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10/29/2008
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Nexaweb Builds Framework To Migrate Legacy Apps To Web

In addition to Visual Basic, PowerBuilder and other scripting language applications, the company's Reference Framework can modernize some Cobol and C++ applications as well.

Nexaweb Technologies has taken Spring, the open source framework for building Java applications, and enhanced it to allow Nexaweb customers to convert legacy PowerBuilder, Visual Basic, and Oracle Forms applications into modern Web applications.

Nexaweb is a rich Internet application company that has previously built out a set of Java user interface components that make it easier to build an interactive user interface on Java applications designed to run on the Web. On Tuesday Nexaweb added the Nexaweb Reference Framework, its enhanced version of Spring, to its product line.

The Reference Framework lets an enterprise Java programmer recast the screen flow and business logic of a legacy application into the Java programming language, said Rob Gagne, VP of engineering, in an interview.

The framework can capture the files behind a Visual Basic screen, for example, and use them as a reference point for a Nexaweb application screen. "It gives you a strong starting point for the new application," said Gagne, and generates a workflow that matches the original application.

The framework shows the developer the legacy application's data sources and he can graphically tie them to the sequence of screens, with the framework's underlying plumbing providing the necessary connectivity. It uses XML data streams to tie the user interface in a browser Window to the Internet server application.

In addition to Visual Basic, PowerBuilder and other scripting language applications, the Reference Framework can modernize some Cobol and C++ applications as well, said Gagne.

Nexaweb is eight years old and has accumulated experience from 7,000 Nexaweb application deployments. The best practices of that experience have been built into the framework's application building process, Gagne said.

The Reference Framework is an addition to the Nexaweb Enterprise Web Studio, Version 5.0, which will become available in mid-December. The next Studio version will be designed to work in the open source Eclipse programmer workbench. It will support the use of various Nexaweb Java components, the dojo 1.1 and dojo.e toolkits, Ajax-based set of tools that are often used for Web applications where it's desirable for the Internet server to track user choices and movements and interact with them. Ajax toolkits provide a shortcut around the vagaries of JavaScript, one of the components of Ajax, and allow faster application construction.

Pricing on Nexaweb Enterprise Web Studio with Reference Framework starts at $22,750, contingent on type of license sought, Nexaweb spokesmen said.

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