(1) Parser Calibration / Customization – For every install, ib-ARM parsers are calibrated to address client-specific use of language constructs. The calibration is implemented as a set of client-specific plug-ins which are then bundled with the standard, current release of the specific language parser. The use of non-standard language constructs, home-grown language extensions (often in the form of language pre-processors) and data-driven logic (where program-to-program, or transaction-to-program transfer is controlled by some externally stored data) is quite prevalent in most, if not all, legacy environments. The older the application, the more obscure some of these application elements are. Standard, “out-of-the-box” parsers either trip up on such non-standard programming, or simply ignore it. The end result is that real insight into the application is not achieved. Our installation process involves the definition of the Information Architecture (IA) that becomes the basis for the tool repository’s meta-model. ib-ARM’s meta-model is fully extensible to support additional component and relationship types. The IA also captures all application idiosyncrasies that require special extensions to the standard parsers. These special extensions are then developed (parser calibration) as client-specific plug-ins. For an average application portfolio (20+ applications, 25M Lines of Code), we normally encounter 15-20 specific requirements that must be addressed to provide real transparency and complete insight into the applications. This parser customization is a ‘must have’ for older legacy applications. Parser calibration is included in the ib-ARM license fee and is performed at no extra charge.
(2) Technology Coverage – ib-ARM’s platform and language coverage is always 100% for an Application Systems Portfolio. Although the tool’s parser kit includes just about every mainstream language, database, platform, job scheduler, etc.; we often find additional obscure languages/technologies emerging once the complete inventory is assembled. If we do not already have a parser for that language/technology, we develop it at no extra cost.
(3) Cross-Platform Coverage – Cross-platform (for example, web front-end to mainframe back-end) relationships are automatically mapped by ib-ARM where standard messaging protocols are involved (examples: ftp, MQ Series, SOA). Many installations, however, employ unique, custom solutions that require custom mapping rules. Just as parsers are calibrated for each customer install as required, so is the underlying relationship mapping engine to ensure that every form of cross-platform system flow is discovered and explicitly and seamlessly incorporated into the mapping of application components and their relationships. It is important to note that all repository-wide functions (search, impact analysis, and application metrics) seamlessly cross every platform present in the scope of the install.
(4) Documentation Objects – The ib-ARM Repository can readily incorporate documentation type objects, such as business process descriptions, business models, functional specifications, system overview diagrams, test scripts, end-user training manuals, operational run-books, etc. Documents can be standard MS Office documents, extracts from modelling tools, even mainframe DCF members. The Information Architecture captures “processing instructions” for the included documentation types (documents may or may not be parsed) that will ensure that the included documents are properly indexed (so they become searchable) and linked to referenced system components.