Financial Developers Gain Better Legacy Access

Enterprise developers in the financial sector will find one legacy vendor is making it easier to build web services that connect to legacy applications. Misys' Midas straight-through processing system, used by more than 800 banks and financial institutions worldwide, has opened up the gates to back-end data, applications and workflow through support for XML, SOAP, Java and VB/ASP. See what's bankable for web services development in the new release.

Tags: Midas, Web Services, Developers, Applications, Support, Hosking, Processing Engine,


Enterprise developers in the financial sector will find one legacy vendor is making it easier to build web services that connect to back-end legacy applications. Misys' Midas straight-through processing system, used by more than 800 banks and financial institutions worldwide, has opened up the gates to back-end data, applications and workflow through support for XML, SOAP, Java and VB/ASP.

Midas provides financial institutions a back-office transaction-processing engine that handles a broad range of trading activities, including treasury, capital markets, corporate, retail and private banking, using workflow and straight-through processing (STP) for settlement, accounting, risk control and regulatory reporting.

In its most recent R4 upgrade, available mid-year, Midas takes its first step to support web services, using a J2EE framework around the Midas business process engine, but the result is not limited to Java developers.

Misys' Midas is a modular system with all business and settlement modules licensed as required for bank operations. Working with these modules, the new framework enables XML access of all data, said Mike Hosking, Midas regional development manager. This, in turn, provides developers with:
  1. Access to all business functions via HTTP, SOAP or RMI; and
  2. Cascading style sheets that enable each corporate user to more easily change the appearance of the application.
The modular architecture also means that discrete web services can be implemented on a case-by-case basis, without affecting other co-resident applications, Hosking explained.

The benefits from all this technology show up at the front end, where user demands require a variety of customized GUI and data access work. The Midas R4 with web services support brings several key benefits to developers, including:
  1. Platform-independent processing logic;
  2. The ability to install XML messaging standards including support for SOAP;
  3. The ability to establish a thin-client device-independent front-end;
  4. The ability to build in support for any SQL-compliant open database; and
  5. The ability to incorporate automated workflow tools allowing full front-to-back STP.
Inside the Midas Touch to Web Services
The Midas solution comprises a number of major components, including ones for customer acquisition, credit risk, revenue analysis, inter-organizational lending and retail lending. At its heart is the Transaction Processing Engine (TPE), which handles the traditional "back office" functions, such as settlement, accounting, MIS and regulatory reporting.

Bridging these application and workflow components is the Midas Connectivity Layer, which facilitates this front-office/back-office integration, and also provides the glue for the web services framework, Hosking said. The XML-based Connectivity Layer contains a transformation engine for scripted reformatting of data exchanged to/from Midas. The layer also enables transactions captured externally to the Midas back office to be received and processed by the Transaction Processing Engine, and allows information on the Midas database to be selectively replicated for use by other applications.

With the new framework wrap-around and the use of standard protocols, such as SOAP, and XML schema standards, the goal is simply to allow all the Midas assets to be exposed and presented as a set of web services to users within a bank or even between institutions, Hosking said.

Misys engineers voted early on to go with SOAP rather than any Java connector or RPC approach. "The SOAP standard is the best way to integrate the Java and the Microsoft worlds, and in banking, that's very common," Hosking said.
Key elements of the new Midas back-office architecture to support front-office applications include:
  1. Adoption of XML as the standard for message delivery from its back-office transaction processing engine;
  2. Support for a wide variety of formats, and the ability to import format definitions from other systems, allowing Midas to support any message structure;
  3. Interfaces for Java, VB and C++ objects through its integration toolkit; and
  4. Support for current and emerging cross-platform financial standards. In specific, Midas delivers compliance with S.W.I.F.T., Clearing, CLS and other industry networks.
The benefits from all this modularity, Hosking added, are a "stake in the ground for emerging benefits of STP and financial web services," including the ability to (1) offer a bank's customers web access; (2) enable all systems to be accessed under one interface, if/when required; and (3) extend the bank's business processes/workflow over web assets.

"We wrapped all the combined legacy code with Java," Hosking told IDN. "We have a set of action classes (basic J2EE objects), and they allow the developers in the bank to build new business logic that builds on top of their legacy applications." The goal: to enable developers to build applications that will support a more "dynamic" path, he added.

Hosking anticipates that the future direction of Misys will be immersed with web services capabilities from this version onward. "Network capabilities have just gotten much higher and are much cheaper, and so it's only natural that developers have options to leverage their data and applications with that kind of communications capacity. Web services is a powerful way for developers to do that with our modular architecture, and to do it on their own -- without requiring a lot of fancy integration projects."

For more info on Midas, as a new install or an upgrade, contact Misys.



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