'Legacy': A Bad Word for Software, Too

By Sean Nolan  |  Posted 2005-01-13 Print this article Print

How the right software development framework can save time and money.

For many businesses, "legacy" applies to more than just the stereotypical mainframe rapidly approaching oblivion in the data center. It also defines their software development approach, whether in the tools they use or the project methodologies they follow.

Beyond just updating or replacing its legacy system, a company must be prepared to overhaul its approach to the software development project that will solve the legacy problem.

Nick Rosser, director of Salmon LLC, a custom software development company in Mineola, N.Y., says the right development framework can cut project time lines in half by providing software engineers with what amounts to a development toolbox to speed their work. Salmon's own system is an open-source Java platform that offers prebuilt, tested pieces of code such as data-retrieval fields; lines of code are implemented in minutes, not hours.

Timothy Lam, lead programmer for a government agency in British Columbia, Canada, began using Salmon's framework three months ago to develop a Web-based intranet application. The integrated tools and shortcuts helped speed development and reduce costs, he says.

The right method of development can pay similar dividends, Rosser says. The "waterfall" approach, in which major planning and decisions are front-loaded and testing is back-loaded, isn't a one-size-fits-all solution. Rosser says many developers prefer the Rational Unified Process (RUP), which emphasizes building and testing components piece by piece as well as client involvement.

The payoffs: a reduction in project slippage, and applications that clients typically are ready to use at launch.


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