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Lawson Unveils 'Landmark' Technology

It will rewrite its own applications in what it calls domain-specific language that reduces the lines of code required, thereby increasing software quality.
Lawson Software Inc. on Monday unveiled a new technology aimed at increasing software quality by reducing the massive amounts of code required in an application. Code-named Landmark, the technology has been under development for more than three years by founder Richard Lawson and chief architect Richard Patton.

Landmark is a new method for generating application-specific code in Java based on a services-oriented architecture, says Jay Coughlin, president and CEO at Lawson Software. "Landmark reduces the amount of code required to build an application," he says. "It will generate thousands of lines of code, instead of a million, to develop an application. By reducing the lines of code in the application, the need for updates and patches for the software is reduced."

Lawson refers to Landmark as a "pattern language," which is a "domain-specific language" to create applications for precise business needs that more companies will begin to use to develop software applications, Patton says. "You'll soon see this concept used more often," he says. "What we did is build our own domain-specific language for business applications. It's an idea whose time has come."

Lawson software architects will spend the next several years rewriting the company's product line that had been originally written in Cobol. Customers will need only to upgrade to take advantage of the new applications when they're released. In about one year the software vendor plans to release a procurement application called Strategic Sourcing based on Landmark.

"The decision to move toward a service-oriented architecture where you're building reusable objects and tying them together through Web services makes my life easier from an integration perspective," says Dave Coyne, director of information services at Universal Health Services Inc. "Web services will allow me to tie external applications into those from Lawson far more easily than if Lawson's applications remain written in Cobol."

Lawson will deliver the procurement application as a component-based system with out-of-the-box Simple Object Access Protocol and WSDL Web-services interfaces. The application will allow companies to create a request for quote and publish it to a Web page, where suppliers can view the requests and bid on them. It will have a standard, Windows-based user interface accessible through a portal and built to be supported by IBM's core software, from WebSphere to DB2 to Tivoli to Rational.

Initially, Lawson will build its own software offerings on Landmark. But Coughlin says the software vendor is considering licensing the technology to others who want to develop new or customize existing applications.