Belfast team quick to pick up .net skills

Halifax and Bank of Scotland (HBOS) is aiming to show that Northern Ireland is a centre for leading-edge software development.

Halifax and Bank of Scotland (HBOS) is aiming to show that Northern Ireland is a centre for leading-edge software development.

The company is reworking its former Bank of Scotland Web site at its Belfast e-commerce development centre, using the Microsoft .net framework, from the user interface through to the back-office mainframes.

Dermot Grimley, head of the development centre, said, "We want to show that our team has the skills-base required to take on such a challenge.

"In a year, we have created a centre in Belfast that is positioned at the leading edge of technology. Having such a high-profile project says something about what we have achieved - it is a terrific vote of confidence."

HBOS developers will be using Microsoft Visual Studio .net and ASP .net to provide the front-end functionality and the links through to the IBM S/390 mainframes running Bank of Scotland's DB2 database.

Although the development environment is new to many of the programmers, a spokesperson for the bank was impressed with the speed at which the team became familiar with the tools. The spokesperson said they already had skills in C++, Active Server Pages, Component Object Model or Java and they found the transition to ASP .net and the new C# language easy.

The project is based on the Internet Corporate Office banking system developed by the Bank of Scotland. Since the merger with Halifax, the company has moved to standardise systems on the .net framework.

The team is moving towards integrating mainframe data using ASP .net with MS Message Queue to provide the communication links.

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