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All of you VB developers in the present or past would probably find it hard to believe that the old VB code can be migrated and modernized into the latest .NET based HTML5 without having to rewrite the application. But we have been working on such tools for the past couple of years and already have several real world applications that were fully 'transposed' from VB6 (VB6 to Web).
The solution is called Instant CloudMove and its main tool is called the TranspositionStudio. It is a unique solution that relies on the concept of transposition. Transposition comes from mathematics and music and refers to exchanging elements while everything else remains the same or moving an element as is from one environment to another. This means that we are taking the source code and put it in a modern technological environment with relatively few adjustments.
The concept is based on a set of Mapping Expressions which are basically links between an element in the source environment and one in the target environment that has the same functionality. About 95% of the code is usually mapped out-of-the-box and the rest is handled with easy-to-use mapping tools designed for Visual Studio developers providing them with a familiar environment and concepts for completing the mapping and allowing them to extend and customize existing mapping expressions. The solution is also based on a circular workflow that enables developers to make any changes as required until the result is satisfying.
As opposed to existing migration solutions that offer automation are usually a “black box” to the user, the transposition concept enables full visibility, flexibility and control over the code and process at all times allowing to also add/change functionalities or upgrade the UI within the process and tools.
This is exactly the case with our customer’s aging VB6 PMS (Property Management System) which needed a technological update as well as a design refresh. The decision was to move the VB6 application which had about 1 million lines of code into the latest web technology. Since the application was initially written 13 years ago and had many upgrades since the code must be very patchy and includes unused sections. As a result, the company Mihshuv Group considered rewriting the entire application in Java since it already had the knowledge. Rewrite would allow starting with a clean slate and designing functionality, database architecture, UI without any constraints. On the other hand, rewrite entitles a long and detailed specification work as well as a thorough QA and this translates into a long project with high risk and costs.
So the company looked for a migration solution as an alternative; the research lead to Gizmox and after examining the technology it was decided to perform a hybrid project which would include an automatic transposition of the core of the VB6 application (200,000 lines of code) while they redesigning the UI, adding new functionality, deleting unused code and rewriting about 140 reports with Crystal Reports will be done manually using Visual WebGui development tools.
The migration part of the project was completed in 65 days by 3 developers from Mihshuv Group guided by Gizmox migration experts while the rewrite and UI upgrade tasks took about the same. So in only a few months period Mihshuv Group generated an up-to-date product, written in the latest Web technology with modern, friendly UI and improved functionality.
Guest selection screen of the original VB6 PMS
Guest selection screen on the new web–based PMS
Compared to the initial plan to rewrite the entire application in Java, the hybrid migration/rewrite approach taken by Mihshuv Group using Gizmox technology proved as a great decision. In terms of time and cost there were substantial savings; from a project that was priced for at least a year (without taking into account the huge risk and uncertainty) it became a few months project only.
More about this and other customer stories can be found here
A lot has been written recently about how we live in the Post-PC world. But what does mean practically?
Up until relatively recently, even as smartphones became more technology capable and increasingly widespread, there was still a clear boundary between ones mobile phone and one’s computer (whether a desktop or laptop). Mobile phones, even with the ability to check and send emails, check the news, or find the best directions on how to get to a specific restaurant, were still largely thought of primarily as a device to make and receive phones calls and text messages. Computers though, were still THE location to store your important documents, spreadsheets and software programs, and most importantly, it was still the place to get your work done. Cell phones were nice, but were put to the side of your computer when you really needed to get something done.
Those “boundaries” are rapidly disappearing. Mobile phones are mini computers in every sense of the word, and the latest devices seem to encompass every function one needs, whether it is for personal use or even for accessing information and applications for work purposes. And of course it’s not just phones. Tablet computers, led of course by the great success of the iPad, but also including a dizzying choice of devices from Microsoft, Google’s Android platform, RIM and others, have further blurred the clarity in how we should define a “computer” vs. a “mobile" device.
This is all being accelerated by the development and growth of data and programs being stored and accessible on the cloud, so the app or database or whatever it may be does not sit anymore on the computer hard drive or server at work. So one can use just about any device to connect to these programs and information. This change is being scene in what is being called the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device to work) phenomenon. It’s the consumerization of IT in a way.
Yes the times they are a-Changin’.
This breaking down of borders in the Post-PC world of course affects software developers as well in the enterprise arena. Developers are seeing the advantages of developing for HTML5, so their applications can be accessible on any device, inside or outside the office.
