Health Insurance Architecture Review
Our large health insurance client had designed and implemented a web-based system that allowed health care providers to check the eligibility of patients for medical procedures, to browse past claims information for specific clients, and to browse participating health care provider information.
Our client was moving all of their applications to a modern infrastructure, but needed an expert to provide blueprints and a best practices for this migration.
The existing system ran under a proprietary servlet infrastructure. It was deployed across several processes connected through CORBA interfaces, communicating with mainframe systems via a screen-scraping API. Web pages were generated from templates, in which dynamic fields within the pages were coded as proprietary tags. The entire system was served by a single transaction program that interpreted all requests.
Our client requested that Jonah conduct an architecture review, provide suggestions and best practices for improvement of the architecture, and redevelop 10% of the site as a template for their internal development team to complete the remainder of any conversions that were deemed necessary.
- Architecture review
- Source code analysis
- Create design for standards-based architecture
- Create detailed project plan for complete port
- Implement 10% of the conversion to the standards-based architecture
- Create a static demo version of the site
- Train the client development team
Jonah recommended a short proof-of-concept phase before starting work on the production version of the port. The architecture and proof of concept used the following components and technologies.
- Web Browser Interface
- Websphere application server
- Netscape LDAP server
- Stingray screen-scraping API
- Mainframe with legacy data
- J2EE container
- Servlet/JSP based interface
- CORBA connection to mainframe
The system had a custom session manager process that duplicated the functions of the session functionality built in to all standard J2EE containers. Continuing to use the custom session manager in the system would have led to maintenance and integration problems down the road. All session management code was pruned from the system and replaced with the standard session functionality.
The system was composed of several processes. These processes were subsumed into the WebSphere process to improve performance and ease maintenance effort. This allowed our client to retire the hardware that supported the screen-scraping interface, reducing the need for heterogeneous hardware and software in the production environment, and taking advantage of clusters of already-deployed WebSphere boxes.
The processes within the system communicated through an Object Request Broker (ORB). The ORB was no longer required since the code was moved into the WebSphere process, but other applications depended on the ORB interface. Jonah suggested that an HTTPS/XML interface be developed to support these applications.
The page compositing engine used proprietary tags in its HTML templates. A roadmap for the conversion of these templates to standard JSP pages was developed, including sample pages and tag conversion mappings. JSP pages were used to include dynamic content exposed by properties on newly created Java Beans, in which the business logic of the application was wrapped.
We delivered the proof of concept, roadmap, and project plan for the full conversion on time and 100 hours under budget.