dv/d systempartner GmbH
Share Tracking System.
Component-based distributed system, implemented in EJB, J2EE, Java Server Pages and HTML with an application server. Integrations to existing bespoke and package mainframe applications are part of the application.
Aonix Software through Pictures (StP) for UM®, Aonix Architecture Component Development (ACD)Borland JBuilder, BEA Weblogic, CVS, Oracle.
dv/d is a well-established subsidiary of one of the largest banks in Germany, Landesbank Baden-Württemberg, and provides systems integration and application development solutions for the financial services and banking industries. Another key part of their business is the provision of outsourcing services in support of large companies’ HR and payroll administration needs.
Traditionally with dv/d, applications have been based on mainframe technology such as Cobol and IMS, but for a new share tracking system the requirements dictated a different approach. New technology, new tools and a fresh development approach were needed to meet the customer's demanding requirements. Integrating the new share administration system with existing mainframe and SAS business applications was crucial, alongside a move towards state of the art technologies such as Java, Enterprise Java Beans (EJB), UML and BEA System's Application Server.
The application architecture was based upon EJB distributed component paradigms. v/d needed tools capable of supporting a repository based approach in managing requirements, UML modeling, architecture, and sophisticated multi-language generation capabilities that could keep the design and code in step and exploit the defined application architecture. Achieving re-use was important, since it was recognised that architectural re-use was likely to yield greater benefits than code level re-use.
Tools were expected to form the backbone of the new application architecture and strategy. dv/d’s selection of tool technology was based upon its ability to: make application maintenance easier, reduce the time to market, and yield a flexible, scaleable and re-usable architecture to support an expanding base of new customers’ application solutions.
dv/d selected Software through Pictures (StP) for UML for its rich functionality, and the Architecture Component Development (ACD) technology. StP/UML and ACD would provide dv/d with the mechanisms to separate business and technology, architecture and achieve high levels of application generation.
One of the concerns with the adoption of the new technologies and tools was training, and ensuring that the team would be productive. It was determined that business analysts were more effective with the approach, since the UML models were at the domain rather than the technology level. Learning UML was the only hurdle, and understanding and conveying the business requirements was more effective in models that were not cluttered with technology and implementation detail. Adding additional staff as required was thus made much easier, since business analysts could focus on the domain aspects.
With the new approach, dv/d found that the ability to make changes quicker did not compromise the quality and maintainability of the application.The abstraction of the UML models placed them in a much better position to adapt the application to new technologies and to react faster to making these changes. In the early stages it was necessary to modify the architecture and implementation from using CORBA to EJB for architectural reasons. Further, at a very late stage in the project a change in the requirements meant an additional class that affected the database interface and some of the EJBs. This change took about one hour to implement. Using their traditional development approaches it would have taken at least 1-2 days. Once the change was made in the design, the code was regenerated, and the system delivered. The separation of the application business requirements from the technology coupled with the ACD technology made these changes feasible. The code generation model of Software through Pictures and ACD provided the necessary consistency, and assured the adherence to the quality system and standards.
The goal of reducing the burden of maintenance has been realized, even with the first application of the new tools and technology. Compared with the "traditional" approach the quality is higher, fewer bugs are being reported, the system is better documented and change management both from requirements, design and implementation standpoints is more easily managed.
dv/d firmly believes in the technologies and tools and are now in a position to provide a more responsive service to their clients. The architecture, ACD templates and experience gained will provide a re-usable base for future projects.