“The first time we saw the migrated application running over the web, we couldn’t tell the difference between this version and the original Windows application and that says it all. We were truly amazed by the results and completion time.”
Lars Martin, Product Manager
Limón GmbH is an energy efficiency service and solution provider that transforms innovations explored and developed by the University of Kassel into energy efficiency products and services that increase the profitability of companies in the course of rising energy prices. Limón’s focus is supporting their customers in the entire optimization process; from identification to implementation with innovative and customized solutions.
é.VISOR is an energy monitoring system by Limón that, in addition to collecting relevant energy and production data, allows users to generate key data and to evaluate energy efficiency. It also supports relevant processes by using the energy management and overall a tool for increasing the energy efficiency.
Limón chose to move its é.VISOR energy monitoring system to a web-based technology to offer the application as a SaaS via web browsers and through the cloud computing model by deploying to Windows Azure.
The original Windows application is extremely data-centric and extensively relies on a dynamic and editable visual presentation of that data in several types of graphs and charts. The company looked to duplicate the complete functionality, behavior and design of the original Windows application in a web environment. Thus, in order to maintain the original application’s look and feel, it was necessary to migrate the rich interface as is including the variety of graphs, charts, graph annotation, drag & drop control, and many other functions.
In addition, the rich, data-centric nature of the application conveyed real concerns on the part of the customer about the overall performance with the move from a local deployment to being served over the web. Needless to say, response time and performance were also very important requirements in this process, as well as the need for a reliable solution.
The Limón team sought a solution to web-enable their é.VISOR system. In their search for an alternative to a complete rewrite of the application for web, they found Visual WebGui’s Instant CloudMove, which seemed to perfectly meet all of their requirements.
The first step was generating the assessment report which automatically analyzed the original applications code and indicated that about 95% of the code can be automatically migrated to web with Visual WebGui TranspositionTool.
“We downloaded the free AssessmentToll and were quite surprised to see that almost our entire code could be transferred automatically by the Instant CloudMove tools. Compared to our other alternatives, it was by far the best option, so we decided to go with it and see if Gizmox could live up to their promises.” - Lars Martin, Product Manager
The report also indicated that the other 5% of the code would need some manual attention and work while listing the potential challenges in the process of moving from client/server to web. Among the items “flagged” in the report as potential challenges were:
- 3rd party ZedGraphControl for Windows Forms
- Custom Drag & Drop control
- Intensive use of Table Layout Panel control
- Non-standard use of “Tool Strip”
- Modality issues
After submitting the detailed report to Gizmox, the migration team was able to provide a fixed price quotation and an anticipated completion time of 35 days (profound QA not included).
The migration process then began using the Mapping Studio, which defined the actions that should be taken for the “flagged” items and the custom behaviors found in the assessment report placed within the 5% manual part.
During the mapping process, the team found that with only minor tweaks to the Visual WebGui libraries, the Windows Forms application ZedGraph can be used in the target web environment. This prevented the team from either rewriting the user code of this component or having to replace it with a compatible web-based component.
When the team completed the mapping work, they were able to run the TranspositionTool on the code. This tool combines the original code with the rules defined at the mapping stage and generates the code accordingly. “Using our tools we were able to achieve code that compiles in a matter of only a day or two, which allowed us to open the code in Visual Studio Task Solution and access the manual touch-ups.” - Eyal Albert, Gizmox Migration Team Leader
Another task that required manual touch-ups and that the team chose to resolve after the transposition process was the implementation of the Drag & Drop control. The team succeeded in implementing this Windows Forms custom control without extensive rewriting or replacement. The migration team offered a way to reuse the custom control with only minor changes to the code in order to bridge the architecture gap between the original client/server technology and the target web environment. The required changes used existing Visual WebGui infrastructure and thus were fairly easy and simple to implement.
“Now that we have completed the migration and are familiar with the application and the code, I can confidently say that rewriting it would have taken between 6 and 12 months, and we have done it in one month.” – Eyal Albert
Choosing the unique Visual WebGui Instant CloudMove solution generated huge savings in terms of time, personnel resources and of course finances. The savings begins even before the actual migration is undertaken, since this solution doesn’t require any understanding of the application as opposed to most other alternatives. As a result, the customer saved the time and resources of putting together a scenario definition or analyzing the application screens.
As for the migration itself, the application was fully migrated to a web-based environment within only one month and with only one developer dedicated to the task, while maintaining the exact capabilities and functionalities of the locally-installed, original Windows application.
“The first time we saw the migrated application running on the web, we couldn’t tell the difference from the original Windows application, except it ran within a browser, and that says it all. We were truly amazed by the results, the completion time and the fact that Gizmox lived up to all of their initial promises.” – Lars Martin
Visual WebGui Instant CloudMove tools successfully migrated about 95% of the code automatically as predicted by the AssessmentTool and allowed the reuse of 99% of the original Windows Forms code. Reusing most of the original code (including a large portion of the code that was not automatically transposed) means that future development and maintenance of the application should be easy due to the familiarity of the Limón development team with the migrated code. A rewrite would have completely changed the code and required the developers to adapt to new concepts and learn new skills.
Moreover, the migrated application utilizes the optimized Visual WebGui pipeline and centralized Ajax engine, which contributes to an improved performance over the web and additional savings on cloud expenses by reducing the consumption of resources. The web-based version of é.VISOR also enjoys the maximum level of security of Visual WebGui on the client at no additional cost or effort.
Finally, among the adaptations that the solution provides to fit web environments were the provision of cross-browser compatibility for the application and flexible resizing of the screen to accommodate different usages and screen resolutions.
The original Windows Forms é.VISOR energy monitoring system
é.VISOR AssessmentTool report
The transposed code
The result - Web based é.VISOR energy monitoring system