Top five myths of screen scraping: it’s a maintenance nightmare
Over the past few weeks we’ve been discussing the challenges facing companies that rely on older green-screen applications to manage their critical infrastructure, and some of the myths that surround “screen-scraping” applications. Our first post focused on myth that screen scraping is only a green screen in a browser. The second addressed the myth that keeping host and GUI in sync is hard. Today we’ll cover the third myth on our list.
Myth #3: Screen-Scraping is a Maintenance Nightmare
One of the most pervasive screen-scraping myths is that it causes a maintenance nightmare. This myth is well-earned, because in traditional screen scraping solutions maintenance is a challenge. Because these solutions scrape live screens for development, they offer no automated way to accommodate for, or even be aware of, host application changes. This shifts the maintenance burden to the developer, who is expected to identify and react to these changes. This reactive approach often means that maintenance is not initiated until after users have already found a problem.
As already stated, a modernization tool should feature change management technology designed to keep application screens and corresponding GUIs synchronized. This point is critical. Accurate change management reduces your application maintenance burden and elevates the quality and reliability of your modernized solution.
When a solution uses a screen repository to manage host-to-GUI screen changes, ongoing maintenance becomes a highly automated process. Developers can proactively schedule synchronization with the host application screens at any time. The synchronization process updates the screen repository with the latest screen maps, makes corresponding updates to screen identifications, host field information, and the GUI, and produces a complete report of all activities. These processes can all run unattended (in batch mode), or they can be performed step-by-step by individual developers. Work is typically limited to adjusting the layout of the customized GUI to accommodate added fields on the host and customizing GUIs for new host screens. Working files can also be managed via common source control tools like CVS or Subversion.
In our next post, we’ll address the myth that screen scraping projects are unmanageable. Until then, you can learn about the remaining two myths–and how to move past them–by downloading the complete whitepaper at the link below. You can also visit our website to learn more about our LegaSuite portfolio of Application Modernization tools.