Java-based Y2K Tool Hits the Market

In what may be the first Y2K tool of its kind, RMM Inc. (Columbia, Md.) is offering a Java-based Year 2000 remediation tool that will run on any Java-enabled platform, including the AS/400. In addition, RMM claims the tool, called Millennium Key, will address a variety of languages, including RPG, COBOL, and C++. "We kept the program language-independent," says Tom Soeder, chairman of RMM. "It doesn't matter whether companies have RPG on AS/400, C++ on RS/6000, or even a Clipper Database on a Windows NT network." Millennium Key is targeted at small to medium-size companies that may not have the resources for other tools on the market, says Tom Soeder, chairman of RMM. "Small businesses can't afford $100,000 or $200,000 for two copies of Y2K tools," he says. "Exxon could absorb that hit, but I don't think a medium-size company could do that." The software is available for monthly rental over the Internet, as well as through a per-user license.

Millennium Key enables developers to employ a variety of date-fix techniques, including field expansion, bridging and windowing. A century window can be expanded up to 65,000 years and allows plus or minus 37,000 years from the pivot year, Soeder claims. In addition, a bridging utility will identify data file formats (ASCII, EBCIDIC, or binary) and apply appropriate logic - - adding "19" to all EBCIDIC or ASCII dates (per windowing), or reading compressed binary dates. When the computer writes new information to the file, it will write years and centuries in compressed format (binary) in the original two allotted spaces.

The University System of Maryland (USM) recently chose RMM's Millennium Key as a tool for training students in Year 2000 remediation work. Under a new program funded by businesses in the state, USM is providing five weeks of training, after which technicians will work for those businesses for about $15 an hour. At the end of two years, program participants are eligible for free tuition at any of the 11 USM campuses. A number of other universities are looking into establishing similar programs, Soeder says.