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4 Common challenges Uniface users face

How modernization helps accelerate your organization

OAZ - no time-consuming code changes
| 6 minutes read

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4 Common challenges Uniface users face

Uniface entered the market in 1984 with the aim of facilitating the development of database-driven, mission-critical applications. The development platform is known for its 4GL (fourth-generation language) environment, which enables building robust applications with relatively little code. With its focus on high productivity and relatively simple development of complex applications, the platform, originally from the Netherlands, became a valuable tool for organizations worldwide.

In the forty years since Uniface was created, the company has been acquired by various other organizations. During this time, the development platform has proven its value. However, there are now four common challenges that organizations working with Uniface encounter. These specific challenges can affect both your organization’s workflows and the professional development of developers maintaining the applications. Read about these challenges and how they can be addressed in this blog.

1. Limited access to new technologies and innovations

It’s challenging for Uniface applications to integrate the latest technological innovations and trends. This makes it difficult for developers to incorporate requested innovations from the business into their projects.

While the platform is robust and reliable for existing applications, it may impose limitations in terms of new technologies such as cloud-native development, artificial intelligence, microservices, containers, and more advanced frontend frameworks. This can make it harder for developers to build modern, scalable, and flexible applications that meet today’s market expectations. As a result, applications may be less agile than the business requires, leading to decreased efficiency or even missed opportunities in the market.

2. Challenges in knowledge development and career growth

The niche focus of Uniface means that developers specialized in this platform may have fewer opportunities for knowledge development and career growth outside of Uniface. Especially now, as more companies are transitioning to more modern solutions, and IT professionals are increasingly working with a mix of technologies. The demand for developers with skills in newer, more widespread, and industry-standard technologies (such as JavaScript frameworks, Python, or cloud platform technologies and .Net) is rapidly growing, making it challenging for Uniface developers to adapt and grow in the broader IT job market.

3. Challenges with usability and user interface design

Developing modern, user-friendly interfaces can be challenging within the Uniface platform, especially when it comes to meeting the expectations of contemporary users accustomed to the intuitive and responsive designs of web and mobile applications. Although Uniface offers capabilities for web and mobile development, achieving the same level of interaction and aesthetics as native tools or newer frameworks may require more effort and sometimes workarounds. This means organizations may need more time to adapt to new market conditions or may not fully adapt, resulting in efficiency loss and reduced competitiveness.

4. Integration and collaboration with other systems

The digital success of organizations is increasingly determined by the ease with which different IT solutions can collaborate effectively. This is a fourth challenge for many Uniface users.

Developers may also encounter challenges in integrating Uniface applications with other software and technologies, especially if they are based on more recent technologies or when there is a need for real-time data exchange. The event-driven and data-driven organization is on the rise, but it’s a development that is complicated by less open and flexible technologies. Creating robust and efficient interfaces between Uniface applications and external APIs, microservices, or cloud services can be complex, prolonging development time, limiting system integration capabilities, and making maintenance more expensive.

The business case for modernizing Uniface

In addition to the four challenges faced by developers working with Uniface, the Uniface platform itself also faces several challenges that can adversely affect business operations.

  • Limited market knowledge of Uniface: The number of experts is decreasing, leading to staff shortages and outdated expertise.
  • Challenges with Uniface version 10: Migration to this version is complex and costly, with a lack of efficient revision control.
  • Limitations for new projects: Uniface is considered less suitable for developing new systems, partly due to the unfriendly user interface.
  • Renewal of legacy environments: Modernizing outdated Uniface environments is a significant challenge.
  • Limited functional development: There is little significant development within Uniface, stifling innovation.

All these challenges may prompt an organization and its users (in business operations and developers) to question whether there is a better solution than Uniface. And why organizations choose to continue working with Uniface.

One of the biggest barriers for organizations to modernize Uniface lies in the assumption that the process is time-consuming, disrupts daily business operations too much, and above all, requires a significant financial investment. These concerns are not unfounded. Traditional software modernization can indeed lead to long development cycles, significant downtime, and high costs, not only in terms of development but also for training and implementation.

