Methods & Tools Software Development Magazine

Software Development Magazine - Project Management, Programming, Software Testing

 

Methods & Tools - News, Facts & Comments Edition - November 2005

*** News ***************************************************************

* Ingres Goes Open Source Outside Computer Associates

At the beginning of this month, Computer Associates (CA) announced that it divested its Ingres open source unit into an independent company, Ingres Corporations. CA will own 20% of this new company and the venture capital company Garnett & Helfrich Capital funded the remaining. Terry Garnett is a former Oracle vice president. He seems to have a good sense of humour, declaring in a press release that "In recent years, CA has made a significant investment in making Ingres one of the leading mission-critical databases in the marketplace". CA is investing significantly in software improvement? This is a good news.

This event reflects a growing interest to develop businesses around open source databases, inspired by the success of MySQL and its dual licensing system. Here are some other companies active in this field:

  • Enterprisedb.com promises near Oracle compatibility using PostgreSQL
  • Db4objects develops and supports the db4o open source object database
  • Daffodil Software provides One $DB, an open source version of Daffodil DB, its commercial Java RDBMS
  • Command Prompt provides managed services and support for PostgreSQL
  • IBPhoenix is a provider of services for Firebird

Even if there are many different licensing options that should be considered when using an open source product, for many customers the first and obvious advantage is price.

Oracle has seen the danger of low-price alternatives for its potential customer base. The recent acquisition of Innobase, the provider of the InnoDB technology that can be used as storage engine with MySQL database, can be interpreted as a mean to gain some control over the development of MySQL. The launch of the free Oracle 10g Express Edition (Oracle Database XE), currently in beta version, is another action that could interest those looking for free products. The hidden objective is that once the application will be developed using Oracle, it will be easier to migrate to a paying version of Oracle if it requires more database power.

More information

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* Sun for Free

As winter is approaching in the Northern hemisphere, you can get now some Sun for free. Sun has recently released Sun Java Studio Enterprise 8. Among the new features are enhanced UML modelling, comprehensive profiling and testing with integrated load testing. Sun has also decided to offer this product, along with Sun Java Studio Creator, for free to all members of its Sun Developer Network. Members will also be able to get the new Sun Studio 11, an IDE to develop C applications on Solaris, free of charge.

Sun is still basically a hardware company. With free development tools and the release of its Solaris operating system in the open source world, it is trying to lure developers and potential buyers towards its platform. However, as with open source projects NetBeans or OpenOffice, Sun keeps a strong control on its software.

More information http://developers.sun.com/

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* A New Head for Borland

At the beginning of this month, Borland has appointed Mr Tod Nielsen as its new CEO. He has spent 12 years with Microsoft, 3 with BEA Systems as Chief Marketing Officer. His last position was as Senior Vice President for Oracle, responsible for marketing server technologies.

Borland has found outside the company a new CEO with a lot experience in the industry. In its initial comments Mr Nielsen said that "businesses become more dependent on their IT strategy to drive growth". This could be true, but some numbers below show that IT is still considered primarily as a cost center. He will have a tough challenge to drive Borland at a time where its core business, software development environments, is threatened by the new competition of free open source solutions like Eclipse. I think that Borland is in an odd situation as it is smaller than its main competitors, like IBM or Microsoft, and too big to be satisfied with the growth of niche markets. It feels also the pressure of being a public company that needs to generate continuous growth to please its shareholders.

Borland seems to have adopted a dual strategy. One aspect is the acquisitions of companies that will complete its current product line. The acquisition of Legadero Software last October meets this goal. This opens markets where Borland can use its size against smaller competitors, but this could generate only marginal growth. The other aspect is to develop its services division to offer consulting on the software development process. In transition to a more "services oriented" organisation, Borland will also face serious competition with large companies like IBM, Accenture or Cap Gemini.

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* www.softdevnews.com

Get continuous software development news from the Web on our new RSS-based portal where you can choose between different channels: general news, databases, programming languages (C, .NET, Java, PHP), etc. Go to http://www.softdevnews.com

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* M&T Press Releases Forums

You can view the last product and company press releases from software development tools vendors on our forum.

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

* Ready For Web Services?

In September Cap Gemini did a survey of almost 200 participants attending the Oracle OpenWorld conference in San Francisco. Here are some interesting answers:

Does your company currently use service-oriented architecture (SOA)?

(35%) Yes
(65%) No

Are you, or your company, considering using SOA in your IT infrastructure?

(82%) Yes
(18%) No

What is the most important potential benefit from utilization of SOA?

(40%) Cost reductions on many custom integration projects
(37%) Greater flexibility to handle future change
(18%) Increased reuse/return on existing assets
 (4%) Easier to automate key business processes

Which of the following will be the number one priority for your companyís IT infrastructure?

(50%) Service-Oriented Architectures
(41%) Outsourcing / Labor Arbitrage
 (6%) Server consolidation
 (4%) Business Intelligence

What, if any, will be the greatest benefit from a consolidating software industry?

(61%) software integration
(34%) no benefit
 (5%) lower prices

Which word or phrase best describes how IT is valued inside your organization today?

(56%) Cost center
(38%) Strategic
 (6%) Tactical

What do you believe will happen to your companyís 2006 IT budget?

(43%) Stay the same
(35%) Decrease from 2005
(22%) Increase over 2005

Source: Cap Gemini

These numbers put in evidence two different aspects of IT today. First the technical aspect where the Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) is considered as the current solution to integrate applications from different sources. Secondly, the stronger focus on costs by companies. Large outsourcing deals are announced continuously in the press and, as the economy growth could slow, the IT budgets will remain tightly controlled.

