ING modernized its Forms application with Formspider

ING Emeklilik, the ING company in Turkey which operates in the insurance & personal retirement sector is a long time Formspider customer.

The latest use of Formspider at ING is in an Oracle Forms modernization project.

The Business Problem

ING Emeklilik Life Insurance policies are sold via hundreds of agencies and branches across Turkey using an application implemented with Oracle Forms.

The Life Insurance application must be accessed by all sorts of devices and browsers from all over the country and it was getting increasingly difficult for IT to deploy, upgrade and support the Forms applications to meet the increasing demands of the business. It was time to modernize the Forms applications.

The New Formspider Application has a fresh look (Click to enlarge)

The Technical Challenge

The Life Insurance application is a mid-size system containing four Oracle Forms FMB’s with 19 Forms blocks and more than 10K lines of code.

Over the years, a lot of business rules were implemented in the Forms. The new system must implement these business rules.

To avoid retraining the users, the new application must look and function similarly.

The new application must meet the strictly enforced, high security standards at ING Emeklilik.

The Implementation

Since Formspider applications work 100% AJAX and have components such as Windows, Tabs and LOV’s it was very easy for us to create a similar working environment for the users while still being able to give the software a fresh look.

In Formspider, a Dialog can be opened with a single API call (Click to enlarge)

Just like Forms, Formspider’s programming language is PL/SQL. This enabled us to reuse most of the algorithm in the Forms for validations and UI navigation by simply replacing Forms built-ins with Formspider API’s. This greatly reduces the chance of creating bugs.

Both Formspider and Forms use an event driven architecture. This makes porting of a Forms applications triggers to Formspider a lot easier than porting it to a web page architecture.

Formspider applications use a connection pool to access the database and Forms applications have a dedicated session. The Life Insurance Forms relied on package globals, global temporary tables etc… which only work in a stateful environment. We had to convert these portions of the code to Formspider constructs such as session variables, datasource definitions etc…

Forms LOV’s stop the execution of the code and wait for user input. Formspider LOV’s do not stop the execution of the code. They have a special event which fires after the user makes a selection in the LOV. We had to refactor the portions in the code which called LOV’s.

The Result

The new Life Insurance application built with Formspider was in production in less than two months after we started development.

We were amused to find out later that, in our competitor’s bid for the project the estimated duration for conversion of the system to Java was nine months.

The application passed the security tests of the ING team with flying colors.

The users did not require any training at all because the new application practically worked exactly the same way as the old one, only with a more modern look.

Formspider Tabs helped us to avoid user training (Click to enlarge)

Thanks to Formspider’s built-in true cross browser compatibility, the application worked in every device and browser, hundreds of insurance agents use. Since the new Formspider application is entirely web based, the deployment, upgrade and support costs went significantly down compared to the legacy system.

The new system has been in production for six months now without any incident.

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