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Case studies
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ODC of a migration project from VB to VB.Net for a US client

The Client

The client is a US-based provider of software products consulting and services for the law industry.

What the client wanted

It has been years since the large scale application developed with VB6.0 was put into practice in the client's company, which deals with court employee, law executive institution, insurance company, bail agent and bond agency.

However with the business development, more and more new business requirements appeared and were added to the existing system, which made the system performance continuously reduced and raises the maintenance cost with time.

To stop the ever deteriorating situation, the client decided to migrate the already existing system into Microsoft .Net Framework. Excepting for the implementation of all the basic functions, performance enhancement was the focus in the migration/reengineering project such as the optimised work flow management.

With the successful achievement of the project, the client will provide a brand new and high quality business solution in the specific business field to better facilitate the end user.

Abstract Technology Role

Abstract Technology was completely responsible for the development of all aspects of this system. This involved requirements analysis, design, implementation and successfully deploying the system onto Server.

Migration/Re-engineering Solution

The essential of the Migration solution is to transplant the existing system onto another software framework, meanwhile optimise business logic of the legacy system and add new features to it. The legacy system is developed with VB6.0 and SQL Server 7.0, therefore it will be applicable to implement the new solution with .Net Framework and VB.Net.

This new application is built on a custom .Net framework, the technical architecture of the solution was a realization of a three-tier model. The three layers of the system are business logic, the presentation layer and the database layer which makes it possible to achieve good system scalability with performance being not affected seriously.

Development Method
Because there was no complete document available for the developing team to review and understand the legacy system, training was a necessary and critical approach to drive the project to a successful end.

A project manager and a system architect with extensive migration experience were assigned to attend the training which is carried out with telephone and Netmeeting.

Thereafter, 3 intermediate developers with rich development experience in VB.Net Window application were allocated to the developing team to receive training. Simultaneously, the client began to assign specific developing tasks per day to its offshore development center.

Every working day morning, the client allocates task list of that day and upon receipt of it, requirement analysis and structure design are carried out together by the project manager and the architect, and then the tasks are assigned to appropriate developer. At the end of the day, all the completed tasks will be deployed on development server, on which the customer may track our work and verify whether the migration/re-engineering tasks comply with the legacy system or whether new functions are implemented in accordance with the requirement. Once the client's satisfactory is achieved, following tasks will be carried out and to be fulfilled.

With the good performance of the tasks, more and more new tasks are assigned to the developing team, new team members are introduced to the team. Now there are 10 group members including project manager, system architect, developers and testers taking part in this migration/reengineering project.

Because the migration project is carried out simultaneously by the customer and us, a development server is set up on the customer network to coordinate tasks on both sides and protect source code security. Our developing team access to the customer network with VPN first and then login to the development server with Windows Terminal Service to share same source code with the customer developing team which are stored within the same VSS library.

Migration technologies environment

  Legacy application New application
Development language Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0 Microsoft Visual Basic.Net
Application Service No Microsoft .Net Framework 1.1
Database Server Microsoft SQL Server 7.0 Microsoft SQL Server 2000
Version Control N/A VSS 6.0
Architecture Model C/S Three-tier model
Bug tracking N/A At the early stage of the project, a bug tracking system was implemented by us
UI Style Windows Standard NetAdvantage control family is adopted to implement the attractive UI


120 man-months.

The Benefits

  • Low development and maintenance cost compared with onshore development team.
  • Practical and efficient development methodology guarantees a flexible implementation process and traceable quality.
  • The architecture framework developed is based on the .Net Framework and three-mode, but is improved for more usability and upgraded with application specific architecture features.
  • An enhanced stable and integrity system with optimised functions and features.
  • The establishment of a stable and skilful developing team ensures following development and maintenance tasks to be carried out and implemented successfully.
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