With that in mind, we at Gizmox are excited to release a newly enhanced version of our Visual WebGui .NET HTML5 & Enterprise Mobile solution. The new version, in addition to being the first framework to allow classic form-based .NET development for cross-platform, cross-browser and plugin-free HTML5 web applications, it also now includes the Enterprise Mobile framework. This gives developers a platform for development of data-centric, business web & mobile .NET HTML5 applications.
This version empowers developers and organizations to consolidate their entire development efforts into one place as it is a one-shop platform for web and cross-mobile applications. Thus eliminating the need to specifically develop for different platforms and using the same code base for all targets.
It’s the perfect framework for the BYOD era and the post-PC era.
The key features of the new version include:
- Automatic selection of rendering mechanism by the browser, according to the best browser compatibility (IE, for example, renders faster with XSLT, Chrome with jQuery, and so on).
- Lighter HTML structure that improves performance and reduces rendering time.
- Fully HTML5 compatible document type (does not require Quirks mode in IE).
- Maximizing browser capabilities, by automatically identifying the support each browser has for HTML5 and CSS3 different capabilities.
- Full support of CSS3 Visual Effects - adding to controls or application themes a variety of visual effects, such as gradients, transitions, rotations, shadows, animations, and more.
- New Web 2.0 layout controls - StackPanel and stacked controls.
- 2 out-of-the-box sample mobile themes.
- Built-in native-like scrolls (iScrolls) for browsers without visible scroll bars.
- Optimize the balance between client and server responsibilities by moving activities to the client.
- Provide offline capabilities as a fallback for periodically connectivity losses.
To download the new version, go to www.visualwebgui.com/download.aspx
To see a Live Demo from your Mobile Device, please click here http://126.96.36.199:8080/c.
We would love for you to try out the tool for yourselves and let us know what you think.
Moving from location to location requires strong roads. When crossing a barrier though, like a body of water or valley, we are required to build a strong bridge to get us from point A to point B in a way that is fast, safe, and easy.
Yet we are not talking here about driving a car or riding a bus. As we in the computing world are evidencing the move to the post-PC era, modernizing and migrating legacy applications to harness the power of HTML5 web, cloud and mobile is one of the most difficult challenges enterprises have faced. Constant technological changes have weakened the business value of legacy systems, which have been developed over the years through huge investments.
There are several risks of course in this move. Do you choose to simply rewrite code of legacy apps and transform them to HTML5 one by one? This is quite expensive (according to research firm Gartner, the cost is $6 - $26 per line of code). Of course, the pace of the rewriting process is very slow – around 170 lines per day for each developer – which slows down business productivity in a world in which no organization can afford to fall behind. Other questions include whether the new cloud-based apps will have the same functionality as the trusted applications that worked for you for years. How will the user experience be affected? And of course, what about data security?
So we are faced with the challenge of building a sturdy bridge to stabilize our move in order to allow us to confidently and easily move our legacy applications into the post-PC era.
We at Gizmox are excited to release the first downloadable Community Technology Preview (CTP) of our Instant CloudMove Transposition Studio.
Developers: To download the tool, and try it out for yourself, please visit http://www.visualwebgui.com/download.aspx.
The CTP is the first and only tool-based solution allowing any Microsoft Visual Studio developer to extend VB6 and .NET enterprise client/server applications into HTML5 web, cloud and mobile applications, including the ability to upgrade their code and UI while doing so. It is the only solution to fully replicate enterprise desktop applications behavior in the post-PC era.
With Instant CloudMove, the transposed application is available on any mobile or tablet device, browser and across any client operating system. Moreover, the extended application logic and data remains on the server behind the fire-wall and therefore the application’s front end is secured-by-design.
We would love for you to try out the tool for yourselves and let us know what you think.
How are you finding the move?
Yesterday brought a lot of news coverage that Cisco has stopped funding and planning its Cius enterprise-grade tablet.
Citing “market transitions” in which an increasing number of people bring their own smartphones and tablets to work, Cisco General Manager OJ Winge said in a post on the company's official blog that “Cisco will no longer invest in the Cisco Cius tablet form factor, and no further enhancements will be made to the current Cius endpoint beyond what’s available today.” Employees are “bringing their preferences to work” and collaboration “has to happen beyond a walled garden,” he said.
The blog post also cited a recently released Cisco study which found that 95% of organizations surveyed allow employee-owned devices in some way, shape or form in the office, and, 36% of surveyed enterprises provide full support for employee-owned devices.
How is Cisco planning to move forward to adapt to this changing business environment? Instead of focusing on tablets for enterprise customers, Cisco will instead "double down" on software that works across a variety of operating systems and smart phones and tablets, Winge said.