If you’re a developer looking to make a business case to replace Uniface, the company needs to realize the impact of an outdated system on its ability to respond quickly to market changes or seize new opportunities. Additionally, it’s essential to come up with a solution that bypasses the barriers of traditional migration and results in higher efficiency in using and maintaining the new solution.

Modernizing Uniface quickly, affordably, and sustainably with the Omvormer

While traditional approaches to modernizing legacy systems like Uniface have many pitfalls, the Omvormer offers a promising way out. Developed by Vormer, a partner of USoft, the Omvormer has been specializing in Uniface projects for years. It’s an innovative tool specifically developed for the USoft platform to facilitate the transformation process of traditional Uniface applications to modern platforms.

The Omvormer converts Uniface exports into a new Extract Transform Load (ETL) model structure in XML format. This may sound technical, but it translates to a significant acceleration of the modernization process, while reducing risks immediately. This ‘translation’ by the Omvormer makes it easy to generate a backend environment. This transformation process includes crucial components such as the data model, user interface, and business logic rules. Especially the latter is often the biggest challenge in modernization and is greatly simplified by the Omvormer, with significantly less risk.

The Omvormer can automatically transfer the data model and user interface to a modern environment, such as that of USoft, creating an application where data can be viewed directly. This lays the foundation for the development of business logic rules.

How does the Omvormer work?

The process begins with importing existing Uniface code, which is then automatically translated into a more structured and modern model. Using USoft platform technology, both the front end and the back end of the new application are automatically generated based on this converted structure. The Omvormer also provides tools for customizing the user interface and application forms, as well as for further developing domain logic. This results in a fully functional, modern application ready for use in today’s business environment.

With the Omvormer, you can expect:

  • Faster migration: The Omvormer can significantly accelerate the migration process, allowing the transition to a modern environment to be completed up to twice as fast.
  • Reduced risk: Due to the automated nature of the tool, it quickly becomes clear whether a migration project will be successful, reducing the risk of failed implementations.
  • Access to data: A read-only version of the application provides direct access to data for evaluation purposes, resulting in a quickly testable and assessable product.
  • Reduced need for specialist personnel: The requirement for in-depth knowledge of Uniface or the target language is reduced, leading to lower labor costs, making the Omvormer a cost-effective solution for companies.

By modernizing Uniface applications with the Omvormer, companies can not only bring their IT infrastructure up to date but also benefit from the advantages of modern development platforms. This includes improved user-friendliness, better integration capabilities with other systems and software, and a flexible approach to developing and maintaining mission-critical applications. The Omvormer promises a fast, secure, and cost-effective way to address the challenges of Uniface modernization, enabling companies to adapt to the demands of the current market and be ready for future technological developments.


For companies working with Uniface, it is crucial to recognize that modernizing this software is not just a technical challenge but a strategic necessity. Choosing the right strategy and tools for modernization can make the difference between falling behind and taking a lead in a rapidly changing market.

The investments to modernize Uniface with the Omvormer pale in comparison to the costs of maintaining Uniface. This includes not only direct costs, such as licenses that can amount to tens of thousands of euros per year with no substantial support or updates attached, but also indirect costs. Think of maintenance and obtaining specialized support, which can further drive up annual costs. These investments support technologies that no longer fit with the current or future direction of the company, putting companies in a financially disadvantageous position.

With the Omvormer for the process and USoft as a platform for innovative applications, your organization is assured of a robust and future-proof environment. A flexible platform that allows you to build applications that can adapt to market developments and the organization’s needs.

For developers, modernizing Uniface represents a fundamental shift in their work. Not only are they freed from the constraints of outdated technologies, but they also have the opportunity to redefine their role within organizations. Additionally, they can expand their knowledge of modern technologies and improve their career prospects.

Want to learn more about modernizing Uniface? Contact us.

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