Modernization – Our Ever-changing Perspective

From the Age of Enlightenment to Scientific Revolution & Legacy Application

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It seems that every generation thinks that the methods they employ are so modern, and that generations past were so old school and out of touch. As technology evolves – and more and more computing power is integrated into our everyday lives – the generation gap seems to widen. Today, we read about cars that one day may drive themselves (a frightening thought), refrigerators that will order food to restock themselves (potentially a fattening thought), and smart houses that will adjust environmental and entertainment settings to our every whim (remember when you actually had to get up to change the television channel).

According to Wikipedia, the basic principles of modernization theory began in the late 1800’s in the Age of Enlightenment with the idea that people themselves could develop and change their society. The origins of this theory are based upon the pretexts of technological advancements, economic changes and social development and the effect they have upon moral and social values and how these lead to continuous progress and improvement in human affairs.

So our ideas and practices that technological evolutions will lead to societal advancement are about two hundred years old – not as modern as we thought! The Age of Enlightenment was also known as the Age of Reason, and was a time when traditional ways of thinking (the caste system and going along to get along) were challenged, and people committed to the betterment of society for all began to question and delve deeper into religion and government. Coinciding with this age was the Scientific Revolution spearheaded by Sir Isaac Newton; when modern theories of math, physics, astronomy, biology and chemistry transformed views of society, nature and their interactions.

The digital age of today with all our “modern” technology is progressing and evolving at an ever-quicker pace. So a state-of-the-art smartphone for instance, will be obsolete in a very short period of time – usually as soon as it hits the market! The same thing can apply to legacy applications – programs developed several decades ago with older  technology, but continue to be used productively today. But these original programs may be inefficient and require a great deal of maintenance. So, in order for companies utilizing this technology to retain their competitive edge, leveraging newer technology, or ‘modernizing’ is advised to increase productivity and reduce costs.  That includes modernizing Nonstop applications to integrate recent hardware advancements such as NonStopX, and migrate to modern frameworks such as Java, .NET and Web Services.  That’s what TIC Software provides its customers -solutions and services to help them benefit from modernization.

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Make Application Modernization a 2015 Priority

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Help Your Business (& yourself) with Application Modernization

It’s that time of year again – when our thoughts turn to the holidays and year-end business gets wrapped up. As we turn the page on the calendar and begin planning for the forthcoming year – many of us will make New Year’s resolutions – and the majority of us will fail to keep them. So, this year, let’s make one we can keep that will benefit both our business and ourselves by making our jobs a bit (and potentially a lot) easier – Application Modernization.

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3 Good Reasons for Application Modernization

Your company’s NonStop application was developed years, if not decades, ago; and you’re wondering whether to move on to new technology which may be a big headache, or update your current system, which you suspect may be an even bigger one. Well, fret no more as legacy application modernization may just be the answer you’ve been searching for… Continue reading

Extend Your NonStop with XML

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Extensible Markup Language, or XML, defines a set of rules for structuring and coding documents in a format that are both human and machine readable. XML is developed to be non-proprietary (open standards) and simple to implement for Internet usability. XML design focuses on documents, but is also widely used to represent data structures in applications such as web services. XML has also been employed for such diverse uses as communication protocols, source code configuration and is commonly used for data interchange via the Internet such as FIX and OFX (Finance), SWIFT (Banking), ACORD (Insurance) and many others. Continue reading

Data Analysis and Distribution with Cypress

For Easy Legacy Data Analysis & Distribution – the answer is Cypress

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Compiling and leveraging legacy data to help your business can be a challenge at times. The disparate document and data types stored, that need to be accessed and integrated into cohesive and comprehensible information, can make this task seem daunting. But fear not, help is on the way in the name of Cypress. Continue reading

Modernization Productivity- Part 3

III Measuring Modernization Productivity – measuring metrics for tangible benefits

Being able to show quantifiable progress and positive results for any undertaking is a good thing. In IT, obtaining data that shows a development project is on the right track to help the business is a great thing. And, when benefits may be measured both during a project’s development process, and after, to assist the company’s effort, that’s an extraordinary thing…

Implementing a mainframe application modernization project can have clear advantages and immediate impact. For both the IT group in particular, and the business in general, the results are beneficial and many. Especially when an innovative automation tool suite specifically designed for the job is brought to bear. Continue reading

Learning Modernization – Where to start?

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“Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end: then stop”
– “Alice in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll

So you want to learn more about using modern tools and programming in modern languages. Your problem is not a lack of information and resources, but rather too much information.  The challenge is: How do you begin? My recommendation is to start by getting familiar with the development standard tool, which in this case is Eclipse.

whereis-resized-600Why should you learn Eclipse?

  • Integrated Development Environment (IDE)
    An IDE is a software application that provides comprehensive facilities for software development. Whether you will be programming in Java or other modern languages, Eclipse is a great development tool to use .
  • It is FREE!
    Eclipse is open source, and can be downloaded free of charge from http://www.eclipse.org. Visual Studio from Microsoft is also an excellent IDE, but it does incur a licensing cost.
  • It is versatile
    Eclipse has many, many features. You can use it for something as simple as a full featured editor, or for more complex tasks such as debugging or automated testing. My advice is: stick with the basic features that you need to get started, and not worry about all the other features until you need them.
  • It is extensible
    Eclipse has an extensible plug-in system, which allows developers or 3rd party vendors to add additional functionality.  For example, the BluAge Modernization tool can generate code from models, as well as reverse model legacy COBOL programs into Java code.  Also check out some of these plug-ins for NonStop from Nexbridge.
  • It works with NonStop
    Besides being able to use Eclipse for developing applications on your desktop, you can also use Eclipse with NonStop.  In addition to supporting Java, the NonStop Development Environment Eclipse (NSDEE) allows you to work with C, C++, COBOL and pTAL.

