5 myth-busting reasons for choosing an automatic migration against a manual rewrite

13. October 2009 10:22 by enassar in General  //  Tags: ,   //   Comments (0)

There are still many myths out there surrounding software migrations. Through all the years we have found not only that many people still ignore that there are automatic migration tools available, but some believe that automation is just more trouble than it’s worth, and that, besides, it is just plain better to start from scratch. To concur with this idea is, for starters, to simply devalue all of the effort and thought that was put into developing the application, therefore willing to risk years of business knowledge embedded in these systems.

In any case, the truth is that a rewrite from scratch implies a much more difficult task, but due to these misconceptions, valuable resources are wasted in projects that sometimes just never get to see a successful ending. There’s no doubt that any software renewal project isn’t a simple, overnight task, but a well-planned automated migration can make the process comparatively painless. So once you learn about the availability of advanced migration technologies that allow generating code of a superior quality, with a much lower project cost, time and risk, you will definitely agree that using automated migration tools as part of an overall software renewal initiative is the most viable way to leverage the current investment in legacy applications and move them to the latest platforms.

With that in mind I just wrote a white paper highlighting the main myth-debunking reasons why an automatic migration is a far better software modernization approach than a manual rewrite, based not only on ArtinSoft’s own experience in migration projects but on all the customer and industry analyst feedback and evidence gathered over the years.

So click on the link and read or download for free the “5 myth-busting reasons for choosing an automatic migration vs. a manual rewrite” white paper.

Upcoming Webcast on VB 6 and Windows 7 Compatibility Alternatives

21. September 2009 10:23 by enassar in General  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

Last month we delivered a webcast around the different options to get applications originally developed in Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0 running on the Windows 7 operating system. It also covered some of the business reasons for getting applications to work with Windows 7 and the benefits provided by that operating system and the .NET Framework. We did this with Microsoft Latinamerica, so it was in Spanish, but many people asked for an English version of the presentation. Hence, we partnered again with Microsoft to develop a similar webcast entitled “Visual Basic 6 and Windows 7: Alternatives for Application Compatibility”, scheduled for Thursday, October 15, 2009 1:00 PM Pacific Time. This live event is part of Microsoft’s “Momentum” initiative, which is designed for growing and mid-sized organizations and provides expert advice, tips, and techniques to align IT with your strategy and drive your business forward.

Register for this free VB6 / Windows 7 compatibility webcast

Leading ISV for the Insurance sector saves time and money and ensures high quality, 100% .NET code by licensing the VBUC

8. September 2009 06:33 by enassar in General  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

Recently, one of customers in the UK, an Independent Software Vendor with headquarters in Bristol, told us that they managed to save about 14 man/months by using ArtinSoft’s VB to .NET tool to migrate their flagship application, comprised by 59 VB6 projects and a total of more than 550,000 lines of code.


We are talking about a critical, comprehensive processing platform used by insurers, managing agents, third party administrators and business process outsourcers, with installations in the UK, Ireland, USA, Middle East, Far East, China and Africa, and Activus really needed to ensure compliance for these customers in the international health insurance sector.


There were definitely some time constraints, plus the value and complexity of the business logic embedded in the application didn’t favor a manual rewrite. So they licensed the Visual Basic Upgrade Companion and performed the migration in-house, and managed to maintain the current application’s architecture while moving the visual controls to .NET native controls. Additionally, coding patterns were consolidated, and data access models (ADO) were upgraded to ADO.NET.


In the end, Activus not only was able to cut down the migration time substantially, but the benefits of the Visual Basic Upgrade Companion went beyond time and cost reductions: the resulting code was far superior from the one generated by other migration tools. As Chris Routleff-Jones, Solution Architect at Activus puts it:  “We found the Visual Basic Upgrade Companion to be a very powerful, easy to use migration product. Not only did it speed up the conversion process, allowing us to save time and money, but we ended up with high quality, 100% native .NET code. In fact, we were particularly impressed by the VBUC’s ability to analyze the code and detect patterns that are upgraded to .NET-like, native structures, making the output fully readable and maintainable”.


