Provide a modern user experience with enhanced analytics and video graphics integration; build web-based solution so that teams can use local and mobile versions. Sydex wanted to reuse its existing code base of over one million LOC and employ creative staff for screen design.
When Mike Phillips, President of Sydex Sports, read the book “Men at work” by George F. Will, back in the 1980s, he realized how uncomputerized baseball was as a professional sport. As a big baseball fan, Phillips had some great ideas that would help the players and coaches be more effective in their game. He was so passionate about this that he founded Sydex Sports and dedicated himself to making his vision a reality. He used Micro Focus COBOL to develop his solution and in 1990 sold the first version of BATS! to the MLB (Major League Baseball). A DOS-based and mouse-driven data analysis application, it was regarded as quite revolutionary at the time. As Micro Focus COBOL matured, so did the Sydex solution with the launch of a graphical Windows application, based on Micro Focus Dialog System, in 1997. When, in 2001, video capture was incorporated into the data analysis, the Sydex solution really took off.
Phillips explains the challenges involved in maintaining a solution for close to 30 years: “By now we have well over a million lines of code in the base system, and it is crucial for us to reuse existing code to move the solution forward. We wanted to modernize the user interface; enhance functionality and the video graphics capabilities; and build new web access so that teams can use local and online versions which will give players and coaches access to information wherever they are, on or off the field. Crucially, we have a small development team and wanted to use our creative staff effectively to help design the user interface.”