Compuware out to renovate, not demolish legacy apps

Compuware out to renovate, not demolish legacy apps

An aggressive marketing plan to sign up software developers is being spearheaded by Compuware with a plea to renovate legacy applications rather than detonate them and re-build new applications.

Behind the plan is Compuware's Uniface development environment designed for building client/server enterprise-scale applications. Compuware said the key feature of Uniface, now at version 6, is its ability to co-exist with legacy technologies - especially in the mid-range and mainframe user base.

Andre Pravaz, managing director of Compuware Australia and New Zealand, said a major problem facing software developers was that most development tools impose guidelines on interoperability. "It's difficult to build an integrated PowerBuilder or Delphi system that can re-use parts of your existing legacy systems," he said. "You cannot use Oracle's Developer 2000 to integrate your Informix, Sybase and Ingres data seamlessly," he added.

In agreement was Michael Limbrey, marketing manager of Genasys II - a reseller and devel-oper specialising in local government and mapping systems.

Faced with the need to redevelop its GenaC local government system in a client/server environment, the company did not want to face a complete redevelopment task.

Genasys II became one of the first resellers to take up the Compuware offer. "We adopted a strategy of moving to an open world using best-of-breed software tools," Limbrey said. He added that with Uniface, Genasys II could migrate its 50+ local government customers to client/server without going through a lengthy and costly redevelopment process.

Other software developers using Uniface include Stowe Computing and OPENPlus, while end users include Pioneer Concrete and Steggles.

US-based Compuware acquired Uniface from its European developers in 1994. Since then it has moved to establish its own subsidiary in Australia to sell Uniface and its professional services.

"As a tool, Uniface is able to not only call a 3GL, but also be called by a 3GL," explained Darren Adams, Compuware's national VAR manager. "This enables a high level of integration for legacy systems."

At the front-end, Uniface offers a wide choice of GUIs including Windows 95, Motif and Mac as well as character mode.

Interestingly, Compuware is pricing its Uniface product based on the end price a reseller charges the end user for a system, rather than a flat royalty per user. Compuware charges its reseller a percentage of the end price. On the up-side, the company is hoping to onsell Uniface licences to end users.

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