separation of BL/UI is antique knowledge then why do people still not go down that route? There is no harm in reiterating it. I know Patrick knows this, but what about Joe Bloggs who comes across this thread through a Google search? We can't assume he/she does.

    It's old news for regular posters on here, yes, but what proportion of active developers are active in the community?

    /rant

  • Sometimes a framework does not always allow complete separation of BL and UI ...

  • That's _NOT_ what I would consider a framework for the 21st century ... but I may be alone with that PoV.

    Architect of the SmartComponent Library and WinKit

    Consultingwerk Ltd.

  • you're absolutely right , that's not what we want also, but frameworks of twenty years ago that are still used today are sadly not transformed in a few seconds ... that's why we had the talk in Antwerp :)

  • It might be a question of requirements not just the PoV ;)

    Sometimes too many layers - MVC on the client, SI/BE/DA on backend are just a bit too much for getting some data from a database to display for the client, sometimes non-functional requirements like speed/performance can be equally important imho.

    Marian Edu

    Acorn IT 
    +40 740 036 212

  • > That's _NOT_ what I would consider a framework for the 21st century ... but I may be alone with that PoV.

    I would not consider an oe backend framework one for the 21st century. But I may be alone with that PoV.  :-)  

  • Which raises the question once more why you waste your time with us.

    Architect of the SmartComponent Library and WinKit

    Consultingwerk Ltd.