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Frequently Asked Questions

What is HP BridgeWorks?
HP BridgeWorks is an easy-to-use tool for creating reusable, distributable components from your existing OpenVMS applications so that they are available to a wide range of desktop- and web-based applications.

Why would I want to use BridgeWorks?
If you want to connect your desktop- and web-based users with your mission-critical OpenVMS applications, BridgeWorks may be for you. Your OpenVMS applications typically represent huge investments in resources and are repositories of valuable business logic. BridgeWorks can help protect these investments by integrating them with Windows and the web.

Rewriting your application or porting existing code and data to new operating systems can be resource-intensive and risky. HP BridgeWorks encapsulates your original application's logic without porting it and usually without altering it. The core business logic within your trusted applications remains where it has always been, in its fully tested OpenVMS environment.

After componentizing, you can evolve your application's functionality by adding routines, either in your OpenVMS environment or elsewhere in your distributed environment.

What are BridgeWorks requirements?
BridgeWorks requirements are similar to those for other integration projects involving OpenVMS, Windows, and Tru64 UNIX. As a multiplatform solution, BridgeWorks leverages many technologies. Not all of these will necessarily be needed for your particular component project. Please review the system requirements for the development and base (production) requirements.

How do BridgeWorks-generated applications perform?
HP makes no performance claims for BridgeWorks-generated applications. Performance metrics for HP BridgeWorks are largely dependent on the underlying cross-platform technologies used by BridgeWorks - including RPC, ICC, DECdtm, COM, Java, and J2EE application servers. Given the huge diversity of potential production environments, including such factors as data throughput and network speed, it is not possible to make any baseline assertions about the performance you should expect.

How do I know if BridgeWorks is right for me?
BridgeWorks can work with any application that is callable using the OpenVMS Calling Standard, but other factors may determine whether it is the best solution for your situation. Implementation of a distributed application is dependent, in particular, on the ability to reuse application logic without having to substantially rewrite legacy code to remove unwanted embedded terminal I/O and other nonreusable code. There may be other integration tools more suitable to your particular project requirements.

How does BridgeWorks differ from other HP integration tools?
Several HP integration tools are tailored to applications using some particular OpenVMS technology, such as DECforms Web Connector (for forms-based applications). If a specialized integration tool is available for your existing application, this may be the right choice for you.

In contrast, BridgeWorks is designed to provide flexible interoperability between most standard-component platforms and most OpenVMS applications. Such applications must use the OpenVMS Calling Standard and have callable routines, ACMS tasks, or DCL procedures that can be logically mapped to a new front end (typically, Java clients, web clients, or other Windows clients).

What does BridgeWorks offer that COM for OpenVMS or Java for OpenVMS don't?
HP BridgeWorks, COM for OpenVMS, and Java for OpenVMS are complementary technologies. COM and Java enable OpenVMS/Alpha 7.2 or later to be a COM, JavaBean, or EJB server in a distributed information system. BridgeWorks is a tool for creating distributable components from existing applications and is compatible with OpenVMS systems back to Version 7.2. Using BridgeWorks, the component server, or middle component, can be on OpenVMS Alpha, Windows XP or Windows 2000.

What product/software/hardware requirements does BridgeWorks have?
HP BridgeWorks Version 3.0 supports OpenVMS Alpha 7.2-2 or later. BridgeWorks development also requires a Pentium-class computer running Windows XP or Windows 2000. The source code that BridgeWorks generates has specific compiler and runtime requirements. Please refer to BridgeWorks' System Requirements before proceeding. VAX is not a supported platform in this release. BridgeWorks Version 2.1A will continue to be available for wrapping VAX-based applications.

How much do I need to know about COM, Java, RPC, and other distributed technologies?
Although BridgeWorks generates all of the distributed support code for you, it is highly suggested that you spend the time to learn a little about the underlying technologies being used. It will allow you to more quickly identify client/server-related problems in your code and environment. The BridgeWorks tutorial and extended examples demonstrate typical but simple instances of using these technologies. Client development will require software engineers with expertise in one or more client languages.

Does BridgeWorks require me to port/migrate my code?
No. In fact, one of the major reasons for using HP BridgeWorks is that it can wrap your application - turning it into a COM, JavaBeans, or EJB component - in place without disturbing it at all in many cases. This allows you to keep your application on the same secure platform where it always has been.

How do I start using BridgeWorks?
After installing both the Windows and OpenVMS kits (according to the Readme.txt and BWX$INSTALLATION_GUIDE.TXT instructions) you are ready to build your first working connection, using the Quick-Start Tutorials and Examples. This will give you the hands-on experience and quick results to get started on your own project. The User Guide provides practical information about componentizing your application with BridgeWorks.

What if my application is not threadsafe?
Because threadsafety was not a requirement for many legacy OpenVMS applications, threadsafe applications are the exception rather than the rule. Unless you know your application was engineered or reengineered to be threadsafe, you should assume it is not. For this reason, BridgeWorks has been designed to enable nonthreadsafe applications to run and emulate much of the threadsafe behavior by starting a new process to handle each unique client. (If you choose to support multiple clients, you will need to make sure your application is capable of correctly sharing access to files and other system resources.)

Once I've wrapped my application, what do I do next?
You are responsible for developing the desktop or web-based client program (using a development environment such as NetBeans for OpenVMS, Microsoft Visual C++ or Visual Basic, or a wide variety of scripting languages). Therefore, successful deployment in a production environment requires experience in user interface design and COM or Java client programming techniques.

Does BridgeWorks support transaction processing?
Support for propagating transactions started by the J2EE-compliant application server, such as WebLogic Server, is a fully integrated feature of BridgeWorks Version 3.0. This requires DECdtm 2.1 to be installed on the Alpha system.

What transport protocols are used?
BridgeWorks Version 3.0 supports a new transport scheme built around a “generic” IPC architecture. You can use either ICC (Intracluster Communication), RPC, or a no-transport option on the same system. Using ICC services, you can create connections between different processes on a single system or different systems within a single OpenVMS Cluster system. This is a flexible architecture. The middle component will attempt to connect using ICC before it attempts to use RPC because the performance of ICC is much faster. This service is only available, however, inside an OpenVMS cluster - that is, middle and server components must be running on systems within the same cluster.

What about security features?
A new security feature was added in Version 3.0. Client authentication and server impersonation are supported on a per client basis, with the exception of transactional connections. Servers of a specific type can be started and pooled under a statically specified account. However, once connected to a client, that client will have the ability to log that server into their account, giving that server all rights and accesses associated with their account. Servers can impersonate multiple clients simultaneously, providing each client with the appropriate access rights.

How can I get technical support for BridgeWorks?
Standalone software support is available for HP BridgeWorks. For more information, contact your local HP support center at:

For more information, contact your local HP office

Please send comments or technical feedback to the BridgeWorks team Your reports will be used as a source of input for improving future versions and will be addressed on a best-effort basis.

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