There are a lot of articles in the computer press at the moment that discusses application modernization and how easy it can be by replacing the user interface and leaving the server side code untouched.
However, this approach ignores some of the major issues associated with application modernization:
- Most organizations are unaware of exactly what old applications do because there is little or no up to date documentation
- One of the key challenges is that old server code is difficult to maintain
- The number of people who know legacy languages is decreasing daily
The key to understanding how best to approach modernization is to understand what the application you are concerned about actually does and that means you need to have accurate and up to date documentation.
Now, it is a well-known fact that application developers hate doing documentation and from an organizational point of view time they spend writing documentation is time away from developing code.
Documentation is critical to understanding any application not just those being considered for modernization.