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Success Story

New from old: Software modernization

Zühlke developed a tool to translate legacy code from Fortran to Java. As a result, the customers’ tried and trusted programs were soon ported, and up and running again in the new environment.


ALSTOM uses numerous programs in Fortran to design steam turbines. Each program contains decades of experience and business-critical domain knowledge. The goal was to unify all the programs in one modern platform. This included porting programs from Fortran to Java. But how? Reimplementing them in Java would be time consuming and carry a high risk of inexplicable deviations in the output design data.


In the initial project phase, Zühlke developed a tool to automate translation of the programs from Fortran code into the equivalent Java constructs.

In the second project phase, the new code was manually cleansed with the help of refactoring tools and brought into the required form. Throughout the entire translation process, numerous test cases were conducted to ensure the new programs provided the same results as the original ones.

The translation software worked well from the outset and is being used to port further Fortran programs. The one-off investment costs for the tool’s development are recouped each time it is re-used. Thanks to the manual post-editing, the quality of the code was improved and future maintainability safeguarded.

Customer benefits

  • Thanks to Zühlke’s experience and innovative approach, the customer was able to work with the translated programs after a very short time.
  • Zühlke’s agile approach made it possible to respond to the customer’s demands regarding the final form of the code even at a late stage of the project.
  • By providing technical expertise in the development of the translation tool and competent support with refactoring, Zühlke was able to supply the customer with a comprehensive and reusable solution.

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