Read the complete Activus VB to .NET migration case study


Italian ISV licenses the VBUC to quickly and cost-effectively migrate their flagship software suite

5. August 2009 08:35 by enassar in General  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

Using ArtinSoft’s powerful VB to .NET migration tool to convert their 3,000,000 lines of code Sistema Professionista to VB.NET, Wolters Kluwer Italia saved 2 years of work, while increasing developer productivity and ensuring continued application evolution.


Based in Milan, Italy, IPSOA is part of Wolters Kluwer, a leading global information services and publishing company. Their Accounting/Fiscal client/server system was a suite of applications developed in Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0 that required deployment on a per-customer basis, using an installer for each workstation. IPSOA required a more sophisticated deployment approach for its thousands of clients, plus ensuring continued support from Microsoft and application evolution while maintaining the current architecture, so they licensed ArtinSoft’s Visual Basic Upgrade Companion to migrate the flagship application to VB.NET. ArtinSoft’s VB to .NET migration product was able to comply with very explicit requirements, like using COM Interoperability to interact with the libraries and controls used in the original system, mapping of the Datafield property of some controls to a new generated class, precise solutions for the conversion of the Recordset Source Property, While statement, Redim and Control Arrays, and implementing support for additional third-party controls


Through a phased upgrade approach recommended by ArtinSoft, the customer was able to reduce even further the risk and amount of allocated resources on the migration project, while keeping in parallel the development and maintenance of the VB 6.0 code. Overall, the migration to the .NET platform will strengthen the technological advantage over competing products and will open the possibilities for quick application enhancement, with highly increased developer productivity.


As Roberto Fusè, lead resource at IPSOA for the VB migration project said, ArtinSoft is a qualified company that has made of the intelligent automation one of its prerogatives of core business. By using the Visual Basic Upgrade Companion, IPSOA was able to save 2 years of work, receiving from ArtinSoft’s the support necessary to customize the tool, which allowed the evolution of the product using the features of Microsoft’s .NET Framework and the new development tools”.


Read the complete Wolters Kluwer Italia VB to .NET migration case study.

Webcast: Reasons to Migrate Visual Basic 6 to .NET and Migration Options

24. July 2009 06:11 by enassar in General  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

We have partnered with Microsoft to deliver another VB6 to .NET migration webcast next Tuesday, August 04, 2009 at 11:00 AM Pacific Time (US & Canada). Presented by Esteban Brenes, Migration Specialist at ArtinSoft, this 1-hour live presentation addresses concerns about the termination of all development support for Visual Basic 6 and other business and technical drivers, providing a detailed explanation on how to move ahead while preserving the capital invested in applications in the most cost-effective way.

Register now for this free VB migration webcast

New VB6 and ASP Assessment Tool

16. July 2009 05:16 by enassar in General  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

We’ve just released a new VB6 and ASP Assessment Tool, which analyzes Visual Basic 6.0 and ASP projects in order to obtain an inventory of the code, components and their relationships. It generates a group of HTML and Excel reports that can be used as the basis for further calculations related to the effort and cost of converting the application to Visual Basic .NET, C#, and ASP.NET. The tool is free to download, very simple to install and run, and you can use the results to obtain a quick ballpark for a turn-key project performed by ArtinSoft or find out how much will a license of our Visual Basic Upgrade Companion will cost  (use the number of code plus design lines in both cases).

