Navigating Legacy App Compatibility & Browser Management

Legacy Browser Application Modernization Best Practices

Many of your enterprise operations likely rely on legacy browser-based web applications. While they have served your organization well through the years, legacy browser application modernization is essential for security, function and usability.

When these applications were developed, they were designed to run on legacy browser architectures. As technology continues to evolve, there is a rising need for enterprises to modernize their legacy applications. But how do we balance the need to preserve the functionality of these mission-critical applications while adapting them to contemporary requirements? This post dives into best practices for preserving and modernizing legacy browser-based applications.

Why Modernize Legacy Browser-Based Applications?

Most legacy browser-based applications are not compatible with modern browsers. Primarily, these are infrastructural challenges, but new web technologies can also complicate application performance, and more importantly, system security. This is where modernization, including legacy browser application modernization best practices, comes in.

Modernization means upgrading a software system or a software application to improve functionality, efficiency, and overall performance. It serves as the key to bridging the gap between outdated technology and contemporary digital needs, while still being able to exploit the underlying business logic that legacy applications afford.

Common Types of Legacy Browser Applications Requiring Modernization

Among the most common types of legacy browser-based applications that need modernization are those heavily reliant on older technologies. These include ActiveX controls, Java applets, or Silverlight. As an example, Java dependent applications running on Internet Explorer will not operate via modern browsers.

Deciding Between Rewriting and Compatibility in the Context of Modernizing Legacy Applications

One of the biggest debates in application modernization is rewriting legacy applications versus maintaining backward compatibility. Rewriting a mission-critical legacy application is often considered a solution for applications that are too rooted in old architecture to adapt to modern processes. However, rewriting can be a long, expensive process, and there is always a risk of losing critical business processes.

Meanwhile, maintaining backward compatibility is a quicker, less risky approach for ensuring legacy applications can function on a newer system.

Consider business value, risk, cost, and skills when choosing between rewriting or maintaining legacy apps.

Legacy Applications Modernization: Best Practices

Successful preservation and modernization of legacy browser-based applications rest on several best practices:

  • Align IT with Business: Ensure that your modernization strategy dovetails into your overall business strategy. The decision to modernize should be driven by business needs, not just technological needs.
  • Think Long-Term:  Modernization is a marathon, not a sprint. Plan for future tech trends.
  • Test and Train: Thoroughly test your modernized application in a controlled environment to detect and resolve issues and train your staff to be able to operate the modernized applications to minimize any “change anxiety”.
  • Use Application Sandboxing: Application sandboxing is a technique that isolates legacy applications, preventing them from accessing sensitive data or causing security vulnerabilities. This can be a valuable tool for modernizing legacy applications without putting your organization at risk.
  • Use Browser Management Tools: Browser management tools help keep your legacy applications up to date with the latest security patches and browser compatibility. This can help to protect your organization from security threats and ensure that your legacy applications continue to function properly.
  • Work with a Partner: If you don’t have the in-house expertise to modernize your legacy applications, work with a specialized partner. This can be a good option if you need to modernize your applications quickly or if you don’t have the resources to do it yourself.

Preserving and modernizing legacy applications require careful strategic thought and planning. With the right approach, you can modernize legacy apps to meet your business needs.

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