OpenVMS is a very robust Operating system and many OpenVMS users have an application which runs so well on this platform that it is difficult to replace. Accordingly, most managers realize they need to extend the life of the application on this platform because it provides so much value to the company. Paramount to its long term survival is making it easier to modify and maintain, which is one of their biggest needs.
The Common Challenge:
How do you maintain and improve a legacy application when the operating system expertise upon which it is based is disappearing?
You solve this by getting “fresh blood” developing on your application and by leveraging environments with which they are familiar.
This can be done by using an Open Source based IDE which can be modified to support your legacy OS infrastructure and the 3GL languages they are written in. With the right tool you can extend the life of the application and ensure it is properly maintained for the future.
- Enterprise IDEs like NXTware Remote are developed for this need with Eclipse support on legacy systems in a distributed development environment.
- Integrated tools like source library management, code assist and code templates makes it easier to adapt to a new environment.
- NXTware Remote leverages a distributed integrated development system for OpenVMS and linux and it solves the problem for managers who can’t find OpenVMS developers for the projects they have.
Time is always an issue and one of the biggest challenges development managers have on mainframes like OpenVMS is finding the expertise in the marketplace to implement on-going development now.
- Market changes are happening at an increased rate, so changes in your mainframe applications need to address those changes in order to remain relevant.
- In addition to a need to augment your staff, managers have to worry about eventually replacing their existing staff who are getting older and closer to retirement with quality, trained developers.
- What managers need are younger, agile developers who can work in SCRUMs and familiar with the latest IDEs that run on Windows, MacOS or linux computers. That expertise is readily available and at competitive prices.
- For OpenVMS developers, that knowledge and experience is hard to find these days since it is not taught at universities and there are not many in IT that want to learn a legacy system using green screens and line editors.
So in many cases these projects are delayed because the in-house developers just don’t have the bandwidth to keep up with the changes that are being demanded by the user community. Several dynamics tend to happen:
- The developers you can find to join your team, find it hard to learn enough to help the existing staff (infrastructure training only slows the project down – if you had the time to train them).
- For legacy applications written in 3GL languages like COBOL, Basic, Fortran, Pascal and C, there are a limited number of consultants or developers available who know OpenVMS and those languages as well.
- Those that do have that skill set may be very expensive, unwilling to adopt to your infrastructure or unwilling to relocate. Most of the established developers are already working for other companies, making it harder still to recruit the talent you need.
Your best option is to recruit College level 4GL programmers with no OpenVMS experience and teach them how to develop on OpenVMS with NXTware Remote. By minimizing the new interfaces developers have to learn to start developing on the mainframe, you can abstract the OS dependencies so that file editing, compiling, testing and debugging on a mainframe are as familiar as doing it on the workstation.
This is the NXTware Remote solution and we can show how this reduces the time to learn development on a new OS. That is the subject of our next blog.