Green-screen applications nowadays… Is this actually normal?

Your Informix 4GL applications may be missing out on nearly four decades of User Interface technology advancements. Well, no wonder, I4GL is a character-based language and such a text user interface (TUI) is typical for the 1980s. But since I4GL never moved from a green-screen-based UI, it has never afforded any GUI or a modern user experience to its consumers.

Today we are witnessing the digital transformation of all types of businesses. Companies are moving away from obsolete green screens to contemporary graphical user interfaces. This is not only a business’s demand but also a result of progress in UI technology. Regardless of how productive and robust your business applications are, if they are green-screen and lack GUI, they may be considered a legacy according to today’s standards.

Why should you convert your Legacy I4GL app to GUI?

  • Multiple platform integration. Modernized applications can be rendered on various platforms, such as graphical desktops (Windows, Linux, Mac), browsers, and web-compatible devices, or can be used as a web service.
  • New powerful features. Pull-down menus, toolbars, multiple dialogue boxes, list boxes, images, containers, other widgets and commonly used GUI controls, etc.
  • Modern UI and design provide you with user acceptance and competitive positioning.
  • The improved interface. Better application navigation and productivity features.
  • User ergonomics. Everybody is now familiar with the intuitive GUI paradigm.
  • More intuitive and richer data display.
  • Reduce the perception of outdated applications.
  • Increases the productivity and efficiency of end users.

Let’s face it: Most green-screen applications were not designed with today’s users in mind. To remain competitive in today’s marketplace you must offer the same functionality and capabilities that users find in popular consumer applications. The green screen interface appears dreary and complicated. It is unable to display graphic data and can not handle modern features. Graphical User Interface is not only attractive but also enhances the user experience and usability of the application.

Current challenges

No doubts, that your Informix 4GL applications are critical to your business. They are still perfectly operational today, completely responding to your company’s activity, and totally bug-free. In other words, your I4GL application is an asset that is too essential to interrupt, and too expensive for migrating/rewriting/replacing. 

Your applications are essential to your business and perfectly running. Business logic is still considered to be solid, and replacing the entire application, or migrating to another technology, is not a good idea.

Migration of your Informix 4GL application to a different technology, such as Java or C# would require significant time and considerable costs. It will be an entirely new development and the application would use radically new business logic, insofar as the existing I4GL code would not be leveraged by the different programming languages. Furthermore, as is the case with any new application, you will not avoid performing testing, certification, bug fixing and other required processes.

Modernizing Legacy I4GL Applications without any code changes: Transform Green Screen To GUI

With Lycia, your green screen applications can be transformed into GUI in the most convenient, explicit, and inexpensive way. Simply recompile Informix 4GL applications with Lycia, and run them as web or desktop GUI applications, or web services, using the existing I4GL business logic and database environment. 

Lycia provides you with ample opportunities for modernizing, maintaining, and developing legacy I4GL applications. Lycia supports Querix 4GL which was developed on the basis of the Informix 4GL language. It continuously enhances and extends Informix 4GL, and provides numerous features for modernizing legacy I4GL applications. Querix 4GL is fully compatible with Informix 4GL which allows reusing the original I4GL code. 

After recompilation, the I4GL is still fully functional, operational, and instantly available to the users. The modernized application has different options to deploy, and can be rendered as GUI on desktop platforms, in modern web browsers, or can be used as a web service. Users can utilize modern GUI constructs and rich user-interface components with no code modifications. Thereby leveraging their investment in the integrated and proven business logic of the legacy I4GL applications and improving the graphical user interface over time.

The converted application extends users’ possibilities with new features such as Widgets, Toolbars, TopMenu, Drag & Drop, Dropboxes, Images, Date pickers, etc., while retaining the business logic.

Lycia suite includes two thin graphical clients: LyciaWeb and LyciaDesktop. Both clients use the same application server and are deployed only once, highly customizable with Lycia Theme Designer and CSS, and have rich set of form controls. LyciaDesktop is a multi-platform thin client which allows users to render and use I4GL applications as desktop ones. With LyciaWeb, I4GL applications can be run on any computer which has an Internet connection and a web browser.

In conclusion, considering a suitable modernization scenario is always a logical approach compared with the unexpected migration process. Lycia provides you with all the necessary tools to maximise your investments in IT and align with business needs by modernizing the UI and extending to the web.