Migrating Desktop-Based Operations Planning System to Fully Integrated Web Application: A Game-Changing Solution

Customer Profile

The prominent Emirati multinational logistics company headquartered in Dubai, is a key player in the global cargo logistics industry. With a rich history dating back to its formation in 2005 through the merger of Dubai Ports Authority and Dubai Ports International, Client has grown to become a leader in port terminal operations, maritime services, and free trade zones. Serving over 7,900 customers from 140 countries, the company manages a staggering 92 million containers brought in by more than 80,000 vessels annually. This accounts for approximately 10% of global container traffic and is facilitated through Client’s vast network of 172 marine and inland terminals in over 51 countries. While initially focused on global port operations, Client has expanded its reach by acquiring companies throughout the logistics value chain.

The recent disruption in the IT sector has boosted the use of web apps, making local apps less popular. The client, a cargo logistics business, recognised this and aimed to migrate its app into a web version.

The client wanted to provide seamless accessibility across all devices to their users while improving the app’s visual appeal.

Services Rendered: Application Re-platforming

Products/Tech Stack: Webswing, Docker, HTML5

Industry: Logistics & Supply Chain

Business Need/Challenge

The client was using a system-based application to manage their cargo business operations. However, keeping digital transformation in mind, the client wanted to upgrade the system-based cargo tracking and inventory management application into a web app.

Two primary challenges led to this migration decision!

  1. The migration required very careful and precise hardware configuration and software installation. This included the JDK version and environment variable setup, which was tough as it could take time and may disturb the current functionality of the app.
  2. The second challenge was that the application wasn’t accessible on handy devices like tablets and phones.

Solution and Approach

Keeping these challenges in mind, we brainstormed a solution that could easily migrate a Java-swing application into a web app.

The overall solution required three technologies for successful migration. These technologies were

  • A web server that uses HTML5 to allow the execution of Java-swing applications in the browser. Besides, the web server has many benefits, such as no-code modifications, codebase protection, and no need for browser plugins, making it ideal for migration.
  • The Docker platform seamlessly helps in creating, deploying, and running applications within lightweight and portable containers.
  • HTML5 helped enhance the visuals of the web app along with multimedia support.

The Migration Process

The migration process of the Java swing-based app to a web app was undertaken in two stages.

  1. The first phase was to set up the web app using the web server solution. The best thing about this web server solution is that it runs the app, while you only need a web browser that supports the implementation of HTML5 to see the application window.

In this process, the Java swing-based app was set up in the web server’s admin management console. This strategic process included configuring the dependencies, swing-based app java-archive or JAR, JVM arguments, property files, main class names, and arguments.

There were several other technicalities involved, but the server solution handled it seamlessly with its direct draw technology.

  1. The second phase of the setup included transferring the look and feel of the Java-swing app into an HTML use interface. The server solution was helpful here, too, as it deployed listeners and events to enable communication between the app and the HTML pages with minimal changes.

Business Benefits Achieved/Results

The migration of the Java swing-based application to a web application yielded remarkable benefits for the client.

  • No change in the source code, leaving the code repository intact.
  • 60% less time compared to conventional redevelopment or new platform migration.
  • 100% same look and feel and hence zero cost of change management for existing users.
  • QF-Testing ensured stable performance and smooth running of the Swing application.
  • The cluster engine feature provided high-scale performance and load-balancing advantages.
  • Highly interactive user interface compatible across tablets, laptops, desktops, and mobiles.
  • Streamlined operations with efficiency with a minimal 4GB of RAM.