Methods & Tools Software Development Magazine

Software Development Magazine - Project Management, Programming, Software Testing

 

Methods & Tools - News, Facts & Comments Edition - August 2004

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

* Microsoft to Extend the Range of Visual Studio in 2005

Microsoft recently unveiled the planned evolutions of its Visual Studio tool. Its goal is to extend the current functionalities of this product. A new Team System architecture will offer the following tools:

  • Team Architect includes a Web services designer and a class designer.
  • Team Developer provides code analysis (static and dynamic), code profiling and code coverage functions.
  • Team Test includes functions for test case management, unit and load testing.
  • Team Foundation offers project management and configuration management tools, extending the current SourceSafe version control.

Although Microsoft seems to be careful not to scare its current partners in the software engineering world, this evolution is clearly an attempt to squeeze out some competition. The Redmond giant has already used the same strategy in the operating system area when it included disk compression, an Internet browser, a media player or web security in its core product. Competitors will have a harder time to justify the additional dollars that their products require when similar functions will be already available "for free" in Visual Studio. The creation of Microsoft's own modelling notation is also clearly designed to weaken UML. This decision could also have been driven by the fact that last year Rational was bought by IBM and TogetherSoft by Borland. Therefore the UML modelling tool market could be considered as less independent than before.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

* Red Hat Enters Application Server Market

At the beginning of this month, Red Hat announced its intention to provide an Application Server. Part of the product is based on the Jonas project of the ObjectWeb consortium.

There is already plenty of competition in the application server market where BEA, IBM and Oracle are the market leaders. Red Hat said that it will test its product to ensure interoperability with products of these companies. At the low-end (financially speaking at least) of the market, Red Hat will meet competitors like JBoss that has been there for a time. JBoss has a good reputation, a growing market share and support from hardware suppliers like HP. The impact of Red Hat on this market should therefore be rather limited.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

* Computer Associates Goes Open Source

In May, Computer Associated (CA) announced that it will release Ingres under an open source license, CA-TSOL, a derivative of the common public license available from opensource.org. CA also launched this month a $1 million contest to reward creation of database converter programs from Oracle, Sybase or SQL Server towards Ingres.

Ingres acquired Ingres from Ask Computer Systems. At the end of the 80s, Ingres was a major competitor of Oracle and Sybase on the RDBMS market. As usual, CA was more interested by the captive market than the product and Ingres evolutions since then have been very limited. Officially, CA preferred to push its own Jasmine database. Have you heard of this product? It should have been one of these proofs that CA was a real technology company, with the capability to create innovative software. However it never succeeds in the database market. The product was abandoned after meeting scalability problems.

The funny part is that Ingres could be considered as an ancestor of Postgres, one of the main open source database product. Ingres was developed in the 70s by Michael Stonebraker at the University of California, Berkeley. After spending some times with Ingres Corporation, Stonebraker quitted Ingres to return to Berkeley and work on the Postgres project.

This move from CA exemplifies also some grey areas of "commercial open source" releases, where it is sometimes hard to distinguish between the intention to provide valuable products or code to the open source community and the tactical goal to harm the commercial operations of competitors.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

* More Product News

You can look at the last press releases from software development tools vendors on our forum

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

* Quality of Open Source Tools

Our last M&T poll was asking you to rate the quality of open source software development tools (examples: Eclipse, MySQL, PHP, JUnit, etc...) versus the commercial tools.

We had 312 respondents with the following opinions:

32% Open source tools have the same quality than commercial tools

26% Open source tools are superior in quality than commercial tools

24% There is now easy answer to this question

13% Open source tools are inferior in quality than commercial tools

4% I do not use open source tools

1% I do not use commercial tools

We can see that it was not always easy to answer this question, perhaps because quality can vary between tools, whether they are commercial or open source. However, for a majority of the participants, open source tools are at least as good (or bad... ;-]) as commercial tools. For 26% they are even better than commercial tools. This is not good news for the commercial software developers, even if we know that quality is not the only criteria used to select a supplier. Ironically, lack of support is often a point raised by companies that refuses to use open source tools. Is this related to the quality of commercial tools? ;-)

------------------------------------------------------------------------

* Web-based development

The current M&T poll is investigating the percentage of new applications that are developed using a Web technology (using a browser as an interface) at your location.

Go to www.methodsandtools.com/dynpoll/vote.php to disclose the situation at your location and to see intermediate results. The final results will be published in a next issue.

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

* Software Development as a Journey

Software development seems to be a discipline of artifacts; we developers spend our time producing stuff and attempting to find ways to measure just how well and how fast we make that stuff. And then managers tend to judge us by looking at the stuff - "That's a nice, meaty spec you've written, Dave."

