Converting Informix 4GL to Informix Genero Applications
Why should I convert my 4GL Applications to Informix Genero Applications?
Your Informix 4GL applications are fundamental to your business; too important to disrupt, too costly to rewrite and packaged applications simply don't cut it.
With Informix Genero, important applications can be rendered for the 21st century quickly, painlessly and cost effectively. By upgrading your application to Informix Genero you will:
- Save money on needless re-development
- Protect tens of man years worth of investment in domain specific development
- Protect your domain knowledge resources and competitive edge
- Adapt applications rapidly to changing market needs and business models
- Give users the state-of-the-art user interface they deserve
- Run applications across the desktop, web or smartphone concurrently
- Improve developer productivity
- Support industry standard databases including IBM DB2 and IBM Informix...
- Run apps indifferently between Unix, Linux or Windows without recompilation
- "One binary fits all": virtual machine architecture means compile once, test once, run anywhere
- Reduce the size of your program executables
The most valuable investment made in the development of any application is human; the intimate knowledge of your company's business and the effort needed to transcribe that on an ongoing basis into software processes is what differentiates you from the crowd.
Depending on the amount of time and resources at your disposal, you may adopt one of two approaches.
- Short term - simply recompile the existing application with Informix Genero and make minor 'tweeks' to the user interface. Adopt this approach if you need a solution in a matter of weeks. If you have limited resources and seek a short term solution:
- Your application will closely resemble the current one with information organized into screen forms of 25 rows by 80 columns. This is normal; your forms layouts respect the structure of IBM® Informix® 4GL. With a few minor modifications, widgets can be added to embellish the look and feel, but the structural field layout will be the same. The mouse is supported transparently - there is no need to program anything.
- Medium-long term - unleash the full power of Informix Genero; add drag and drop, web services, business graphics, and browser styles for a minimum of disruption with maximum effect. Expect a solution in several months. If you have the resources and want to invest in a long term solution:
- You want to rethink the ergonomics of your application. When you first developed your application, graphical objects such as tabs, folders, date, combo-boxes, radio boxes, tree widgets, picture-flow, multiple dialogs, the worldwide web, drag and drop didn’t exist.
- Resize tables, sort/hide columns, perform conditional input and display business graphics over the Internet without the need to write code.
- The ability to translate forms and add security templates will also dramatically reduce the number of forms your application calls upon. The end result will be a state-of-the-art graphical application.
Some considerations in converting I-4GL/D-4GLto Informix Genero:
- Fully exploit cross platform widget sets
Informix Genero introduces a new way to render screen forms by representing them logically as an XML tree. This method enables the logical abstraction of the business logic from the physical implementation of the client technology. As a result, applications may execute across multiple client technologies and fully exploit the local widget set, whether it be Windows, Linux, HTML or Java. User ‘A’ may be connected to Windows; User ‘C’ to a browser; while User ‘D’ is using a Linux or Motif workstation.
- IBM® Informix® 4GL compatible
Almost all of the language key words are the same and in many cases a simple recompilation of your I4GL source code with Informix Genero will still work, but the result will lack panache. To unleash Informix Genero’s power, form definition files and some parts of the code can and should be modified.
- Improve the ergonomics, reduce code length
As you review the design and ergonomics of your application, you will find it possible to reduce the number of forms and the code length - in some cases dramatically. Whereas in the past with IBM Informix 4GL, application presentation was embedded in the business logic, the use of an XML architecture with Informix Genero can reduce code length by anywhere between 50% and 75%. The result will be tighter more reliable code that executes faster than ever before.
- Informix Genero documentation
Informix Genero documentation will be very helpful during the installation of the product and during the conversion phase. The documentation includes also a list of new features, which may help you in modifying your application.
As with any major product conversion, the resulting project should to be thoroughly tested before deploying. It is recommended that I4GL and Informix Genero applications are tested side by side to make sure all the 4GL screens are rendered correctly in Informix Genero. More technical details about the conversion can be found under "Publications for IBM Informix Genero"