Our most recent projects take advantage of the latest ‘hot off github’ frameworks. Where we can pick from the likes of laravel, ionic framework, bootstrap, AngularJS and CouchDB.
However, we regularly take on legacy business systems that are maybe not quite so modern. Two of which in particular spring to mind.
The first, is a configuration management system for a Hampshire based manufacturer of marine electronics.
The second is an ERP (enterprise resource planning) system for a Dorset based printing company.
Looking at the configuration management system first. This is a SaaS (Software as a Service) system rolled out in 2010. It was implemented in Adobe Flex (what Flash became). It was build using Apache ANT (Another Neat Tool), which is an MS-DOS command line tool. Just to add an extra layer of legacy technology, the original developers had used the Cairngorm Flex MVCS, which turned out to be a discontinued tool-chain on top of a dis-continued platform. The only way to get hold of parts of it (+ toolchain) was via archive.org. This all talks to a Windows SQL Server database via ODBC (64 bit version only).
Net result was we got the ~5 year old legacy SaaS software compiling and running with a selection of deprecated and unsupported tooling. We were able to carry out some modifications, do some releases and offer advice on what to replace it with. We also provided assistance with a Borland C++ 5.0 circa 1995 program – but that’s a story for another day.
The second project involved a local printing company ERP system. This had been supported by an in-house VB programmer until some budget cuts. The system was based on MS Access. However it had evolved over a period of many years into a very complex series of forms with unwieldy tables + Visual Basic code stitching it together. The terminology was very company-specific, so we had to spend time listening carefully to the managing director explaining his requests, then translating it into which Access form / report required changing and how.
The printing business was entirely run from this Access ERP system. Jobs booked, specified, scheduled, progress monitored. It even printed the dispatch labels.
Unfortunately there was not a budget available to re-implement. Though the advent of print management companies would mean a probable switch to one of their systems in the future.
Businesses in Hampshire and across the UK are running many legacy business software ERP and MRP systems. Having been in the IT industry since 1990, our staff have seen and experienced many of these. We have recovered long discontinued build tool-chains from the internet archive. We have built up tool-chains on legacy virtual machines (Win 3.1 is only about 37MB in total – some web pages are that big now). We have listened to development and management teams, understood your particular situation, provided consultancy and advice to move you towards extending and modifying your legacy systems.
Where budget is available we will re-implement using the latest (long term supported) frameworks, to keep your legacy business software running smoothly long into the future.