The biggest news from Lawson CUE 2005 was the announcement of Project Landmark. This is the culmination of over three years of development, spearheaded by Richard Lawson, one of the founders of Lawson Software.
You’re probably asking yourself: “Just what is this Project Landmark and how does it affect me?”
Project Landmark is–plain and simple–a new application layer for your Lawson applications–using Java instead of COBOL (or RPG for iSeries users). In the Lawson 8.x Environment, you may have noticed an new option in pgmdef for a program’s “Run Type” called “Java”. This gives a hint of what’s to come.
Based on the announcement, you can speculate that Landmark-based Java code can co-exist in your Lawson Environment alongside your existing COBOL (or RPG for iSeries) code. The promise is that you can replace your applications one-by-one, while keeping the Environment and Database layers intact. Backward compatibility is one of the keys to the longevity of a software company, but it’s also one heck of a hard promise to keep.
Project Landmark also introduces Lawson’s clients to the idea of a Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA). Much has been written about SOA, so I won’t bore you with the details, except to say that you should probably go back and read my LawsonGuru Letter article on Web Services. Dean Hager also gave us a hint of things to come in my LawsonGuru Letter interview with him:
LawsonGuru: SAP has released its new NetWeaver architecture, which is built on the concept of web services. I’ve been a big proponent of web services (see http://www.danalytics.com/guru/letter/archive/2003-07.htm ), and was really hoping that we’d see an offering from Lawson this year that embraced web services standards (e.g., SOAP, UDDI, WSDL). Does Lawson get much pressure to offer this?
Hager: This is a huge topic. Today, we are not getting a lot of pressure from our clients to offer this. However, that’s a typical innovator’s dilemma. We see a heck of a lot of value for clients in enabling our system for web services. We are working diligently in that direction.
You know what I think is interesting about Project Landmark? If you read the press release, I think it hits every hot button and buzzword in the market today. But so does David Duffield, founder of PeopleSoft, who is poised to take on a similar project. If you look at his site, you see that he is trumpeting the same themes as Lawson!
Would I bet on Lawson succeeding with Project Landmark? Let’s just say I’m still the skeptic. I’ve seen this type of thing before, and it never saw the light of day. Let’s hope this time it’s a different ending.
So, what do you think about Project Landmark?