How an ISV saved more than 3 years and $300,000 migrating from VB6 to VB.NET

17. February 2009 05:19 by enassar in General  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

We’ve just released a new case study that shows how one of our customers saved lots of time and money by using our Visual Basic Upgrade Companion tool to migrate its flagship application from VB to .NET. Based in South Africa, MDA Property Systems provides software solutions to the real state sector. Its MDA Property Manager application is a comprehensive package for rent collection, lease management, facilities management, integrated property accounting and asset management, employed by more than 1800 users across 250 companies. With more than 600,000 lines of VB6 code it encapsulated decades of business knowledge, so MDA licensed our tool to perform the conversion to VB.NET with minimal risk and using their own internal resources, after discarding a manual rewrite and the Upgrade Wizard


Also, it was very important for MDA to use the newest technology instead of just being able to run Visual Basic 6 style code inside the .NET Environment, and using ArtinSoft’s Visual Basic Upgrade Companion guaranteed that they will be getting native .NET code, without any ties to third-party runtimes. RDO was transformed to ADO.NET, third party controls were converted to native .Net controls, Component One’s True DB grid was upgraded to the latest version of that component, and coding standards that were common place when developing in Visual Basic 6.0 were also migrated to equivalents in VB.NET. It allowed MDA to save on valuable resources: total savings for this project were more than 3 years of development time and US$300,000, and they are now ready to start taking advantage of compelling new features that will extend the technological life of its product.


Read the complete MDA case study here

VB to .NET migration campaign in the UK

26. January 2009 11:31 by enassar in General  //  Tags: ,   //   Comments (0)

Starting tomorrow January 27th we will be engaging with Microsoft on a campaign aimed towards helping companies and developers in the UK move their Visual Basic 6.0 applications to the .NET platform. This is not the first time we provide migration solutions in that territory, since we have lots of customers there already (you can read some of our case studies and references here), but this is the first occasion we join forces on a massive scale effort locally with 2 of our major partners: Microsoft and Avanade. ArtinSoft will be providing tools, resources and guidance, along with limited-time offers during this campaign. For example, we’ll have a 10% discount on licenses of our Visual Basic Upgrade Companion for the enterprise level, while launching the Visual Basic Upgrade Companion Developer Edition at a special introductory price of only £199. For those who require a turn-key solution, we have also partnered with Avanade to deliver the most comprehensive, cost-effective Visual Basic 6.0 to .NET migration solution. So if you are based in the UK and still have Visual Basic 6.0 investments that need to be leveraged, click here to learn more about this campaign, and contact us as soon as possible to take advantage of this unique opportunity.

How much does a VB to .NET migration costs?

15. December 2008 12:42 by enassar in General  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

If you are familiar with VB to .NET migration projects, you certainly know by now that this is not a trivial task. And with the state of the economy today, saving up on scarce, valuable resources is a must. That’s when an automated software migration solution proves to be the most viable approach, constituting the most cost-effective, non-disruptive method of application renewal.


I recently read an excellent article in ASP.NET PRO magazine, where Alvin Bruney offered some insight on the challenges of migrating VB6 applications, providing some estimation on the overall effort. For starters, he accurately notes how a large part of the cost in these projects is related to the QA process, something we’ve definitely seen in large, complex enterprise application upgrades, as it usually represents around 50% of the total time.


He then provides some numbers regarding the cost for VB to .NET migration projects: $1/LOC for simple applications, $3-$7/LOC for large enterprise systems, and $10-$15/LOC for the more complex ones. However, this varies a lot from one project to another, depending not only on the complexity of the application and target requirements, but also on the quality of the tools and the skills available for the migration. For example, due to a proven methodology, consultants with broad experience in VB to .NET migration projects and powerful conversion tools, a turn-key solution delivered by ArtinSoft, taking care of the complete migration up to functional equivalence in the target language, is generally between $1-$2 per line of source code. This includes the Supplier Testing activities, though not the User Acceptance Testing, where the customer finally certifies functional equivalence through predefined test cases. And of course there are other post-migration costs involved, like those related to the new application’s deployment and enhancement, but I think it is safe to say that the cost per line of code for the migration itself, on a turn-key basis, is rarely higher than $3.


