Y2K Tools Find New Life in E-Commerce Arena

In the mid-1990s, Visionet Systems (Princeton, N.J.) was one of the first vendors to roll out a Year 2000 code remediation solution for AS/400 environments. Now, the company has evolved into a new role as e-business solutions vendor, leveraging technologies formerly used to find and fix dates as HTML conversion tools.

Visionet is still reaching out to shops wrestling with Y2K, however, with the recent announcement that it is giving its Year 2000 auditing tool, Audit/400, away for free to anyone who still needs to test their remediated applications for remaining bugs. Thirty days of free telephone support is also included. In doing so, the vendor joins Miami-based Antrix Corp., which began offering its own auditing utility, Data Auditor, for free download to AS/400 shops.

Part of Visionet's strategy is to offer Y2K help as a way introduce its product lines to new customers, says Arshad Masood, CEO of Visionet. "Many of our Year 2000 customers have turned out to be our maintenance customers," he explains.

Visionet's Audit/400 includes Visionet's DataAger/400, ScriptAger/400, ComparisonUtility/400 and Simdate, a product licensed from Firstech Corp (Beverly Hills, Calif.). Companies can use Audit/400 to test one date of their choice to determine if the application contains any Y2K related problems. Rather than using source code to simulate results, Audit/400 runs against unmodified object code. This strategy allows testing of both original as well as converted applications, using a copy of the actual production database and not test or sample data.

The entire toolset can be purchased if Year 2000-related failures are found, and the customer wishes to receive diagnostic reports as well as unlimited test dates. This offer is targeted at late-comers, as well as smaller AS/400 shops that may have trouble securing all the resources and expertise they need for Y2K remediation and testing, Masood states.

The technology for Visionet's e-commerce technology tools came out of the company's Year 2000 tools, Masood points out. "One of our basic parsing tools connects a Web browser to an existing RPG or COBOL application. Now, however, instead of just looking for date fields, our tools can look at every possible field on the screen, in the print queue, and in the database."

Visionet unveiled a Java-based human resource management system earlier this year, and also announced it had partnered with Sun Microsystems in integrating a host-based mortgage systems with the Internet.