Replace or modernize Uniface applications

Uniface is a software development platform that dates back to the 1980s. The platform offers organizations a model driven method to develop their own applications with minimal programming. At its inception this software was way ahead of its time, it served as a kind of low-code development tool ( also called 4th generation programming language at the time) with an integrated development environment and its proprietary programming language.

For many years Uniface was very successful as one of the market leaders in this field and as a software vendor. However, after the year 2000, the Uniface market share has been declining steadily.


Uniface: back in time

The platform mainly enjoyed its success in the 1980s and 1990s. In 1994 the company was acquired by Compuware after which Uniface experienced its heyday and was considered the market leader in what is now called low-code from 1997 to 2000. After 2000, Uniface's market share slowly declined. This is largely due to the fact that Compuware introduced a second development tool alongside Uniface, which caused a lot of confusion among Uniface customers.

Twenty years later, in 2014 Uniface was acquired by the American investment company Marlin Equity Partners after which Uniface continued as an independent company. After a brief revival during 2014-2017, finally, in 2018 the company was heavily reorganized and ultimately sold to Boston-based Rocket Software in 2021. As a result, the independent organization Uniface ceased to exist and is now a part of Rocket Software.

The last classic version of Uniface, version 9.7, was released in 2015. This marked the end of the continued development of version 9. Although its successor, Uniface 10, was released in 2016, this version differed in architecture from its predecessor to such an extent that migration would require just as much effort as redevelopment of the software or implementing a new solution. From 2016 to the present, only one substantial new version has been released (Rocket Uniface 10.4 in 2021).

Despite these developments, the software is still in use at many companies. Uniface is used both by companies that build applications to sell to end customers as well as by companies that build applications for their own use.


V10: upgrading is complex and expensive

Lack of experienced Uniface developers

Hardly any functional development

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Get your free whitepaper on how to modernize Uniface applications with the Thinkwise Platform


What distinguishes Thinkwise from Uniface?

Maintenance costs are rising, developers who can work with the software are very scarce, and support and development of the software is very minimal. As a customer you are faced with a difficult decision: are you going to modernize completely or switch to version 10. Both take the same amount of effort, which means that as a customer you are effectively held hostage by the software. This is the moment when the software loses its shelf life and you, as an organization, have to look for a way to modernize Uniface applications.

We will explain what Thinkwise has to offer and what distinguishes it from Uniface below.

  • The Thinkwise Upcycler

  • Always up-to-date

  • Responsive design

  • Simple tabs

  • Authorization and permissions

  • Multilanguage

Easily modernize and transform Uniface applications

For all those companies that have been looking for an efficient way to modernize their outdated Uniface applications for years, there finally is an efficient and effective solution: the Thinkwise Uniface Upcycler.

Using the so-called Upcycler, you import and analyze the metadata from the existing application. The Thinkwise platform then lays the foundation for the new solution based on the meta data and automatic optimizations. This can then be fully customized. The next step is the data conversion; you will have all your existing data immediately available in the new solution. This enables you to get to the heart of your problem and convert the outdated Uniface application to a modern low-code based technology.

Replacing and preventing legacy

If you are an organization with Uniface, you face the challenge of moving to version 10 or completely modernizing, both costing the same amount of effort. But which option will prevent such problems in the future? Modernizing with the Thinkwise Platform means that your applications become independent of technology. You deploy them on a platform of your choice, for example in the cloud as a mobile app, but you can switch to what will then be the new cutting edge without any problems in the future. In fact, all you have to do is maintain a digital blueprint. As a result, applications never need to be redeveloped.

Even the early adopters of Thinkwise have never had to rebuild their application in the past 20 years, they could seamlessly transition through various technologies. For example, they went from Visual Basic in the year 2002, to C#, to ASP.NET, Java and finally to React in 2021. This is how you always stay ahead as an enterprise!

Automatically available on all devices at all times

An important advantage of Thinkwise is that all user interfaces are fully responsive. This means that any Uniface (desktop) application that is migrated to Thinkwise automatically becomes available as a web application and can be used on a tablet, smartphone or any other screen without having to make any adjustments.

There is no need to build and maintain a separate web or mobile application. Do you still want to continue working with Windows? That's no problem, because as a Progressive Web App (PWA) the Thinkwise application can also be installed locally as a Windows App.

Presenting data in a simple and accessible way

For user-friendly software, it is important that the information is presented in a clear and accessible way. Uniface applications use a lot of tabs and 'contained forms' for this, in practice this is quite difficult to modernize. Thinkwise enables you to fully customize the layout of your screens, including tabs and forms, without having to code.

Built-in authorization system

Another advantage of developing software with Thinkwise is the fact that the platform has a built-in authorization system. This lets you easily create new users, including all the associated rights and roles. This is crucial for organizations with many different types of users. By integrating this authorization system you no longer need to build and maintain this essential software component yourself.

Support for multiple languages

Support for multiple languages is essential, especially for applications that are used internationally. Unicode is an international standard used for encoding graphic characters and symbols in binary code, similar to the ASCII standard. Thinkwise fully supports the Unicode standard.

A migration from Uniface to many other platforms poses an additional challenge for organizations that have deployed their Uniface applications with multiple languages and want to include this language support during the migration.

Thanks in part to Unicode, the Upcycler completely solves this challenge and effortlessly migrates the multi-language capability of a Uniface application to the Thinkwise Platform. This means that non-multilingual applications also automatically become suitable for multi language use.


Want to know more about...?

How does Thinkwise mitigate 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.

What does the process of Upcycling a Uniface application look like exactly?

With the Thinkwise Upcycler for Uniface you can import your existing Uniface legacy applications and all other Uniface assets into the Thinkwise development environment. This enables you to modernize and migrate your legacy Uniface applications to a powerful, future-proof environment. This video explains the Upcycle process step by step.

How does the maintenance of a Thinkwise application compare to Uniface?

A Thinkwise application is defined by a model that is stored in a database. The application itself is derived at runtime from that model. This means you no longer have to build separate forms, reports etc., which makes maintenance much more efficient. The complete Thinkwise metamodel including all logic is stored in a database, where it can easily be accessed and manipulated by developers.

Why wouldn't I 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.

What is the Thinkwise Guarantee?

Organizations that work with Thinkwise are guaranteed that they can replace their legacy software within 12 months with a modern, flexible solution using our low-code platform. If not, we will refund the license costs for the first year. Terms and conditions apply, read more about our Guarantee here.

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.

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