See the post from the Cisco blog here - http://blogs.cisco.com/collaboration/empowering-choice-in-collaboration/
We at Gizmox recognize this need to adapt to the changing environment. Our Enterprise Mobile solution is designed and built for that post-PC, BYOD business world. We recognized the importance of providing a cross-platform solution that can easily target different devices and operating systems. We went with a web-based mobile application approach in order to achieve that and we decided to go with the new open web standard - HTML5.
Our solution however provides both client and the server side programming and its uniqueness is that it allows those cross-platform HTML5 mobile applications while developing within Visual Studio using classic visual form based development. As a result, .NET developers can build secure, efficient, data-centric enterprise mobile application for cross platform mobile devices with their existing skills and tools.
See our new video about our EnterpriseMobile solution
Enterprise applications today need to work on all devices, across different platforms and OS’s. It’s just a fact of life.
How about you – do you bring your own device to work? What’s your company’s BYOD policy?
I know it is a bit late, but better late than... you know how it goes. So here is the detailed documentation of the latest WINWEB version 6.4.0 Release d / .NETHTML5 Beta3.
The document is documenting the many new features added to the recent release, but it also touches base with more basic framework functionality. The purpose of the document is to serve Visual WebGui beginners as well as to support more advanced Visual WebGui developers.
We decided to release the documentation even that it is not yet fully completed, so our community can use it. We think it would better serve the community to release what we already completed and then update it as soon as we have completed more chapters. So missing chapters such as the new DockingManager control will be added in the near future. As always, we welcome any comments and corrections.
To access the document, go to the downloads section here, and you will find it within the Documentation section near the bottom in the WINWEB and .NETHTML5 columns. Or directly download it from this link.
The recording of the webinar we did with Forrester Research recently is now available. At this opportunity I would like to thank Jefferey Hammond of Forrester who did a great job in discussing the Open Web, Cloud computing and Mobility trends and presenting the new development challenges they bring and why organizations need to rethink their application development strategies.
The 2nd part of the webinar is a presentation from Gizmox, discussing the Instant CloudMove assessment and transposition tools, which support those trends Jefferey Hammod talked about and help companies extend Windows apps to HTML5 and mobile platforms.
The video is available through the visualwebgui website and it is free of course:
I would like to share a post from the Visual WebGui Blog on ASP.NET. The post "The link between Windows CE/Windows Mobile applications, ASP.NET and HTML5" discusses the developer's alternatives when facing the need to update applications that were written for Windows CE and Windows Mobile. If you have written such application you are again facing a critical decision since Microsoft's current mobile platform - Windows Phone has no backwards compatibility to those not so old platforms.
"(organizations)...need to make a decision about the technology and platform which they are going to rewrite the application on and obviously whether it is even cost-effective to rewrite the application all over again. Microsoft Windows Phone would be the natural decision as it can be developed in Silverlight within Visual Studio 2010"
The post presnets a more complete alternative than redesigning it for Windows Forms; a framework that is also based on .NET but the outcome is not limited to Microsoft Windows Phone but can run on almost any platform and any device via the mobile browser. There is also a link to a showcase of a large telecom company that converted an old Windows CE application into a web-based mobile application with HTML5 front-end. This allowed the company to upgrade the UI and freed them from the limitation to a certain mobile platform, so now they can use any Smatphone and Tablet they want.
Jeffrey Hammond, a Prinicipal Analyst at Forrester Research will be co-presenting with Gizmox a free webinar tomorrow (April 24, 1PM EST) and will speak about market trends in enterprise software development and the changes brought on by the move to web apps and open web architectures.
After a long wait and huge anticipation from the Visual WebGui community, I am happy to announce the release of new versions for the WINWEB and .NETHTML5 branches. The new 6.4.0 Release d and 6.4.0 beta3 versions are available after an extensive work on core capabilities of Visual WebGui including extension of existing controls and adding new controls such as Strip Controls, RibbonBar, DataGridView, ComboBox, PropertyGrid and RadioButton as well as some major enhancements to both versions in terms of cross-browser support and performance.
We apologize for the delay in the release of those most expected versions, but we believe that the extra time lead to a more mature and complete product. As you can see the changelog is pretty long and includes a list of enhancements, new features and bug fixes: http://visualwebgui.com/Developers/KB/tabid/654/article/w_changelogs/Default.aspx
The new versions are available for all versions with open sources for Visual Studio 2005, 2008 and 2010.
You are welcome to download the WINWEB Free Trial and the Free .NETHTML5 beta on the downloads page.