Although this isn't surprising, it's a tad disappointing. Most of us joined the industry because we like doing things. We get pleasure from the act of creation and from activities that surround the creation process. But as time goes on, we start to lose sight of this. Companies aren't interested in the process as much as the product. Managers can't measure the thought that goes into a specification; they only see the document. In a previous company, Andy used to have a sign on his desk:

  • It is the artistry, not the art.
  • It is the process, not the product.
  • It is the journey, not the destination.

The management made him remove it. And so we gradually learn to stop thinking about the doing and instead start concentrating on the end products.

Consequently, even though we're a bunch of folks who like to do things, we've become wedded to nouns, not verbs. Just look at the vocabulary of methodologies: requirements, design, quality, communication, tests, deliverables - all good solid nouns, and not a verb in sight. Yet increasingly, Andy and I are coming to believe that these things, these nouns, aren't really that useful. Instead, we see that the real value lies in the processes that lead to the artifact's creation; the verbs are more valuable than the nouns.

[...] Whatever the reason, software delivery rarely represents the end of development, at least as far as the customer is concerned. Instead, the delivery simply represents a further refinement of our understanding of the requirement. Many developers treat a delivery as a chance to say "Here's the software you asked for," but they should be saying, "How's this version?" This is why iterative development is so useful: It gives the business folks and developers numerous opportunities to refine their ideas and discover the system's hidden potential. If we view deliverables as nouns, we tend to ship them and run. But if we treat deliverable as a verb - as something to do to help improve the way we add value to the business - we encourage communication, cooperation, and feedback between developers and customers.

[...] Let's end with a challenge. Think of some of the common nouns we fling around without a second thought (test, UML, diagram, architecture, and colleague might be interesting starting places). Then, try to recast them (somehow) as verbs. Where do you find the value? Should we be emphasizing the doing of things more and the artifacts less? How?

Source: Dave Thomas and Andy Hunt, "Verbing the Noun", IEEE Software, July/August 2003

Results are important, but the quality of the software depends mostly on how you produce it.

*** Conferences ********************************************************

Software Business 2004: The Premier Conference on Business & Technology
September 22-23, Hyatt Regency in San Francisco, California.
This is the third annual event, focusing on key critical issues facing software executives such as financial strategy, sales and marketing, executive strategy, and product development. It serves owners, chief executives, presidents, vice presidents and division directors or department managers of leading and fast-growing software companies.

www.softwarebusinessonline.com/sb_conf2004_index.htm

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Agile Business Conference - Where Agile Business Meets Agile Development
October 21-22 QEII Conference Centre London
Presentations and Workshops and Tutorials
Agile Methods, XP, Scrum, DSDM, Project Management, CMM, ITIL, Testing, Teamwork, Programme Management and more!

www.agileconference.org

------------------------------------------------------------------------

JAOO 2004, September 20 ­ 24 in Denmark.
Java, .Net, Web Services, MDA… and more! JAOO is the premier European conference on software development, methods and process. Meet international speakers from: Microsoft, Sun, IBM, SAP, Intersystems, Oracle, TheServerSide, BEA, Borland…
Sign up 2 from same company and save 15% on registration!

www.jaoo.dk

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Agile Alliance Europe Events
Agile Special Interest Groups are free events that provide developers, managers, testers - a wide range of software development stakeholders - a forum for knowledge-sharing and learning.

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

* Open Source Surveys

In my last editorial, I mentioned some surveys of the open source developers population. The full PDF reports on these surveys can be found at the following web sites:

Free/Libre and Open Source Software: Survey and Study
http://www.infonomics.nl/FLOSS/

The Free/Libre/Open Source Software Survey for 2003
http://www.stanford.edu/group/floss-us/

*** M&T News ***********************************************************

* Coming UP

In the Fall 2004 issue (published at the end of September), we will have articles on

  • reuse in process definition,
  • managing your way through the integration and test black hole,
  • decision tables.

In our Winter 2004 issue, we should focus more on the agile approaches of software development with articles on Feature Driven Development and Agile Multidisciplinary Teamwork.

Stay tuned!

April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
November 2009
October 2009
August 2009
May 2009
April 2009
February 2009
January 2009
November 2008
October 2008
August 2008
May 2008
April 2008
February 2008
January 2008
November 2007
October 2007
August 2007
May 2007
April 2007
February 2007
January 2007
November 2006
October 2006
August 2006
May 2006
April 2006
February 2006
January 2006
November 2005
October 2005
August 2005
May 2005
April 2005
February 2005
January 2005
November 2004
October 2004
August 2004
May 2004
April 2004
February 2004
January 2004
November 2003
October 2003
August 2003
May 2003
April 2003
February 2003
January 2003
November 2002
October 2002
May 2002
April 2002
February 2002
January 2002
November 2001
October 2001
May 2001
April 2001
February 2001
January 2001
Winter 2000
Fall 2000

Software Testing
Magazine


The Scrum Expert