Egyptian Ministry of Interior halves cost of apps with EGL

Published on 29-Oct-2010

Validated on 07 Oct 2013

"We were able to combine IBM middleware solutions with IBM Informix 4GL to EGL Conversion Utility and Smart Parser for EGL Text-to-Web Conversion Utility to build new applications based on the reliability and stability of these systems." - Ehab Abdelwahed, head engineer, Ministry of Interior of Egypt

Egyptian Ministry of Interior


Deployment country:

Database Management

IBM Business Partner:
eSmartSoft Information Systems


Egyptian Ministry of Interior halves cost of apps with EGL

Business need:
As antiterrorism laws tightened, the Ministry of Interior of Egypt had to improve the information collection process and enhance its responsiveness.

By using Enterprise Generation Language (EGL), IBM® Informix®, IBM middleware, IBM Informix 4GL to EGL Conversion Utility and eSmartSoft Smart Parser, the team converted its legacy system to a Java™ and web-based solution automatically.

· 50 percent less cost compared to developing new applications from scratch · Enhanced key business process efficiency · Avoided risks of redeveloping the entire system · Laid the groundwork for meeting future needs with web-based open solution and SOA

Case Study

The employees of 15 offices of the Ministry of Interior of Egypt were entering detailed information and questions using labor-intensive and ineffective systems. Because the central office of the Ministry of Interior was not linked to other offices, transactions and issues generated using old text-based applications had to be directly collected and delivered to the central office in tapes or other media every week.

The data collected by the central office in the past was entered into an IBM Informix 4GL (I4GL) system, which used complicated business logic. It took months to develop and adjust the data. Neither the central office nor any of its 15 branch offices was in possession of up-to-date information, and reports were often submitted containing inaccurate and outdated information.

Because it took too much time to access key information, the employees of the Ministry of Interior had to rely on outdated or inaccurate information. The existing system was no longer appropriate under the government’s new terror prevention laws. The Ministry of Interior had to update its systems.

It wanted to replace the system with a web-based application that could immediately and safely allow employees to access information they needed. At the same time, the Ministry of Interior wanted to avoid the cost, delays and risks associated with developing the entire system anew, including the delicate business logic. “It was clear that a system upgrade was necessary, because it was difficult to collect data from several sites and analyze up-to-date information,” says Ehab Abdelwahed, the head engineer of the Ministry of Interior of Egypt. “But it was also very important to keep our business logic, which was developed and used over a long period of time.”

Switch from I4GL to EGL

Because of the lack of experience developing web and Java-based applications, the Ministry of Interior of Egypt was able to make the needed improvements by requesting the assistance of IBM Business Partner eSmartSoft Information Systems, which converted the legacy I4GL application to IBM EGL (Enterprise Generation Language). EGL is IBM’s strategic high-speed development technology that allows all developers to promptly provide sophisticated solutions using web and SOA (Service-oriented Architecture), regardless of skill or background.

There were several reasons why the Ministry of Interior decided to use EGL. First, the easy integration of the conversion utility carried out by IBM and eSmartSoft could enhance the development speed, while protecting the Ministry of Interior’s investment in the existing business logic. Additionally, the Ministry of Interior wanted a solution that could not only resolve its present task but also reuse resources and provide a more open and flexible architecture to enable it to prepare for potential future needs.

Additionally, because I4GL and EGL were very similar, the Ministry of Interior could utilize its experience using I4GL to move onto SOA and web-based technology. “In my experience, EGL and I4GL are 80 percent identical,” says Abdelwahed. “Accordingly, it was simple for me and other I4GL engineers to learn EGL and use EGL to conduct the conversion work.”

Before it finally accepted the suggested solution, the Ministry of Interior requested eSmartSoft to provide a proof of concept. In order to provide this proof, eSmartSoft added the web functionality to the data input module, which was the most complicated part of the application and converted I4GL to EGL in just three days, proving the effectiveness of this approach.

Automated conversion

A small team of eSmartSoft developers started with converting the text-based I4GL system connected to IBM Informix to the identical class EGL system connected to the same database using IBM Informix 4GL to EGL Conversion Utility. This utility automatically converts I4GL language to EGL, creating an identical EGL component in the share library.

In order to accelerate the work of converting a text-based interface to a browser-based interface, the project team applied Smart Parser, a utility developed by eSmartSoft. “The application was converted from EGL-text to EGL-web quickly using eSmartSoft EGL Text-to-Web Conversion Utility,” says Amal Radwan, eSmartSoft’s Informix and EGL brand manager. “By using these two utilities, it was possible to improve the user interface without wasting time or effort by converting I4GL to EGL.”

