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Methods & Tools - News, Facts & Comments Edition - January 2006

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

* Eclipse Release Web Tools Platform

Last December the Eclipse open source project released version 1.0 of its Web Tools Platform. This release bundles editors for Java, HTML, JavaScript, CSS and XML. It also contains tools for creating, consuming, testing and publishing web services.

The need to release this package reflects the complexity of developing software for the Web. You have to know and mix several different technologies for the various components of a Web application, both on server and client sides. The goal of the main editors of tools for web-based application is to simplify the development activities, allowing to combine easily the different languages needed to produce the final HTML page. The fact that Eclipse bundles these different tools in one package is another step in the right direction.

More info on


* AJAX Goes Open Source

At the beginning was the punched card and the printer, then the terminal, then the client-server GUI era to use the desktop power, and then we get back to the thin-client paradigm with the interface running in a browser. Now the new trend in user-interface development is "rich Internet application". You will see this concept also linked to the "web 2.0" marketing term. The goal is to allow a more specific interaction than the reload of a whole page after an event. The most known paradigm to develop this rich application is Ajax, which stands for Asynchronous JavaScript And XML. This paradigm involves a combination of XHTML, CSS, JavaScript, XMLHttpRequest and XML.

Two commercial companies working around Ajax have been in the news recently with announcements that they will contribute to the open-source community part of their product offering. ClearNova is releasing ThinkCAP JX under the GPL license for non-commercial distribution. The company will continue to sell its Workbench product, a visual designer environment for the creation of Ajax applications. According to many web sites, GridApp seems also to plan the release in the future its Ajax toolkit library as open-source software. As GridApp has not set a date for this release or issued an official press release about this, it seems for me that this company has found a good way to make some noise without doing or promising anything. Once upon a time, the name "vapourware" was use for this kind of events.

There is a large catalogue of open source projects organised around Ajax. They differ in their maturity, the extension of technologies they cover or the specialised server-side language they target. You will find below a list of some open source projects. You can take some time to evaluate them... and maybe even contribute to improve them ;o)

  • AjaxAnywhere is designed to turn any set of existing JSP or JSF components into AJAX-aware components without complex JavaScript coding.
  • Dojo is the Open Source JavaScript toolkit that helps you build serious applications in less time.
  • Rialto (Rich Internet Application Toolkit) is Ajax-based cross browser JavaScript widgets library. It can be encapsulated in JSP, JSF, .Net or PHP graphic components.
  • Sajax is an open source tool to make programming websites using the Ajax framework
  • Ajax.NET is an implementation of the AJAX technology for the .NET environment.
  • Rico provides a very simple interface for registering Ajax request handlers as well as HTML elements or JavaScript objects as Ajax response objects
  • qooxdoo is an advanced open-source JavaScript based toolkit.
  • CPAINT (Cross-Platform Asynchronous INterface Toolkit) is a multi-language toolkit that helps web developers design and implement AJAX web applications with ease and flexibility
  • AjaxAC is an open-source framework written in PHP, used to develop AJAX applications.

More general information on Ajax:

- Ajax: A New Approach to Web Applications (original Ajax article)

- AJAX:Getting Started by Mozilla Developer Center.

- Mastering Ajax, Part 1: Introduction to Ajax

More information on available open source tools mentioned in this article:



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


* M&T Press Releases Forums

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

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

Microsoft still the largest software development tool editor

InfoWorld did recently a survey of its reader on their programming activities. They had nearly 300 respondents on different topics. Here are the results for the preferred development tools provider:

  1. Microsoft ........... 64%
  2. IBM/Rational ........ 18%
  3. Eclipse ............. 15%
  4. Sun ................. 14%
  5. Oracle .............. 14%
  6. Other open source ... 13%
  7. Borland ............. 11%

These results are different from what we saw in the MySQL web site poll data published in our November issue. They are interesting because I think that InfoWorld readers could represent more the mainstream view of software development in the US across different development areas. Microsoft has a large domination, which is also due to its extensive language coverage (C, C++, C#, Basic). Eclipse has a good score, being an open source product targeting mainly Java. As Eclipse works to extend its range towards C++ and other languages, it could become an even more serious competitor. The overall score of the open source offer (Eclipse + others = 28%) could be interpreted as a sign that it will be difficult for smaller commercial editors to compete if they do not offer something valuable above the "free" competition.

More info:


* 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.

