The assessment for the replacement and consolidation of decision table generators has been completed successfully. Delta Software Technology assessed, for a large insurer, the possibility of an automated conversion from VORELLE to DETAB but also to Plain COBOL.
Read more about replacing VORELLE with reduced test effort here ...
Decision tables simplify the software development
Many of our customers are convinced by the decision table technique. Decision tables simplify the software development and enable an implementation with a clear source code. They are an important method for the clearly structured description of complex facts and the related rules.
The development and maintenance of a complex rulebook in native COBOL or PL/I code is too time-consuming and inefficient for our customers, that is why they have been using decision table generators for a long time.
Consolidate or replace decision table generators?
Many companies use several generators, e.g. VORELLE (gadiv, formerly mbp), LF-ET (Lohrfink), Delta DETAB (Delta Software Technology) etc. for COBOL and PL/I.
If the maintenance of applications is transferred to new developers, they have to adopt the different techniques. So, it makes sense to consolidate generators that fulfil the same task.
In addition, many generators are already at the end of life and the maintenance would have to be performed on the generated code in the future. This generated code is very complex, nested and barely legible. Therefore, the code is hard to understand and to maintain. An automated consolidation into a table generator that will remain in maintenance in the future, prevents an increase in complexity, thus facilitating the maintenance.
Assessed possible strategies
In an assessment for a large insurer we have assessed possible strategies if and how an automated transfer from VORELLE to DETAB is possible. For that purpose, all COBOL and Delta ADS sources that contain decision tables, have been analysed and evaluated with respect to their use. In addition, a test strategy was developed, which keeps the test effort low and yet proves the correctness.
Results of the assessment
The result of the assessment was clear:
- An automated transfer from VORELLE to DETAB is possible.
- The syntax of the two generators is very similar: A re-training of previous VORELLE users is not or only minimally necessary.
Different solution variants
As a result of the assessment, possible solution variants were proposed to the customer how the VORELLE tables can be transferred. Most of the tables can be automatically converted into almost identical DETAB tables. In addition, the customer has the option to transform smaller tables directly into easily readable code. For the transformation our AMELIO Modernization Platform can be adopted to fit the customers’ need.
Reduced testing effort
AMELIO automates the changes – 100%. Thus, it is not necessary to test all transformed programs. Instead, the rules for the changes are tested in advance according to the principle of meta-level testing. In this way, the test effort can be drastically reduced compared to conventional test methods.
“AMELIOs Meta-Level Testing verifies the transformation rules - not the transformed programs."
The automated transfer from VORELLE to DETAB or native Cobol code is possible and the test effort remains manageable.
As a further result, we were able to create an individual project and financial plan for the customer in order to minimize risks and to present costs transparently.
The desire of the customer to bring about a consolidation of the generators can be met - and is also clearly our recommendation.
And your decision table generator?
If you also plan to consolidate, replace or modernize your decision table generators, then contact us directly.