Switching back and forth between GTKMM application and Windows application

Greetings everyone,

Summary: I am trying to determine how to quickly integrate a legacy Windows application and a newly developed GTKMM application.

I've been developing this GTKMM application for the last 2 years. It is a medication administration package for use in Nursing homes. You can view our web site at http://www.exact-med.com.

We are installing our system soon and our customer has an existing medical records system that we are integrating with. We are sharing data via the network using a protocol developed for the medical industry (http://www.hl7.org).

Sharing data between the two systems is easy, but our customer is replacing/supplementing a piece of their legacy medical records system (MRS) with our system, and a portion of their legacy system will replace some functionality in our system. Our system is called eMAR (electronic Medication Administration Record), and it tracks the administration of medications to patients. Their legacy system will continue to be the master system for the majority of the Patient Information, but our eMAR system will become the master system for just the medication orders for the patient.

So, we, the developers of the two systems, have been asked by our customer who wants to use BOTH systems to do the following:

'Seamlessly' integrate eMAR and the legacy MRS. The majority of patient information will still be maintained in the legacy MRS, but now when the medical records data entry person begins to enter a new medication order for a patient, then the system will _switch_ to eMAR. Likewise, when the user tries to modify/view other patient information, the system will _switch_ back to the legacy MRS.

The legacy MRS is written for MS Windows. The eMAR system is written in GTKMM for Linux. I've been mulling this over for the last couple of days and have a few ideas which I'll state briefly:

1. Run eMAR on the Linux box via an X-Windows client on the MS windows box. Use some sort of communication mechanism (DCOM/CORBA) to tie the two systems together. 2. Compile eMAR for MS Windows using GTKMM for windows and tie the two systems together using some sort of interprocess communications. 3. Compile the legacy MRS (a Delphi coded system I believe) on Linux and run both applications on Linux.

Has anyone ever seen this done? Is there an example of this out there? I have come to learn that most people (myself included) consider themselves exclusively Linux or exclusively Windows developers.

I'm leaning toward option 1 because it has more 'knowns' for me. I know how to run my application on a Windows box via an X-Windows client. If I can learn how to communicate via CORBA or DCOM with the windows application, then I think I can quickly demonstrate some basic "application switching" to my customer in just a few days.

Option 2 scares me. I have designed our system to run on Linux, I know that getting it to run on Windows will take significant effort. I'm cannot use the latest version of GTKMM (currently using gtkmm-2.2.1) because of some specific interdependencies.

Option 3 would be great for me, but I can't make that call. My vendor partner has not made that offer to compile on Linux, and I have not asked them to. I suspect it is scary for them as well for the same reasons it is scary for me and Option 2.

Thanks for taking the time to read this. And thank you for making suggestions. I don't understand why my customer thinks it will be so difficult to simply <ALT>-<TAB> between the two applications, but they are insisting on having the two systems switch automatically. I'm going to continue look for a simple solution.



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