How to Easily Add Modern User Interfaces to Your Database Applications

Teresa Wingfield

February 29, 2024

Data Modernization with OpenRoad

Modernizing legacy database applications brings all the advantages of the cloud alongside benefits such as faster development, user experience optimization, staff efficiency, stronger security and compliance, and improved interoperability. In my first blog on legacy application modernization with OpenROAD, a rapid database application development tool, I drilled into the many ways it makes it easier to have data modernization in applications with low risk by retaining your existing business logic. However, there’s still another big part of the legacy modernization journey, the user experience.

Users expect modern, intuitive interfaces with rich features and responsive design. Legacy applications often lack these qualities, which can often require significant redesign and redevelopment during application modernization to meet modern user experience expectations. Not so with OpenROAD! It simplifies the process of creating modern, visually appealing user interfaces by providing developers with a range of tools and features discussed below.

The abf2or Migration Utility

The abf2or migration utility modernizes Application-By-Forms (ABF) applications to OpenROAD frames, including form layout, controls, properties, and event handlers. It migrates business logic implemented in ABF scripts to equivalent logic in OpenROAD. This may involve translating script code and ensuring compatibility with OpenROAD’s scripting language. The utility also handles the migration of data sources to ensure that data connections and queries function properly and can convert report definitions.


WebGen is an OpenROAD utility that lets you quickly generate web and mobile applications in HTML5 and JavaScript from OpenROAD frames allowing OpenROAD applications to deployed on-line and on mobile devices.    

OpenROAD and Workbench IDE 

The OpenROAD Workbench Integrated Development Environment (IDE) is a comprehensive toolset for software development, particularly for creating and maintaining applications built using the OpenROAD framework. It provides tools specifically designed to migrate partitioned ABF applications to OpenROAD frames. Developers can then use the IDE’s visual design tools to further refine and customize the programs.   

Platform and Device Compatibility

Multiple platform support, including Windows and Linux, lets developers create user interfaces that can run seamlessly across different operating systems without significant modification. Developers can deliver applications to a desktop or place them on a web server for web browser access; OpenROAD installs them automatically if not already installed. The runtime for Windows Mobile enables deploying OpenROAD applications to mobile phones and Pocket PC devices.

Visual Development Environment

OpenROAD provides a visual development environment where developers can design user interface components using drag-and-drop tools, visual editors, and wizards. This makes it easier for developers to create complex user interface layouts without writing extensive code manually.   

Component Library

OpenROAD offers a rich library of pre-built user interface components, such as buttons, menus, dialog boxes, and data grids. Developers can easily customize and integrate these components into applications, saving time and user interface design effort.

Integration with Modern Technologies

Integration with modern technologies and frameworks such as HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript allows developers to incorporate modern user interface design principles, such as responsive design and animations, into their applications.

Scalability and Performance

OpenROAD delivers scalable and high-performance user interfaces capable of handling large volumes of data and complex interactions. It optimizes resource utilization and minimizes latency, ensuring a smooth and responsive user experience.

Modernize Your OpenROAD applications

Your legacy database applications may be stable, but most will not meet the expectations of users who want modern user interfaces. You don’t have to settle for the status quo. OpenROAD makes it easy to deliver what your users are asking for with migration tools to convert older interfaces, visual design tools, support for web and mobile application development, an extensive library of pre-built user interface components, and much more.

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About Teresa Wingfield

Teresa Wingfield is Director of Product Marketing at Actian where she is responsible for communicating the unique value that the Actian Data Platform delivers, including proven data integration, data management and data analytics. She brings a 20-year track record of increasing revenue and awareness for analytics, security, and cloud solutions. Prior to Actian, Teresa managed product marketing at industry-leading companies such as Cisco, McAfee, and VMware.