fecherhas successfully applied their tool-based migration process to 16 legacy applications by Harris Local Government, written in Visual Basic 6. As a result of the 2-year-project, the ERP software is now a consolidated browser-based app with a modern user interface that is usable anywhere on any internet-connected device.The application-modernization specialists brought a code base of more than 2 million lines-of-code over to .NET and the web and ended up on budget.
Harris Local Government provides specialized, mission-critical software for the public sector. Their local government ERP solution is used by municipalities, counties and water and sewer districts throughout the United States. With more than 400 client installations, the software suite consists of 16 applications handling financial management, payroll as well as citizen services such as vehicle registration, property tax assessments and animal licensing. Originally written in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the Visual Basic 6 (VB6) platform could not keep up with today's requirements. With the support of fecher and an external design company, Harris was able to fully switch its software to leading edge technology.
"The clients who use our ERP software are relatively small municipalities with an average population of less than 10,000 and rarely over 10 users," as Joe LaBuda, Executive Vice President at Harris Local Government, explains. "Still, just like larger organizations, they want to decentralize and be able to work from different places. As we were looking at this as an investment we want to see a return on, the fixed-price option fecher offered was advantageous for us: We knew what the migration was going to cost and how our clients would benefit."
During the project, fecherran the applications one by one through their established migration model. The process starts by using a tool called vbPORTER to bring the VB6 code to .NET and converting it to C# and Windows Forms. winformPORTER, another automated tool, is then applied to web-enable everything. This allows the resulting applications to be used in a browser instead of on the Windows desktop. "As simple as this may sound, there is a lot of manual work to be done in between the automated steps," according to Andrea Bradea, the project manager for fecher. "However, the tools cover 80 to 90 percent of the effort, so they are what makes our migration model financially attractive to the client."
The cooperation also included an external web design company who created a modern, more sophisticated look-and-feel for the user interface, which fecher implemented.Other special challenges to solve on the way to the web included about 1200 templates in the ActiveReportsreporting tool which had to be migrated to a new .NET and browser-compatible version, as well the hard-coded connection to a receipt printer for which not even a Windows driver existed. "fecher was very responsive and the whole project felt much more like a partnership than just a customer-vendor type relationship," LaBuda concludes. "We ended up on budget in just 24 months with great results. Now that they have seen it, our users are keen to make the change sooner rather than later."
For the full story, see https://www.fecher.net/story-vb6-to-web-at-harris
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