More data on http://www.us.capgemini.com/news/PulseSurveys/OOW_091905.asp

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* My Favourite IDE (for MySQL that is)

MySQL conduct quick polls on its web site. Here are the current results of one of them dedicated to the favourite IDE of developers of MySQL-related applications. Below are the current answers of more than 2800 participants. More than one answer is allowed.

Eclipse ......................21.8%
vi/vim .......................15.0%
Visual Studio .Net ...........14.7%
Macromedia Studio ............12.2%
Delphi .......................11.2%
Visual Studio 6 ..............10.6%
Zend Studio ...................7.1%
Emacs/XEmacs ..................6.6%
BBEdit ........................5.4%
KDevelop ......................4.0%
Borland Jbuilder ..............3.7%
Boa Constructor ...............0.9%
Wingware ......................0.2%
Other ........................20.9%

Source: MySQL AB

Eclipse seems the leader, but Microsoft has a bigger share of answers if we add the two Visual Studio editions. The traditional vi Unix editor gets the second position. There is also a good place for Borland and Macromedia. MySQL is largely associated with PHP in the famous LAMP (Linux/Apache/MySQL/PHP) configuration, but these numbers show that it is also targeted by a large number of developers using other languages. Zend shows that PHP is a close companion to MySQL, but the market for PHP-related IDE is very fragmented.

The poll is still open at http://dev.mysql.com/tech-resources/quickpolls/which-editor.html

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* UML Adoption:

In 1997, the Object Management Group (OMG) made the UML a standard modelling language for object-oriented applications. Since then, it has been seen as the dominant set of techniques for software analysis and design. So one might think that UML is widely adopted by software development organisations. We checked this with a poll asking the following question: at what stage is the adoption of UML modelling techniques (use case, class, object, sequence diagrams) at your location?

Not aware ......................................................7%
Not using .....................................................18%
Investigating .................................................12%
Analysed and rejected ......................................... 4%
Pilot projects .................................................4%
Partial implementation (adoption of some UML techniques) ......25%
Partial deployment (some projects are using UML) ..............14%
Deployed (all new projects are using UML) .....................16%

Participants: 427

Despite being the dominant techniques in the literature and being offered by a majority of modelling tools editors, UML is still ignored by some organisations. Nevertheless the adoption rate is very high. Around 50% of the participants told us that their organisation has adopted, totally or partially, the UML techniques. Around 16% are investigating it or conducting pilot project and only 4% of participants said that the UML techniques have been rejected after analysis.

On the other hand, these results are not so surprising if you consider the lack of competition. Before the merge between OMT, Booch and Objectory, the object oriented modelling space saw the activity of other contributors like Coad, Yourdon or Schlaer & Mellor. I do not see this kind of competition today. This could also be explained by the fact that the OMG is providing a process for UML's evolution as an open standard. The current discussions are now more on the processes themselves with the emergence of the agile methods. In many agile approaches, the analysis and design phase should limit the usage of modelling techniques. Requirements are defined by a close relationship between users and developers working with a prototype-like mode created by short delivery iterations.

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* Unit Testing: Can You Repeat Please?

Our new poll examines the way unit testing is conducted at your location. Is it an informal activity that is done before integration if there some time left after programming or is it the key element of the development effort? Go to [vote] to participate and to see intermediate results. The final results will be published the February issue.

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

* Agility and Open Source Seminar, December 1st, Geneva, Switzerland

Hortis is organising a free afternoon seminar in French on these topics. Program:

  • "Agile Approaches: The Art of Balance" by Laurent Bossavit
  • "Sun Open Source Strategy" by Karim Mazouni

More details and free inscription on:

http://seminaire.hortis.ch

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* JavaPolis 2005 December 12-16, Antwerp, Belgium

Once again JavaPolis will dominate the European Java landscape with its fourth edition. This 5-day conference will bring you the biggest names in Java, the hottest issues and the latest trends. With a low-cost entrance fee and high-quality content, it has become 'the apache of conferences'. Block December 12th-16th in your agenda and make sure not to miss JavaPolis 2005.

http://www.javapolis.com

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* Italian Agile Day 2005, December 16th in Milan

The second Italian Agile Day will be held on December 16th in Milan. Itís a free one day conference about all aspects of Agile Software Development. The conference will focus on software development methods that follow the Agile Manifesto including: eXtreme Programming, SCRUM, Feature Driven Development, DSDM, Crystal and Lean Software Development.

http://www.agileday.it/EN/

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* The TopDev Contest, January 28h-29 2006

The second edition of the TopDev Contest will take place in January 2006. TopDev 2006 is the only contest open to various programming languages, completely independent from programming software editors. A realistic and detailed business case is to be realized using any language (Java, PHP, C#, ASP.Net, Python, ...or only an UML model) within only 48 hours, from home. More information on:

http://www.topdevone.com/index_en.php

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* XP Day France, March 23 & 24, 2006 (subject to modification), Paris

After London, Brussels, Rotterdam, Karlsruhe, the "XP Day" cycle of conferences is now coming to Paris. Come to meet practitioners of agile approaches like XP, Scrum, Crystal. You will discuss practical organisational topics like CMMI integration or project management and technical aspects like test-driven development.

http://www.xpday.fr/#en
http://xpday.fr/inscription

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* SPA2006 conference on 26-29 March in UK - Keynote: Norman L. Kerth

SPA explores a broad range of subjects from lead-edge technology, through pioneering software development and deployment practices, to innovative techniques for managing projects and the people that make up the project team. Super Early Bird Discounts now available.

www.spaconference.org

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