Move to Java, Informix update and installation

During the next stage, eSmartSoft utilized a large number of IBM middleware solutions to quickly build the overall system and made the delivery within the scheduled time period.

After the conversion work, the project team using IBM Rational® Application Developer for WebSphere® software started to make detailed adjustments of web applications. Rational Application Developer, an Eclipse-based integrated development environment, provides to eSmartSoft comprehensive support on a J2EE programming model, including web, Java, web service and EJB development. eSmartSoft, using Rational Application Developer, generated Java codes automatically under EGL and after testing, was able to operate the proven business logic of the Ministry of Interior in a web environment for the first time.

The Ministry of Interior, after depending on IBM Informix for years to manage information, sought to continue to keep using Informix as the database of the converted system. Through the assistance provided by eSmartSoft team, the Ministry of Interior was able to improve the performance by migrating the existing data to Informix 10 while continuing to utilize the existing information assets.

The completed application was installed and is being operated currently in IBM WebSphere Application Server.

Based on years of effort and expertise

According to president and CEO of eSmartSoft, Mahmoud A. Kassem, EGL provided an opportunity to the Ministry of Interior to build on the existing knowledge and investments instead of giving up on those existing knowledge investments and having to start over. “The Ministry of Interior for many years made investments to develop Informix 4GL application,” says Kassem. “We were able to combine IBM middleware solutions with IBM Informix 4GL to EGL Conversion Utility and Smart Parser for EGL Text-to-Web Conversion Utility to build new applications based on the reliability and stability of these systems. Additionally, the Ministry of Interior protected its past investment in technical training and utilized its accumulated experience, as well as keeping the precise business rules that it developed over many years in the past. The risks associated with developing the system from scratch were eliminated and the Ministry of Interior enjoyed the benefit of improving the application’s portability and productivity. Also, by securing the cutting-edge application server infrastructure, it created a solid foundation for future initiatives.”

50 percent cost savings from conversion to EGL

By converting the legacy applications of the Ministry of Interior to EGL, eSmartSoft was able to provide an entire system at a lower cost and in a shorter period than it would have been able to if it created the system entirely from scratch. The Ministry of Interior is now in a position to expand its internal web development knowledge and is prepared to meet a wide range of business demands. “We achieved a 50 percent savings by converting from I4GL to EGL instead of redeveloping the whole system,” says Abdelwahed. “The system was completed in just two months instead of an entire year. Additionally, all the risks associated with recreating complicated business logic were avoided.”

Time and cost savings are important. However, more importantly, it was proven that a new system was necessary to enhance the business process efficiency of the Ministry of Interior and to comply with antiterrorism requirements. “In the past, because many of the processes were carried out by hand and because the central database updated slowly, there was a long delay before the results could be obtained, and inquiries to branch offices were inaccurate or outdated,” says Abdelwahed. “Now, every one of the fifteen offices is connected to the identical database. Every employee can safely access the data and generate accurate reports at any time using up-to-date information.”

Based on the success of this initial project, the Ministry of Interior and eSmartSoft are planning to convert and install three I4GL applications and expand the use of EGL, IBM Rational Application Developer, IBM Informix and IBM WebSphere Application Server.

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Products and services used

IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

Informix Dynamic Server, WebSphere Application Server, Rational Application Developer for WebSphere Software, Informix 4GL

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2010 IBM Corporation Software Group Route 100 Somers, New York 10589 U.S.A. Produced in the United States of America September 2010 All Rights Reserved IBM, the IBM logo, and Informix are registered trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation in the United States, other countries, or both. If these and other IBM trademarked terms are marked on their first occurrence in this information with a trademark symbol (® or ™), these symbols indicate U.S. registered or common law trademarks owned by IBM at the time this information was published. Such trademarks may also be registered or common law trademarks in other countries. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the web at “Copyright and trademark information” at Java and all Java-based trademarks and logos are trademarks of Sun Microsystems, Inc. in the United States, other countries or both. Other product, company or service names may be trademarks or service marks of others. This case study is an example of how one customer uses IBM products. There is no guarantee of comparable results. References in this publication to IBM products and services do not imply that IBM intends to make them available in all countries in which IBM operates. IMC14567–USEN-00

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