One of the upcoming features in Warewolf is the Component Object Model, or COM, connector. I am personally looking forward to this feature because of my experience on working directly with COM components in VB 6.0. Many companies have been trying to upgrade legacy business applications for years but it never seems to work out. This is simply because hundreds of developers have worked on the same application and it becomes almost impossible to maintain or rewrite.
How will the COM connector improve this problem?
Inside Warewolf there is already a .Net DLL connector (see Figure 1) but this doesn’t address all the issues faced by many other big and “old” companies out there. The concept will be almost the same with the COM connector, simply:
- Point to a registered COM component, and
- Set up the API endpoints you want to expose
The underlying complexity is then hidden and exposed as a service endpoint. This creates APIs that can be shared across the business without any effort.
Let’s face it, no business wants to run VB 6.0 or any other old technology these days, and the number of front ends are improving every day. This connector can introduce new technology by abstracting a service layer in a business which functions as a bridge from old to new, flexible APIs.
Possible features of the COM connector
- ActiveX DLL Hell improvement
Imagine if you could create a Warewolf workflow which monitors your COM components as you register them and raises an event if the compatibility is broken. An even better approach is to enable the connector to raise an event as a new version if an incompatible DLL is registered.
- Functionality to package a Warewolf encapsulated COM component as a single unit
This one came to mind as I wrote this blog post. I have had experiences where it’s nearly impossible to upgrade a server hosting a whole lot of COM components, a plan is to be able to wrap a COM component and its dependencies in a Warewolf workflow and deploy the Workflow to any server.
Depending on our users’ needs, we would look at adding the following connectors to the Warewolf tool box:
• Java executable connector- similar tool but for exposing .jar executables
• Python connector
• COBOL connector
You can implement a micro service architecture in your organisation using Warewolf in a few hours. An end-user does not have to be a VB 6.0 or a Java master, this tool hides all the complex plumbing in the background and exposes the APIs as simple endpoints.
Please send us your connector requests in the Community Forum or comments below.
For further reading on COM Integration, this is a great resource –