Legacy technology can be a significant hindrance in the evolution of a company’s solutions and its ability to compete in today’s fast-paced world.
Is legacy technology holding your organization back? To answer this question, you first have to assess whether your technology is, in fact, legacy – let’s begin by defining what “legacy” actually means:
What is Legacy?
Legacy is highly a subjective term in the IT industry. Often, a solution is deemed legacy because it’s old. But just because an application is old doesn’t mean that doesn’t function well. In fact, age doesn’t factor in to our definition of “legacy” at all. At DVmobile, we define legacy as:
Your Technology Might be “Legacy” If….
Now that we’ve defined “legacy”, let’s look at some characteristics that are common to legacy technologies. These four factors will help you determine if your technology is legacy.
Your technology might be legacy if…
1. …Its Architecture is Outdated
As technology has advanced, some traditional technology architecture has become outdated. For example, many PHP-based website implementations fall into the “legacy” bucket because the architecture is obsolete. Website architecture has also gone through several significant iterations - progressing from static HTML pages, aka Web 1.0, to dynamic page requests (aka Web 2.0) to, today, SPAs downloaded as web scripts (Web 3.0). Older iterations of website architecture are outdated and outmoded, and fall into the “legacy” category.
2. …Its Language is Obsolete
Sometimes the programming language that an application is written in can become obsolete. For example, both Android and iOS started with programming languages that have been changed along the way.
In 2016, Apple officially changed its programming language from Objective-C to Swift. Today, it’s nearly impossible to find anyone willing to maintain an Objective-C codebase, making applications created in this language legacy technologies.
In 2017, Android changed its programming language from Java to Kotlin. As a result, developing a new application in Java is the same as creating a legacy system from day one.
3. …Its Code is Antiquated
If your technology is still relying on old workarounds rather than taking advantage of newly developed operating system resources, then it might be legacy. For example, in the early days of mobile app development, developers had to use toolkits to build networking functionality. As Android and iOS advanced, they developed resources to address networking within their operating systems. Apps that haven’t modernized antiquated networking toolkits with the newer Android and Apple networking resources are likely legacy solutions.
Learn more about modernizing existing applications here.
4. …It Hasn’t Been Refactored
Software development should be iterative. Just like a house might need fresh paint or new windows, software too requires consistent updates over time. Refactoring – the process of continually updating software – is critical to the future viability of a solution. In fact, one of the ways a technology can become legacy is when no refactoring has taken place and the code becomes “brittle” or not easily maintainable.. Learn more about technical debt here.
Need Help Assessing Your Solution?
Still not sure if your technology is falls into the legacy category?
We can help. Our technology assessment methodology helps companies:
- Evaluate their current solutions
- Identify areas of technical debt and architectural changes that are needed, and
- Develop a strategy for modernizing solutions, empowering companies to move their business forward quickly and effectively.
CTO, multiple patent holder, & flip-phone collector