Jacada modernizing user interfaces

A new tool from Jacada Ltd. is designed to help federal agencies that want to modernize mainframe applications while still relying on the technological resources and programmers related to them.

The Atlanta-based company announced the Jacada Interface Server this week. The product provides a common user interface layer for new application development and existing legacy systems.

Jacada Interface Server protects organizations from changes in user interface standards and technologies because it enables applications to be written in one language and presented in many others, said David Holmes, senior vice president of marketing.

"Agencies can modernize and Web-enable legacy systems without having to touch the code," Holmes said. "What we're doing is separating the presentation layer from the business logic layer."

In the past 20 years, interface standards and technologies have evolved from green screens and DOS, to Windows, Java and HTML, and on to User Interface Markup Language and Extensible HTML. Such changes have posed a modernization problem throughout the government.

"Agencies are full of Cobol developers that build mainframe applications, and now they can build applications without having to learn new skills," Holmes said. "You don't have to retrain them as Java developers."

The Jacada Interface Server will be available in September 2001, and key features will include:

* Support for Extensible Markup Language transactions to enable seamless integration of new and existing business logic with any third-party application.

* Support for new applications written in Java, Cobol and RPG (Report Program Generator) is in beta testing and will ship in the fourth quarter of this year.

* Support for new applications developed using contemporary development architectures including Web Services, Microsoft Corp.'s .Net, and J2EE will be available in 2002.

Holmes said Jacada is in discussions with many federal agencies, including some of its current customers, such as the departments of Interior and Labor.

"There's a tremendous push to move away from legacy systems...and legacy application development," he said. "This is the quickest path possible to move away and still leverage the resources they have."

Pricing for the product is based on individual configurations and starts at $4,500 per Interface Developer Kit and $30,000 per server for deployment. Adjusted General Services Administration schedule pricing is coming soon, Holmes said.

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