Progress Software:
Ahead of its time or in need of modernization?

Progress Software was founded four decades ago, in 1981. At the time, Progress was revolutionary for making it easier and faster to build large applications. They accomplished this by developing a fourth-generation language (4GL).

From there, the company enjoyed several years of success, and by the mid-1980s it had landed its first major customers. During the 1990s, they even hit the $100 million revenue mark. Progress was way ahead of its time at that point, with the launch of their first GUI-based product written entirely in 4GL. At the time, 4GL was cutting edge, powerful and versatile and was considered by many to be the first form of low-code development. However, this momentum did not last and the following years marked the onset of a decline in its success.


Progress: the transition from innovative to out-of-date

There were numerous attempts to innovate from the year 2000 onwards by acquiring various technologies. However, the acquired technologies were never fully integrated with OpenEdge ABL. They were eventually sold on after a few years. This is one of the main reasons that Progress ABL has gradually acquired the status of "legacy technology".

Many Progress customers are still reluctant to make the transition to the latest version, and from the classic app server to the PASOE. Reprogramming and testing takes a lot of time and there aren't really that many technological improvements to benefit from.

In the end, Progress users are left feeling stuck. Maintaining the current application is becoming increasingly difficult, due to the growing shortage of Progress developers. Many of them are retiring and there are very few new ones entering the workforce.

At the same time, switching to the latest version can often take as much time as rebuilding everything from scratch. At the end of the day, you find yourself stuck in the stranglehold of legacy software.


Difficult to make the technology transition

OpenEdge ABL never fully Multi-Tier

Last substantial developments in 2007


Applications that grow with your organization

Ultimately, organizations with Progress OpenEdge applications all face the same challenge: how do we make sure our applications can keep up with a rapidly changing world? It's critical to find the right technology before investing massive amounts of time, money and resources. Thinkwise provides the technology to ensure that your application will always remain technologically up to date.

So how does Thinkwise differ from Progress?

  • Always up-to-date

  • Authorization and Permissions

  • Flexible test database

  • Easily migrate Progress applications

  • Integration

Gone are the days of technologically obsolete software

With Thinkwise, your applications become technology-independent; you only have to maintain the model. The underlying technology, such as User Interfaces, Service Tiers, and databases are periodically updated for you,  without impacting previously built applications. This means that a Thinkwise application will never become legacy in any of these areas and will always remain technologically modern.

Built-in authorization system: no more need for manual programming

The Thinkwise Platform features a built-in authorization system. Many other platforms, including Progress OpenEdge, do not have this part of software development integrated into their systems and has to be programmed manually. Managing and maintaining this properly in the long run is a complex challenge. In addition, it is very easy to create new users, including all associated rights and roles. This is crucial in organizations with many different types of users.

The platform also supports OpenID authentication by default. You can use various OpenID providers, such as Azure AD, Facebook, Gmail, etc. Furthermore, the platform itself can also be used as an OpenID provider, allowing 3rd party applications to use Single Sign-on (SSO) with accounts stored in the Thinkwise Platform.

Rapid & efficient testing

Software development requires a great deal of testing and continuous improvement. The Thinkwise Platform integrates test cases into the model, which means they continue to function properly even after changes to either the data model or the GUI model.

In addition, the Thinkwise development environment lets you automatically generate test cases based on the model.

Modernizing comprehensive systems using the Upcycler

A major added value of the Thinkwise Platform is that it includes an integrated solution for modernizing Progress OpenEdge applications. With the upcycler you can create a first version of a Thinkwise application by simply importing a Progress OpenEdge application. The result will obviously not be ready for production just yet, but a significant part of the work will automatically have been done for you.

The process to Upcycle a Progress OpenEdge application roughly consists of the following steps:

  1. Extracting model & data from Progress OpenEdge
  2. Importing model
  3. Transforming meta model to Thinkwise model
  4. Deploying the application
  5. Importing Progress data into the Thinkwise application

Integration: the key to a data-driven organization

It goes without saying that software needs to be able to communicate with other systems. Our integrated service tier provides secure access to all desired data and functionality through an open API based on the OData protocol.

The Thinkwise Platform offers extensive integration capabilities such as:

  • Database connectivity
  • Web Services
  • Business Intelligence
  • Microsoft Exchange
  • Office and reporting
20220303 - WhitePaper - ISV Progress whitepaper - ENG - cover

Download the free whitepaper on modernizing Progress applications with Thinkwise


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What is a Progressive Web App?

A Progressive Web App (PWA) is a website that behaves like a native app. The difference is that the Progressive Web App can be used directly, while a native app has to be downloaded from a (mobile) app store and installed on the device.

Progressive Web Apps combine the features of traditional websites with those of mobile apps. Like normal websites, Progressive Web Apps have a web address and can be accessed via it at any time. Unlike traditional, editorial websites, Progressive Web Apps are more user-friendly and have increased functionality.

How Thinkwise mitigates the risk of Vendor Lock-in?

Thinkwise minimizes lock-in to a minimum by offering open standards. We don't have a proprietary programming language and the entire model you build and the database are directly accessible outside the Thinkwise environment. You can use your own cloud or servers and even deploy the business logic to a location of your choice. In the event that you really want to stop using Thinkwise, everything can be saved or reused, including code comments.

Why I wouldn't face the same challenges with Thinkwise in 10 years?

There are several reasons why this will not happen. The main reason is that the platform itself is built with the platform, just as a 3D printer prints the next, better version of a 3D printer. This means that just like your applications, the platform itself will never become technologically obsolete, so it will not become legacy itself.

The #1 low-code platform for your digital transformation

Thinkwise offers the only low-code platform specialized for realizing large and complex enterprise software. It enables you to deliver solutions at least ten times faster than with traditional software development. Replace and prevent legacy software with applications that automatically stay modern.

Eliminate legacy software, clean up your back-log in no time, and make your organization flexible again with software that seamlessly integrates with your business, but is easily adaptable - even after implementation.

The #1 low-code platform for core systems