University of California, San Diego

April 8, 1997
Route to: Campus Managers and Departmental Security Administrators
SUBJECT: Migration from OMNIS-7/DARWIN Systems to the Web
Dear Colleagues:
After much thought and campus consultation, we have decided to devote significant ACT resources to developing Web-based tools which will, within one year, replace and extend the functionality of the existing OMNIS-7
systems (also known as DARWIN Browsers). Given resource and time constraints, we will have to freeze all new OMNIS-7 development and we will not upgrade the current systems for support of new operating systems (e.g., Windows NT 4.0).
ACT is fully committed to supporting the existing OMNIS-7 products until the appropriate replacements are available. To that end, we will keep maintaining the systems and will fix production problems if and when they occur.
Information about the background and rationale for this decision is described in Appendix A below and is also available at http://www-act.ucsd.edu on the ACT Web site by clicking on the OMNIS/Browser button.
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me by email at eharel@ucsd.edu or by phone at x43396.
Thank you.
Elazar C. Harel
Assistant Vice Chancellor - ACT
---------------------------------------------------------------------------- APPENDIX A: BACKGROUND AND RATIONALE
Many of you are currently using administrative computing systems which are based on OMNIS-7 technology. These include the DARWIN Browsers (Financial, Student, Employee, Purchase Orders, and Phone), Graphical-IFIS, Merit Allocation, and the online Time Keeping systems.
OMNIS-7 was purchased a few years ago, when it was the leading graphical client/server development tool, especially for organizations which required multi-platform workstation capabilities (i.e., Windows and Macintosh). The OMNIS-7 browsers were developed by ACT and were successfully implemented, with several hundred active campus users currently utilizing the systems.
This technology has served UCSD very well, but it will not scale up as we transition to a much larger level of cross-platform computing (e.g., extending access to faculty and students). Potential problems include incompatibilities with new operating systems, complex installation procedures which require technical expertise at the user offices, having to wait for the application to be updated if there have been changes, and relatively high costs.
Over the last few years we have all seen a dramatic shift in computer technology, with the Internet becoming a household commodity and the World-Wide-Web (e.g., Netscape Navigator, Internet Explorer) becoming the de-facto user interface standard. The Web has many advantages over other traditional client/server technologies, primarily when it comes to ease-of-use, common navigation, low support cost, and simple maintenance.
As some of you know, a partial migration from OMNIS-7 to the Web has already begun with the implementation of the Web-based Phone Directory on InfoPath and with the StudentLink system which currently provides secure Web-based student and class information to eligible students, faculty, and staff.
Over the next few months we will complete the migration of student-related functions and will discontinue the OMNIS-7 Students & Classes browser. Similarly, we will soon start developing "FinancialLink" and "EmployeeLink". If you would like to have a glimpse at the look-and-feel of the new systems, please take a look at StudentLink at http://studentlink.ucsd.edu on the Web.
In order to complete the transition within the given aggressive timeframe and within our limited resources, the current OMNIS-7 version (3.2) will be supported as is and will not be upgraded. This means that OMNIS-7 systems will
not be usable with Windows NT 4.0 unless the workstations are configured with a dual-boot option to also run Windows 95. The new Web-based applications which will replace the OMNIS-7 systems will be available within less than
one year from today (no later than April, 1998). To assure a smooth transition, we will continue to support the OMNIS-7 systems until January, 1999.