Methods & Tools Software Development Magazine

Software Development Magazine - Project Management, Programming, Software Testing

 

Methods & Tools - News, Facts & Comments Edition - August 2003

*** Products ***********************************************************

* Java Goes Scripting

During the JavaOne conference held at the beginning of June in San Francisco, Sun made some announcements on the future of Java. According to Sun, the main focus of the language's evolution is the ease-of-development, allowing software developers to specify easily what they want their application to achieve.

In this area, I think that the most interesting initiative is to improve the relationship between Java and scripting languages like JavaScript, ASP or PHP. The goal is to create a standard method for accessing Java-based systems from scripting languages. PHP will be the reference scripting implementation. To achieve this goal, Sun will team with Zend Technologies, which is a major force in the PHP community.

*** Companies **********************************************************

* Three for Two

At the beginning of June, Peoplesoft announced an agreement to acquire J.D. Edwards. The combined companies created the second largest enterprise applications software company with around $2.8 billion in revenues and 13'000 employees. This acquisition was completed July 18. This could have been the simple story of a friendly acquisition if Oracle had not intervened. On June 6, Oracle announced a cash offer to buy Peoplesoft for $16 per share. This offer was later upped to $19.50 per share and was valid until August 15. Peoplesoft CEO commented this offer calling it "atrociously bad behavior from a company with a history of atrociously bad behavior. Obviously it is a transparent attempt to disrupt the acquisition of J.D. Edwards by Peoplesoft announced earlier this week."

This acquisition gives Peoplesoft access the lower end of the enterprise application software market (that is small and medium companies) where there seem to be the best chances to profit from revenues growth. Peoplesoft had only 5'200 customers versus 6'700 for J.D. Edwards. The acquisition of Great Plains by Microsoft was based on the same strategy. Oracle move can be considered as a pure tactical attempt to destabilize a competitor and I do not think that Oracle really wanted to buy Peoplesoft. The major winner of this turbulence could be SAP, as it could benefit from the uncertainty attached to the fate of its competitors to win some more customers.

*** Numbers ************************************************************

* Software in the Global Economy

Here are the positions of the software and computers services companies in the last Fortune Global 500 ranking:

Company 2002 revenues ($ million)
137. Microsoft 28'365
200. EDS 21'782
436. Accenture 11'574
448. Computer Science Corp 11'347

Source: Fortune Global 500, Fortune, July 21, 2003

It is interesting to note that IBM with revenues of 83'132 million US$ is ranked 18. As we know that the software and services part of these revenues are respectively $ 13'074 and $36'360 million, IBM is the de facto world leader in the software and computer services industry.

And for those who think that they are paying too much for their OS upgrade or office suite, Microsoft is classified in the 9th position in the profits ranking... ;-)

*** In Other's Words ***************************************************

* Do you Speak Software?

Software engineer's concern:

The software requirements are changing (or the users don't seem quite sure about what they want the software to do or the customers seem to keep changing their minds about what they want, except they say they are just 'clarifying' and not changing the requirements.)

Translation into management terms:

Our estimate of schedule and budget for the software project is no longer valid. At this time, we might not be able to see how many more requirements changes are coming, so we might not event be able to develop a new estimate with confidence. Can we set a time to discuss what our new strategy should be since the old strategy is no longer workable?

Software engineer's concern:

We have run into some unexpected problems integrating (or designing or implementing or testing) the software

Translation into management terms:

Our estimate of the time and budget required to complete the software is no longer valid. Furthermore, because we didn't see these problems coming, we aren't sure what other problems might be imminent. We'll give you a revised estimate as soon as we have enough information to do so. In the meantime, please begin changing the customers' expectations so they won't expect so much so soon.

Software engineer's concern:

This small change in requirements has a big ripple effect on the software design and implementation.

