The Forward (FWD) automated conversion technology generates a semantically equivalent Java application from a Progress 4GL code base. The converted application relies upon the FWD runtime environment for its core functionality. In addition to exposing services to ensure behavior which is compatible with the original application, the runtime provides a platform for secure distributed computing, including a security infrastructure, directory services, a distributed application protocol, and logging services. While a converted application running atop this environment is expected to be a drop-in replacement for the original, the business requirements and demands placed upon the new system will not stand still post-conversion. Also, some refactoring of key functionality, such as application-level security or configuration, may be a desirable outcome of a conversion project.

An understanding of how best to approach these customizable aspects of conversion, and how to support and extend software applications converted using FWD is crucial to making any conversion project a long term success. This book is written to help developers, administrators, and consultants understand, support, and extend software applications which are converted using FWD. Readers will learn to leverage the flexibility designed into the FWD conversion process to produce a better converted result. They will learn to maintain, debug, and extend the new system, and to integrate external applications which need safe and secure access to FWD server-managed resources.

The following topics are covered in this guide:

  • structure of the FWD project;
  • FWD licensing and the licenses of included, third party technologies;
  • installing and building the FWD technology;
  • setting up a FWD development environment;
  • installing, patching, and building the supporting software upon which FWD depends;
  • debugging the FWD runtime environment, including server code, client code, database access, and basic infrastructure modules;
  • coding standards used by the FWD project;
  • documenting and submitting defects, feature requests, and patches;
  • FWD's logging infrastructure;
  • porting considerations and platform-specific issues;
  • customizing database locale and collation;
  • invoking hand-written Java from converted code and vice versa;
  • developing external code, such as web applications, which interface with the FWD server and use FWD runtime services;
  • using FWD's various plug-in APIs to implement customized security and directory services;
  • extending the FWD Administrative Console to manage application-specific resources and policies;
  • leveraging FWD's various runtime hooks to perform custom processing upon the initialization and termination of the FWD server as well as individual user sessions, and in response to other server events.

The FWD Conversion Handbook is prerequisite reading to this guide. At minimum, readers of this guide should have read the Introduction, Methodology and Conversion Process Overview chapters of that book. To minimize redundant content between these documents, the authors of each have included references to the other book where topics overlap.

Further, while it is not a firm prerequisite, we recommend the reader actually perform some conversion tasks before digging too deeply into this guide, as that will provide some context for the material presented here. Even so, readers who have not yet begun a conversion project likely will find it beneficial to scan this guide in preparation for that effort. This may help to provide some direction or answer some questions with respect to the post-conversion landscape.

As you read this guide, you are encouraged to review another of its companion publications, the FWD Conversion Reference. This will help in gaining an understanding of how the FWD conversion remaps and re-factors various idioms and constructs of an original, Progress 4GL application to the Java language and the supporting technology used by the FWD runtime environment. While this guide focuses on the facilities available to integrate your application into the FWD environment, and discusses the techniques used to support and enhance the converted system, the FWD Conversion Reference offers a complementary discussion of the logic behind many of the decisions made by the conversion process.

FWD is a complex bit of technology, but with that complexity comes power and flexibility. After reading this guide, you should have a solid comprehension of how your converted application integrates with the FWD environment, and how to take your application forward, post-conversion, to meet the ongoing and evolving needs of your organization.

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