20 questions your Code Conversion partner better have a good answer for: If they don't, you need to find another partner

23. July 2010 13:16 by Fzoufaly in General  //  Tags: , , ,   //   Comments (0)

I recently found this interesting list of questions on the Datatek Inc. website. I enjoyed answering them and I want to share ArtinSoft’s answers.

Go ahead and judge for yourself if ArtinSoft is the right partner for your VB6 migration projects.

Q1: If you are manually converting the code, how many different programmers will be converting the code and how are you ensuring consistency and accuracy?

A1: ArtinSoft does not execute manual migration projects. However, there is always a percentage of code that requires manual adjustments. All the team members in a migration project follow the same coding standards to ensure a high level of consistency in the manual changes. If a certain issue is detected multiple times in the source code, its fixing will be implemented in the automatic migration process.

Q2: If this is a manual conversion, how do you minimize the issue of bugs being introduced by each and every programmer, which will have to be found individually during testing?

A2: Most of the work is performed by an automatic migration tool. People working in a migration project share a Knowledge Base where they record every manual change they perform. This knowledge sharing process minimizes the number of bugs introduced by programmers.

Q3: If you are automatically converting the code, what percentage is automated and what percentage is manual?

A3: The percentage of automatic code migration changes depending on the source/target platform. For example, in the case of Visual Basic 6 to .NET automation reaches 95% of the actual lines of code. This level of automation ensures consistency in the quality of the generated code.

Q4: Our programmers still need to make modifications to our code in order to support ongoing business requirements. Is there a “code freeze” and how long is it?

A4: ArtinSoft understands that software applications are ever evolving creatures. We have developed a mechanism where it is easy to incorporate changes during a migration process, we call it continuous migration. This process minimizes the code freeze period to the last acceptance testing phase of a project.

Q5: When we receive the converted code back from you, are we required to make any changes in order for it to be functional?

A5: When ArtinSoft bids on a functional equivalence migration project, the code that is delivered is ready for deployment.

Q6: Is the converted code guaranteed to compile?

A6: In a functional equivalence project, the code not only compiles, it runs!

Q7: Once the code compiles, do you just hand responsibility over to us or are you responsible for problems found during testing?

A7: NO! (See answer 6!)

Q8: What are we, the customer, specifically responsible for during the conversion project?

A8: The customer is mainly responsible for the testing of the project. This responsibility starts with the creation and delivery of test cases to ArtinSoft and ends with final project acceptance. The testing workflow is the main path of communication between the teams. This process ensures that project expectations are clearly set up front and is key to the success rate of the project.

Q9: Can our coding standards be applied to the converted code?

A9: Our migration tool can be customized to include the application of your coding standards. Coding standards are identified and agreed upon during the initial phase of the project.

Q10: What kinds of customizations can we make to the converted code?

A10: ArtinSoft delivers code that is completely standard to the target platform. There are no dependencies on ArtinSoft or any strange “programming behavior”. Any programmer that is fluent in the target platform is able to understand and evolve the generated code. This ensures that your application really gets a new life under the new platform.

Q11: How maintainable is the converted code? How long have other customers stayed on code you have converted for them?

A11: The generated code is fully maintainable. Our customers continue to use and modify it long after it has been converted.

Q12: What happens if we don’t like how certain pieces of the code got converted?

A12: This can be approached at to different moments: before the migration stats or during the evolution phase of the application. Before the migration start, the conversion tool or the migration process can be customized to change its behavior according to your coding preferences. During the evolution phase, since the application is written in standard maintainable source code, it can be evolved using your normal software development process.

Q13: What happens if our code inadvertently makes use of undocumented features? Will you support that functionality?

A13: Yes! ArtinSoft guarantees functional equivalence. If it worked before, it should work after the conversion.

Q14: What happens if we have existing bugs in our code that run fine on our current platform (such as uninitialized variables). Are you responsible for making sure that everything works like it did on the old platform?

A14: Yes! ArtinSoft guarantees functional equivalence.

Q15: Can we get a fixed price contract for the conversion?

A15: Absolutely. The great majority of ArtinSoft projects are executed on a fixed price & fixed time basis. Our Ready™ assessment methodology together with our experience allows us to minimize the risk for our clients.

Q16: Are there any runtime charges for any support code and/or libraries you supply? Do we have ownership rights to this code?

A16: An important element in our philosophy is to minimize the amount of necessary support code. Code should be converted to its “native” counterpart as much as possible. In case a support class is needed, the client will have full access to the source code and absolute independence from ArtinSoft moving forward.

Q17: How are we charged if we miss giving you a file after you have already started the conversion?

A18: ArtinSoft always include a price per line of code that can be used for adding/subtracting code from a migration project during its execution. Clients will always know beforehand how much additional work is going to cost.

Q18: How long does the conversion take?

A18: Each project is different. Typically, project length is a function of the size of the source code. ArtinSoft always insists on performing an assessment before the start of the project that will clearly state the required effort to successfully complete the migration.

Q19: What type of guarantees do you provide?

A19: ArtinSoft guarantees functional equivalence between the source and converted code. We typically include a guarantee period when clients can report bugs after project acceptance and ArtinSoft is responsible to fix them.

Q20: How long have you been doing code conversions?

A20: ArtinSoft has been doing automated code conversions since 1993 (we’re about to reach legal age!). In fact, ArtinSoft was founded on the premise that source code should be freed from its platform dependencies. Since day one, we’ve been applying our Artificial Intelligence research to providing cost-effective and low risk solution to code migrations. Companies choose ArtinSoft for our proven experience and comprehensive methodology.