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Migration of Legacy Application to Web Application

Posted on 2014-01-02
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Last Modified: 2014-01-24
We have a legacy application written in Delphi that manages most aspects of our company.  The source for this application is convoluted and based on old components (Borland Database Engine for example) which makes it difficult to add new features and harder to support new versions of Windows.  Plus we are gradually trying to move to support web, mobile, and APIs.

I would like to replace this legacy app with a web application that:
Is 3 tier based so that the core application logic is in one place for both clients and
APIs
Uses a framework for a consistent look/feel for the user and coding standard in the backend
Ideally is based on PHP as we have some in-house PHP expertise
Uses proven technology that has been around for awhile and has a large install base (just want to make sure that development will not stop in a couple of years)
Supports clients on both desktops, tablets, phones and can support an API for other businesses to integrate in to our systems.
Any frameworks or components are open-source (or at least free to use).

I am looking for some relatively current information (I've found a number of postings from 2009) about migrating this application to the web.  For example, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_web_application_frameworks gives a list of various web application frameworks but it does not go in to the strengths/weaknesses or why you would choose one over the other.
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Question by:CIPortAuthority
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LVL 17

Expert Comment

by:Kent Dyer
ID: 39752084
Is this running a SQL/MySQL back-end?

PHP is certainly an option..  What about ASP/ASP.net?  Of course, if you go the ASP/.Net, it is not open source.

How much historical data is in the database? If there is a ton, can you archive it off for performance?
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Author Comment

by:CIPortAuthority
ID: 39752148
This is running SQL Server 2008R2 as a back-end.  

I had considered ASP.net but was worried about how well it would support non-Windows/Microsoft environments like iPad's.

There is a lot of historical data in the database and a lot of it could be purged but the way the legacy application is written makes it extremely difficult to do so (another reason we want to migrate away from it).
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LVL 31

Expert Comment

by:Marco Gasi
ID: 39752194
My two cents about this: Php is absolutely a great language and it will satisfy all your requirements. You'll can have the core code separated by APIs and the backend is naturally separated by frontend, since the GUI of a web application is client-side and the core app is server-side... but if you have expertise on php you know yet these things.

If I understand your question, it is related to the framework to choose. Well, there are a lot of frameworks and IMHO the only affordable way to choose is to try soome of them eploying a small basic application and see how they work. Each of them has its force and its weakness and it's up to you understand which better fits your needs. Personally, I like Codeigniter, but I confess I prefer to not use framewroks and write the code by myself.
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Author Comment

by:CIPortAuthority
ID: 39753645
@marqusG: I had considered doing this from scratch in PHP but this is a large application and we are a small department.  If we ever want to have this see the light of day, we are going to need all the help we can get in speeding up development.  I was really hoping to find some blog post or something that would help me limit the framework field a little bit.  The page I listed above has almost 100 frameworks listed and PHP alone has 2 dozen!  Why do you like CodeIgniter for example?
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LVL 31

Accepted Solution

by:
Marco Gasi earned 500 total points
ID: 39753738
I ike Codeigniter because it is flexible and it has a steep learning curve. The problem wit frameworks is that more they offer functionalities and helpers, more you have to learn hem and more complicated is customize some aspect which you don't like as it is implemented.

Experts-Exchange and the whole web is fullfilled with qustions about how to modify and customize several aspects of Wordpress, Joomla, Drupal... so the real question is: how you expetise in php can help you managing framework-specific php implementaions? And the only way I feel to suggest is o try some framework as I said above.

drupal is probably the most used, so download it and give it a try: follow one or two tutorials, read a book and see if you or your developers feel good with it. If not, try another one, like Codeigniter and so on.

I suggest to start with Drupal because I always read good things about. Bua as I said, I don't use any of these frameworks and I can't give you a good review of all or some of php frameworks. You should hear several developers, eachh of them strongly skilled with one or two frameworks and evaluate their opinion, but at the end you would have many opinions and too mutch confusion, I think... Even because each opinion would be personal. The proliferation itself of frameworks means that many many people didn't consider existing frameworks good enough and they needed to build anotherone better than the other.

So, I'm sorry, but I reoeat what I said above: try some of them by yourself and choose the one which better feets your needs, your skills and your programming style.

Forgive me if I llok elusive about Codeigniter, but I really can't say too mutch becaus with it I ony built a little report page for a my site and no more.

Cheers
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