Moreover, when time to market is a critical factor, this automated migration solution just can’t be beat. For example, a recent customer estimated that rewriting from scratch his highly complex, business critical, 100,000+ LOC VB6 application would take him up to 2.5 years, while using ArtinSoft’s comprehensive solution allowed him to release the C# version in less than 6 months. And using only about 1/17th of the resources required for a rewrite. Expect the case study soon, but trust me: we’re not talking n00bies here ;-) And another example I mentioned on my last post described how a recent customer cut down the project time in 1 year, representing savings of about $160,000.


On the other hand, calculating how much it will cost for someone who licenses our Visual Basic Upgrade Companion to perform the migration in-house is more complicated, since it depends greatly on his dexterity. But just to provide another example of how much our solution reduces the effort, another customer with a 550,000 LOC application recently told us he managed to save 14 man/months by using ArtinSoft’s tool internally, instead of the Upgrade Wizard that ships with Microsoft’s Visual Studio.


In any case, as Bruney wrote on the aforementioned article “automation is the key to containing cost”. But watch out for conversion tools that will only cause you to waste your time and money. Some of our customers have tried some of these options in parallel before choosing our tool, but a few were lured instantly by the deceivingly low prices. Most of the latter have come to us in the end, frustrated with the poor results.


By the way, the article says that “the migration tool takes you to VB.NET only”. I assume the author is talking about the Upgrade Wizard, since even a couple of the tools I referred to above convert to C#, but the Visual Basic Upgrade Companion is the only one that allows migrating effectively to both VB.NET AND C#. Finally, if you have settled for C# as the target language, I should warn you again about the infamous double-jump approach, that is, converting from VB6 to VB.NET and then to C# (the author mentions this option, though he doesn’t exactly recommends it). We’ve seen a couple of customers who tried that and found it really problematic, to say the least. In fact, they finally decided it was a whole lot easier starting all over from VB6 and using our tool to move to C# directly.

Legacy transformation alternatives revisited

3. November 2008 11:41 by enassar in General  //  Tags: ,   //   Comments (0)

Today Eric Nelson covered the quasi-legendary legacy transformation options graph on his blog. Taking into account the 4 basic alternatives for legacy renovation, that is, Replace, Rewrite, Reuse or Migrate, this diagram shows the combination of 2 main factors that might lead to these options: Application Quality and Business Value. As Declan Good mentioned in his “Legacy Transformation” white paper, Application Quality refers to “the suitability of the legacy application in business and technical terms”, based on parameters like effectiveness, functionality, stability of the embedded business rules, stage in the development life cycle, etc. On the other hand, Business Value is related to the level of customization, that is, if it’s a unique, non-standard system or if there are suitable replacement packages available.




This diagram represents the basic decision criteria, but there are other issues that must be considered, specifically when evaluating VB to .NET upgrades. For example, as Eric mentions in his blog post, a lot of manual rewrite projects face so many problems that end up being abandoned. One of ArtinSoft’s recent customers, HSI, went for the automated migration approach after analyzing the implications of a rewrite from scratch. They just couldn’t afford the time, cost and disruption involved. As Ryan Grady, owner of the company in charge of this VB to .NET migration project for HSI puts it, “very quickly we realized that upgrading the application gave us the ability to have something already and then just improve each part of it as we moved forward. Without question, we would still be working on it if we’d done it ourselves, saving us up to 12 months of development time easily”. Those 12 months translated into a US$160,000 saving for HSI! (You can read the complete case study at ArtinSoft’s website.)


On the other hand, for some companies reusing (i.e. wrapping) their VB6 applications to run on the .NET platform is simply not an option, no matter where it falls in the aforementioned chart. For example, there are strict regulations in the Financial and Insurance verticals that deem keeping critical applications in an environment that’s no longer officially supported simply unacceptable. Besides, sometimes there’s another drawback to this alternative: it adds more elements to be maintained, two sets of data to be kept synchronized and requires for the programmers to switch constantly between 2 different development environments.


Therefore, an assessment of a software portfolio before deciding on a legacy transformation method must take into account several factors that are particular to each case, like available resources, budget, time to market, compliance with regulations, and of course, the specific goals you want to achieve through this application modernization project.