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learnLearn once. Use anywhere (including NonStop)!

The advent of NSDEE provides a modern industry standard Eclipse based development environment for NonStop. It allows you to edit -> build -> deploy -> debug C, C++, COBOL and pTAL programs from your desktop. So, by learning how to use Eclipse once, you can apply your knowledge across multiple platforms and technologies!

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Do you find this tutorial blog helpful? Let us know what you think, and how we can make it even better. Don’t forget, you can subscribe to our blogs (top right-hand corner of this page) to get automatic email notification when a new blog is available.

Phil LyPhil Ly is the president and founder of TIC Software, a New York-based company specializing in software and services that integrate NonStop with the latest technologies, including Web Services, .NET and Java. Prior to founding TIC in 1983, Phil worked for Tandem Computer in technical support and software development.

 

Fix it before it breaks – Modernize now!

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Some people may believe in: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Unfortunately, this saying undermines the importance of investing in strategic options with foresight to avoid pending disasters.

A couple of cases in point:

oldpcI started my first job in the 1970’s with an intelligent terminal company called Sycor , which was eventually acquired by Northern Telecomm. In those days, Sycor terminals were used for Source Data Entry (key to disk), and its programming language was called – ironically – TAL for Terminal Application Language. It was an Assembler/Macro like language, which required one to work with registers, memory addresses and screen fields. When Sycor introduced the Sycor 440 machine in 1976, it had a whopping 64K of memory, a 10 MB hard disk, and a COBOL compiler. Surprisingly, I was one of the very few field personnel that knew COBOL at the time. When I asked some of the more senior Sycor analysts about COBOL, their response was: “Why would we need COBOL? Assembler language is faster and uses less memory!” Well, we all know that the world has moved past Sycor TAL and assembler programming languages.

talscreenFast forward to 2001: I was giving a web Enabling workshop to a NonStop customer in Chicago, when one of the senior COBOL programmers raised his hand and asked: “ COBOL works perfectly well for us. Why would we want do any of this web stuff?” That company was later acquired and sadly, they no longer use NonStop. None of the NonStop developers was asked to stay to work in the new IT environment, which was Unix, Java and totally web-based.

Today, the NonStop has a lot of modern technologies available, including support for SQL, web server, Java, Eclipse, SOAP and others. Yet, a lot of users still haven’t taken advantage of some or all of these new technologies. In many cases, they are still developing COBOL applications that use 6530 terminals, Enscribe files and interface with other platforms using FTP. Seriously, it is in your best interest to start considering options to modernize your NonStop environment.

“Why should I be interested in modernizing?”

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  • Prevent self-obsolescence
    Working with new technologies will expand your current and future employment opportunities.
  • It could make your job easier
    There are a lot of facilities, tools and utilities available in Java, Apache, SOAP, and other new technologies that are “off-the-shelf” which you can leverage without any coding
  • Build a stronger and more dynamic team
    If you are a manager, adapting new technology will create positive challenges for your current team, and make it easier to hire new staff.

“What should I do?”

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  • Make time
    I know that all of us are very busy at work, barely keeping our head above water. I encourage you to check out this blog “Create Time to Change Your Life.”
  • Pick one topic to start
    Any topic: Java, Web Service, Apache, etc. Instead of trying to learn everything about all the modern tools, pick just one thing to start learning. Start slowly but work on it consistently. If you are looking for a recommendation, I would suggest Java. Why? Because it is easy to set up and learn on your desktop, and you can test your programs on the NonStop very easily. In my next blog, I will cover more on Java and NonStop, and the benefits that it offers.
  • Look for free tutorials
    There are many excellent tutorial blogs and YouTube videos available. Here are some examples:

Also, visit our blog (http://www.ticsoftware.com/blog) for an upcoming series of Modernization Tutorial blogs and vides.

do_it_nowDon’t Wait. Start today.

In the history of IT, complacency and shortsightedness usually lead to obsolescence in applications, platforms and people. It may not be “broke” right now, but you can’t afford to wait for it to be broken before you try to fix it. By then, it will be too late.

help-resized-600Need professional service help? Contact TIC Software

If you need help to get started, you can benefit from our Workshops or Quick Start Service. TIC Software is ready to help you modernize your NonStop applications and develop new software solutions. Check out our Modernization Service suite on our web site.

Feedback please

Do you find this tutorial blog helpful? Let us know what you think, and how we can make it even better. Don’t forget, you can subscribe to our blogs (top right-hand corner of this page) to get automatic email notification when a new blog is available.

Phil LyPhil Ly is the president and founder of TIC Software, a New York-based company specializing in software and services that integrate NonStop with the latest technologies, including Web Services, .NET and Java. Prior to founding TIC in 1983, Phil worked for Tandem Computer in technical support and software development.