Translation into management terms:

If we go ahead with this change in the software requirements, the additional schedule time and cost will be much more than you expect. We can give you the technical details explaining why if you want. (However, we aren't confident that you will appreciate the explanation. The essence of the problem is that we did not envision this change in requirements when we initially architected and designed the software.) We also know that if you go to the contract software shop down the road and ask them to make this change, they'll tell you they can do it for a lot less money and complete it a lot more quickly. However once they see how this software is designed, they will tell you this is a poor software design – because it wasn't designed to accommodate this kind of change. So, it will cost more and probably take longer than they initially estimated.

Source: Dorothy McKinney, "Six Translations between Software-Speak and Management-Speak", IEEE Software, November/December 2002

Communication is a key success factor of software development projects. It is even more difficult when the participants belong to two different "worlds" like software engineering and management.

*** Web Siteseeing *****************************************************

* Open Source or Free .NET Tools

The Fall PDF issue published in September will contain an article on the .NET architecture. How surprising that it may be, you could find open source or free tools for this Microsoft concept. Here is a selection with some of these tools:

http://starship.python.net/crew/mhammond/dotnet/

Open Source implementation of Python for .NET

http://www.dotnetnuke.com/

DotNetNuke automated content management system

http://nant.sourceforge.net/

NAnt is a free .NET build tool

http://ojb-net.sourceforge.net/

OJB.NET is an object-to-relational persistence tool for the .NET platform

http://www.csunit.org/index.php

Inspired by JUnit, csUnit brings the power of unit testing to the .NET framework

http://www.dotnetmagic.com

Magic is a library of user interface components for use within the .NET

http://www.icsharpcode.net/OpenSource/SD/Default.aspx

#develop (short for SharpDevelop) is a free IDE for C# and VB.NET projects

http://nunit.org/

NUnit Unit-testing framework for all .Net languages

http://www.southern-storm.com.au/portable_net.html

An open-source C# compiler and libraries

http://www.improve-technologies.com/alpha/esharp/

Improve C# Plugin for Eclipse

*** Humour *************************************************************

For the true meaning of "monkey testing" go to http://www.newtechusa.com/ppi/main.asp

*** Books **************************************************************

If you liked the articles of Lisa Crispin and Steve Splaine our Summer 2003 issue, find more about their knowledge in the following books:

* Testing Extreme Programming by Lisa Crispin

This practical tutorial for software builders demonstrates how testing is central to the extreme programming (XP) approach and explains what testing should be done and when and how it should be performed. It overviews the XP methodology, defines the roles of XP team members, shows how to write effective tests before coding begins, and sheds light on refactoring and how it relates to testing. A "road hazard survival kit" offers advice on challenges in testability, project tune-ups, large projects, and extreme testing without extreme programming

To buy it on amazon.com click below
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0321113551/methotools-20

* The Web Testing Handbook by Steven Splaine

The Web Testing Handbook is the definitive resource for testing Web sites and Internet-based applications. Many developers and testers are making the transition from traditional Client/Server, PC, and/or Mainframe systems to testing rapidly changing Web sites and applications.

To buy it on amazon.com click below
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0970436300/methotools-20

* Testing Web Security: Assessing the Security of Web Sites and Applications

Following a straightforward, accessible approach, this book will take you step-by-step through the process of testing the security of your Web sites and applications. Whether you’re a software tester, system administrator, developer, manager, Web master, or security engineer, you’ll find valuable information on how to use testing as a security measure. This book covers: Planning the security testing effort: strategies, teams, and tools

How to define the scope of the project

Testing network security and system software configurations

Checking for security vulnerabilities in Web applications

Evaluating how well prepared an organization is against assailants

The unique challenges of testing defenses designed to confuse an intruder

Using a risk analysis to focus the testing effort on the areas that present the greatest threats to the organization

To buy it on amazon.com click below
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0471232815/methotools-20

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The content of this publication cannot be reproduced without prior written consent of the publisher - Copyright ã 2003, Martinig & Associates

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