Updating 236 Delphi applications from Delphi 5 and 7 to the very latest version for a client on the other side of the world. Where to start with that? GDK Software’s developers took on this challenge for the New Zealand organisation Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC). Both parties can look back on a successful collaboration!
LIC is a farmer-owned co-operative that is a world leader in pasture-based dairy genetics and livestock management. LIC aims to deliver superior genetics and technological innovation to help its shareholders raise sustainable and profitable livestock. LIC has a long history of developing and delivering world-leading innovations for the dairy industry. The co-operative remains one of the largest private investors in research and development in the industry. Today, the New Zealand-based co-operative has more than 700 permanent employees. This will increase to 2,000 in the spring. LIC also has offices in the UK, Ireland and Australia. All of LIC’s profits are returned to its farmer owners/shareholders in the form of dividends, or reinvested in new solutions, research and development. www.lic.co.nz
The co-operative uses several software applications, including a Delphi suite with 236 individual applications in Delphi 5 or 7. “These applications are mainly used by our own internal teams to support farmers,” says Ailsa. “For a long time, the Borland Database Engine (BDE) was the biggest stumbling block. This is a software layer between our applications and the database. Unfortunately, development of the BDE stopped in 1999. Three years later, it turned out that Borland no longer supported the software, so the software layer did not work in 64-bit Windows. Our users started seeing more and more error messages, and response times also increased. Some had to restart the application up to five times a day. We couldn’t keep it that way any longer.”
The search for a company to update the applications eventually led to GDK Software. “GDK had demonstrable experience in upgrading applications. A good example is its own conversion tool: GDK Duster. Although Duster could solve many standard errors automatically, we naturally also needed the expertise of GDK’s Delphi developers to solve specific problems.”
Ailsa Hunt, Custom Systems Manager Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC)
The long distance between New Zealand and Europe did not prove to be a major stumbling block. “We worked with the UK team at GDK Software. It was great to work with James and his colleagues. Every morning we had a stand-up via Teams. These sessions sometimes evolved into technical discussions about the applications. Of course, the big time zone difference could be a barrier. We therefore had to communicate well with each other to reduce the negative impact of the time difference.”
Looking back on the process, Ailsa has words of praise for GDK Software. This is mainly because of the streamlined process. “GDK Software posted the updated applications on GitHub. We could use these applications for in-depth testing. If a notable error occurred with one of our users, one of our team members would take screenshots of the problem. He would then talk to the GDK team via Microsoft Teams to go through the errors. The UK developers were very flexible, so the upgrade went extremely well.”
Since then, the Delphi applications have almost all been updated and Ailsa and her colleagues have a new goal. “The next step is to work with GDK Software to see what other opportunities there are for our applications. We look forward to working further with GDK Software.”