Wednesday, 22 April 2015
I was invited to present Rapide at the recent COOLUp event in the Netherlands. Whilst the audience seemed very impressed by the product, one of the questions asked why we had decided to make a considerable investment in developing a new front end capability for CA Gen.
What lay behind this question was an assumption that most CA Gen sites are no longer considering using CA Gen to develop new applications and some are considering moving out of Gen.
What followed was an interesting discussion about the use and position of CA Gen within many organisations. The reality is that most sites that still use Gen have a considerable investment in applications that are still meeting the business needs, are very stable and are usually maintained by a small team of people.
The result of this stability and low staffing levels is that often management are unaware of the scale and complexity of the Gen systems and the good value that these systems provide. It is only when they accurately estimate the cost of replacing the systems that the true value is understood, at which point the sensible business decision is to stay with Gen. This is why many sites are still using it today.
The problem that can result from this is that Gen remains in a state of suspended animation - the applications remain and are maintained, but Gen is still not viewed as a strategic or even tactical development tool. The development organisation then does not make sufficient investment in the tool to maximise the benefits that they could derive from their considerable investment in the technology, skill sets and the models that have been developed over the years.
Coming back to the original question as to why we have developed Rapide, the answer is that we wanted to provide Gen users with greater choice and more reasons to stay in Gen.
Whilst Gen is incredibly strong in the development of back-end server and batch systems with industry leading capabilities for developing robust, scalable, platform independent applications, it is generally acknowledged that the front end capabilities of Gen are not as capable, which had lead some sites to use other options for developing the user interface.
At IET we feel strongly that the best way of developing applications is to use Gen for developing both the user interface and servers. It is much more productive and maintainable, but in the past has required you to accept the limitations of Gen's user interface capabilities.
We wanted to give Gen users an option to use Gen to develop robust, multi-platform UIs with Gen including mobile and web, and this was the main reason for developing Rapide.
You can now use Rapide to easily migrate existing Gen block-mode, GUI and web applications to a more modern and responsive user interface for a fraction of the cost, effort and risk compared with re-writing the application in another technology.