The term “legacy application” refers to a piece of software that has been around for a while, whether that means it’s 5 years old or first built 20 years ago. While older applications certainly require upkeep and incremental modernization to continue functioning effectively, the juice of continuing to develop your legacy application is certainly worth the squeeze.
How We Approach Legacy Applications
At Brewer Digital, our philosophy is that no application is too old to continue being developed. Joel Spolsky, a thought leader in software development, has said that rebuilding a piece of legacy software from scratch is “the single worst strategic mistake that any software company can make.” By scrapping an existing application in favor of an entirely new build, you lose all of the accrued knowledge inherent to the legacy system. All of the quirks, hacks, and fixes in the old system represent the bugs that your team has squashed and all the work that they’ve put in over the months, years, or decades since the system’s inception.
We take the approach where legacy applications are slowly and steadily migrated by updating aging pieces of the software individually. Because all legacy applications will require some level of continued development in order to maintain functionality, updating in sections allows for a manageable level of ongoing maintenance and minimal disruption to the overall application.
When to Rebuild Your Legacy Application
Our recommendation is almost always to maintain and improve existing systems, but there are some situations in which a full rebuild may make more sense than attempting to develop the legacy application. This applies to software that has outgrown its current platform, or situations where the current software has so few dependencies that it can easily be rebuilt.
For example, if you initially chose to build your custom web application using WordPress but now find that it’s no longer suiting your needs, we may recommend a strategy to migrate off of WordPress in stages and rebuild in a better-suited environment.
When to Migrate Your Legacy Application
Application migration is useful when it comes to modernizing your systems and saving company resources as you scale. Because your legacy application will need ongoing development in order to stay functional, you have a lot of choices for incrementally improving and modernizing your system. Weigh your legacy application migration options or chat with our experts to see what works best for your company.