WRQ app speeds legacy retrieval

WRQ Inc. has announced an application mining solution called Apptrieve that is designed to help speed the integration of legacy data into electronic-commerce applications.

Apptrieve can assist enterprises facing mandates to provide World Wide Web access to old applications running on IBM Corp. mainframe host systems or on AS/400, VAX or Unix systems, said Shaun Wolfe, vice-president of host access at Seattle, Wash.-based WRQ.

John Mann, senior consultant/analyst at the Patricia Seybold Group in Boston, said in order to move processes to the Web, applications have to be written that access the legacy applications quickly enough to satisfy the user.

“If you want to get people to [file an application] on-line, you have to have these applications throwing data at each other in the background and without the user noticing,” Mann said.

The challenge for Web developers is they have to create Web interfaces without having access to legacy applications, Wolfe said. Apptrieve gives the developers a way to get at those applications without having a deep knowledge of how the legacy applications work, Wolfe said.

Web application developers with no expertise in host systems can use it to create the Web interfaces and the organizations that deploy the interfaces do not have to custom program or alter the host systems.

Another advantage to Apptrieve is it turns legacy data into objects, which define the parameters in which developers can work, giving them a “thoroughly modern programming style [they] can work with,” Mann said.

The mapping tool has a point-and-click interface that is used to create a graphical map of the legacy data. It then makes the data accessible through a standard database format, Java Database Connectivity, JavaBeans or Common Object Model objects.

The kit enables developers to access the legacy data objects, with embedded business logic, for use in the new applications. The Apptrieve kit integrates with Java, C++ and Microsoft Corp.’s Visual Basic as well as several application server environments, such as Apple Computer Inc.’s WebObjects.

New applications are deployed on the Apptrieve server, which is scalable and provides load balancing, session pooling and failover. It runs on Microsft’s Windows NT and Sun Microsystems Inc.’s Solaris platforms.

Apptrieve, which will be available Sept. 30, was developed from core technology that WRQ recently bought from Conextions Inc. It includes a graphical legacy application mapping tool, a software developer kit, and an enterprise server. The kit costs US$995, and the server costs US$20,000.

Jim Sinur, vice-president of application development and management at Gartner Group Inc., in Stamford, Conn., said WRQ competes against Attachmate Corp., IBM, OpenConnect Systems Inc. and Wall Data Inc. in the US$1.5 billion legacy extension market.

Sinur said Apptrieve is a logical solution for organizations that are falling behind in maintaining an e-commerce presence.

WRQ can be reached at www.wrq.com or at 1-800-872-2829.