*** Jobs ***************************************************************

* Enterprise Scalability Architect

Sajan, Inc., a software solutions provider based in River Falls, Wisconsin, 35 miles east of the Minneapolis, St Paul metropolitan area, seeks an Enterprise Scalability Architect to analyze an architect enterprise level software and database solutions. Job functions include performing statistical analyses of application scalability, assessing load balancing requirements, assessing database scalability and performance, etc. In addition the position will assist in application design, development, technical documentation, and mentorship of junior developers. Requirements include M.S. in Computer Science or Statistics with relevant development experience; 5 yrs. exp. in dev and/or statistical analysis of app performance; MS VS 2003+, MS SQL db dev and design experience, professional experience developing in C#, C++, and java; plus the use of design patterns and UML. Proven experience with db and software modeling and analysis tools. Experience in writing technical documentation required. Applicant must attach a cover letter detailing experience in each job requirement listed.

Send resume to by March 1, 2006.

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

Open Source Developers Conference, 26-28 February, 2006, Netanya, Israel

What do Perl, Python, PHP, SVN, MySQL, Pugs and Haskell have in common? They're all major topics at the upcoming Israeli OSDC conference. 3 days of intense lectures dealing with the hottest open-source technologies. Keynotes by Larry Wall and Audrey (Autrijus) Tang. What are you waiting for? Sign up now!


* XP Day France, March 23-24, 2006, Paris, France

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.


* Software Practice Advancement conference - 26-29 March, UK

Keynotes: Norman Kerth (Retrospectives)
and Dave Thomas (Pragmatic Programmer)
SPA provides a high-energy learning experience that’s different & fun.
Exchange ideas with a community of software practitioners and experts.
More at - discounts available until Jan 31st.


* ICSPI Conference – April 3-7 – Orlando, FL, USA

The International Conference on Software Process Improvement brings together the biggest names and the brightest minds in the field for a week of information sharing and learning, focusing on lively discussions and presentations about model-independent process improvement by experts who practice what they preach. 54 Feature and Track Presentations - 3 Keynote Addresses - 18 Full Day Tutorials


* MySQL Users Conference, April 24-27 2006, Santa Clara, USA - M&T discount

Discover. Connect. Succeed. Scale Your Business with MySQL. The 2006 MySQL Users Conference is the only event where you can join the core MySQL development team and over 1,000 users, open source innovators, and technology partners under one roof. Early Registration ends March 6. Use discount code mys06m&t for an additional 10% off.


* CMMI made Practical, April 24-25, London, UK

CMMI made Practical is aimed at IT directors, senior managers, process improvement specialists and project managers. One stream is devoted to people just getting started with CMMI, with the primary goals of education and providing an open forum for discussion on how to really apply CMMI. Listen and learn from leading speakers from the world of defence, government, finance, IT and make a difference to your company.


* PSQT West Conference - May 1-5 - Las Vegas, NV

48 Track presentations - 21 full-day tutorials.
PSQT teaches methodologies and approaches needed to:

  • Improve quality
  • Increase team confidence and morale
  • Lower support costs
  • Improve consistency
  • Lower customer returns
  • Gain greater political acceptance
  • Increase customer satisfaction
  • Speed up time to production
  • Improve productivity
  • Increase customer loyalty

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

In the Spring 2006 issue published at the end of March, you will find articles about:

  • Use Case for Configuration Management
  • Continuous Integration
  • Evaluating Agile Methods

In future issues, you will find articles on:

  • Preventing Project Failure
  • Agile Adoption at British Telecom
  • Managing an Open Source Project
  • Framework-based Web Development with Ruby on Rails
  • Software Product Lines


You want to recruit software development professionals?

Methods & Tools reaches each month more than 38'000 of them. You can place a job ad with us for $15 each line for the first five lines and $10 for additional lines. These ads will be visible in our text or PDF issues AND on our web sites for as long as three months. [Contact] us if you are interested.


We have added articles in the HTML archive section of our web site:

* Configuration Management and ISO 9001

Configuration management is about managing change of the multiple items composing an information system. This article puts in reference the configuration management function and the ISO 9001 standard. This standard offers a wide range of advice on how to deal with this important, but often neglected, aspect of software engineering.

* GUI Testing Checklist

This article provides a checklist for testing GUI.

* Modeling the Real World for Load Testing Web Sites

If you want to get an accurate idea of how your Web site is going to perform in the real world, it pays to create a load profile that closely models conditions your site will experience. This article addresses nine elements that can affect Web load.

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