Sencha helps modernize legacy Oracle apps

Sencha partners with 4Morphis to help customers migrate their Oracle Forms applications onto a modern web/mobile context

Sencha helps modernize legacy Oracle apps
Stephen Lawson

Sencha is a web application development platform that has long been used by customers to build modern web and mobile applications. It has a strong existing business with a claimed 60 percent of the Fortune 100 using its services.

Notwithstanding an existing customer base, Sencha has always had a bit of a glaring omission—it didn't really move the needle for all of those organizations whose core workflows sit on software from legacy vendors such as SAP and Oracle. It's all very well having some cool lightweight point applications, but if those have no real context within a broader legacy application paradigm, it's kind of academic.

+ Also on Network World: Ignore legacy software at your own risk +

That is why Sencha is expanding its offering with the news today that it is heading down the "legacy application modernization" route. Sencha is partnering with 4Morphis, leveraging Ext JS, a Javascript framework, to enable customers to migrate their Oracle Forms applications onto a modern web/mobile context. The opportunity for this sort of re-factoring of legacy applications is significant. There are countless legacy applications out there and a significant demand from organizations to modernize those applications.

While the concept of greenfields development of standalone applications might be attractive, the reality is that, at least for most existing organizations, any modernization has to occur within their existing paradigm. 

“There are millions of legacy apps out there, and organizations need to make them mobile and modern,” said Sencha CEO Art Landro. “Sencha gives enterprise developers access to the latest advancements in web technology with our Ext JS framework, and now we enable Oracle Forms applications to be transformed into modern, cross-platform web applications in days versus weeks or months. By using our integration with the Oracle Mobile Cloud Service, we can deploy these modernized apps on premises or in a public, private or hybrid cloud.”

The interesting thing about this technology partnership is that it isn't just about mobilizing or "webifying" a presentation layer. By partnering with 4Morphis, Oracle Forms enterprise apps can now be automatically converted into Sencha Ext JS source files with retained business logic, without having to rewrite code or discard any existing application investments. Once converted, the Sencha professional services team rolls in and works with the developers to customize the design of the application, compose the Ext JS-based application elements into a web application, and test it.

This development extends a previous integration with the Oracle Mobile Cloud Service that was designed to enable enterprises to more easily roll out their front-end mobile web applications on Oracle’s back-end mobile cloud service. The additional app conversion benefits tie this front-end paradigm to a fully operational back-end one.


Legacy application modernization is a tricky beast and one that a number of vendors are trying to resolve. I have written previously about one such vendor, Capriza, which is trying to solve a similar problem, albeit more of a mobile-specific one. The key question is whether these app modernization approaches really deliver the level of functionality and agility that organizations demand. In other words, can you really put "lipstick on a pig" and expect it to be broadly regarded as attractive?

There is certainly some customer demand for what is going on here. The size of that demand and the timescale before the demand no longer exists are what is unknown.

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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