Web Migration of my old applications or die. Really?

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The time has come to migrate the technology  and your IT Management Director swears by the Web. He o wants all new applications (or almost all…) to be Web-based. The main argument being made is that all these web applications will be much easier to deploy and maintain. That there will be huge savings in fees. Should you make the web migration move.

Oh Web!  Oh how we adore you!

Some of your current applications actually contain a lot of business intelligence. Your users have gotten used to the way they’ve accessed it over the years.  Will a web migration allow you to preserve the integrity of your business intelligence and maintain the current level of usability?

In order to dispel any doubts discussion with your IT reveal that the traditional Web no longer exists. Today’s Web solutions are extremely powerful and enhanced with plug ins like Ajax and Flash. Not to mention the arrival of HTML 5 that everyone is raving about … to come. Strictly speaking, pure hardcore HTML development no longer exists. The future of the technology structure of companies is looking more and more like a hybrid of back-end applications and Web-based services that take advantage of client-end/browsers pumped up as if on steroids plug ins (Flash, Sliverlight, Air, etc.) or even client applications deployed locally on workstations (SmartClient, .Net Framework and Java Runtime).

Today’s applications use Web services and possess interface functionalities and also have the graphic capacity almost equal to that of conventional monolithic applications. This means that they must absolutely use the client-side “Framework” in order to benefit (read/ interpret) from these features and functions. Essentially, it’s like the client/server architecture that we’ve come to know so well as IT developer, with the difference being that the client-side uses an Internet browser…juiced up on plug ins!

The border between the two world, Web vs Windows, has become super blurred and the best solution is probably not one or the other; rather, most likely it’s a combination of these two types of Clients (browser with plug ins + custom local client).

What will tip the balance?

“I’m a decision maker, not an IT technician. So I asked for a graphical schema of a Web-based architecture and one to show Windows architecture, something just to be sure… (hum!)”. You want to be really sure if you must do a web migration.

So immediately you think “good heavens, that looks pretty much the same!”. On the one hand, we have a server. On the other,  client workstations with browsers that have multiples plugins.

In fact, the similarity sends you looking at other criteria to help you decide. First, you need to assess existing expertise: Sun (Java, PHO, MySql, Air, Adobe) or Microsoft (.Net, C#, VB, SQL) or Force.com and then the current pool of developers available for each of these technologies.

Then, given that the Open Source (Java) world is open to all. You can find technologies, APIs and “free” plugins. You need to ensure the competence of any technicians that you choose. On the Microsoft side, if you outsource, you will need to validate the and competence of the selected firm.

Subsequently, depending on the level of usability, compatibility, performance, and autonomy required, you can decide, for each application, its level of development in client mode or browser mode.

And then of course, there’s the entire question of Web 2.0 … and Enterprise 2.0 … and so on, and so on!

Have a great week,

Michel & Denis


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