When it comes to software development, most companies prefer to focus on developing new applications. Yet updating legacy apps is a necessity for many businesses due to the significant investments they've already made.
Sencha hopes to make application modernization easier for some Oracle customers through its partnership with 4Morphis, which sells a product called Forms Converter. According to the 4Morphis website, it "aims to be the world's number one Oracle Forms conversion tool."
4Morphis licenses Sencha's web application development technology, including its Ext JS framework, to create its conversion engine, a software-as-a-service product written in Ext JS 6.1, explained Scott Mullarkey, VP Global Alliances and Professional Services at Sencha, in an email.
Using the tool, Oracle Forms enterprise apps can be automatically converted into Sencha Ext JS source files with retained business logic, without having to rewrite code or discard any existing application investments. Once converted, Sencha's Professional Services team works with developers to customize the application design, compose the Ext JS-based application elements into a web application and test it.
"The converter automatically reads the Oracle Forms and converts them into a web app with Ext JS HTML5 output," Mullarkey said. "Many customers will use the Sencha web application lifecycle management platform, including Ext JS, to modernize the front-end of their apps, so the UI is more modern and the application can utilize advanced data visualization and analytics capabilities."
Sencha last year announced an integration with the Oracle Mobile Cloud Service, which allows the modernized apps to be deployed on-premises or in a public, private or hybrid cloud.
The Sencha/4Morphis approach works better than prior approaches to modernization, which involved porting Oracle Forms apps to Java where they could run in a Java EE container and integrate with Java and web services, Mullarkey said.
"Isolating forms in a Java container helps users protect large legacy investments in Oracle Forms, but does little to help them adopt technologies, workflows and expertise that align with modern practices," he said. "The Sencha/4morphis solution enables Forms users to easily adapt to the needs of modern end users and development teams without abandoning or re-implementing their legacy investment. In addition to preserving existing business logic and forms, our solution delivers Ext JS application source code that follows modern design principles and adheres to a well-structured architecture. This makes the application easier to improve and maintain, both by Oracle Forms developers as well as modern web development teams."
The modernized applications are based on HTML5, he added, so they can be used from a variety of browser-based and native environments. In contrast, Java is not always available in some browsers or mobile devices, so approaches to modernization that require the use of Java can limit options for end users.
The Oracle Forms Modernization Service is available today, Mullarkey said.
Mullarkey said Sencha recently released another modernization technology based on its Ext JS framework, working with CNX, a partner that provides a product for modernizing IBM i Series platforms (AS/400). CNX offers a product called Valence (written in Ext JS), which runs in a native IBM i Series environment and allows developers to write Ext JS applications using the IBM i Series as the back-end.
"We are looking at other possible modernization technologies, based on our customers' needs," he said.