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

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

* Open Source JVM?

A group of developers has proposed to the Apache Foundation a project to create an open-source version of the Java desktop software, and particularly the Java Virtual Machine. The proposal has been validated by Sun on delicate aspects of this project involving reverse engineering of Sun's code and execution of the Test Compatibility Kit.

This seems to be a very ambitious and difficult project, but its founders hope to bring to the desktop side of Java the same openness that exists in the application server area with products like JBoss, Tomcat or EnHydra. Good luck!


* New Version of NetBeans

Sun has announced the version 4.1 of NetBeans, its open source Java IDE. Improvements include ease of programming and automated deployment to WebLogic, WebSphere and JBoss applications servers. NetBeans had 4.6 million downloads since its inception 5 years ago, more than 1 million in the past six months.

With this evolution of NetBeans, Sun continues its battle against Eclipse, which for Sun means IBM. It refuses to merge its efforts with "the other major open source Java IDE". This means also continuing to strengthen its relationship with Microsoft which will give .NET presentations at the upcoming JavaOne developer conference.

more info on


* Product News

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

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

* Another Support for PHP

After the recent announcement of its collaboration with IBM, Zend has extended the reach of its Zend Core concept with an agreement with Oracle. The product, available in the third quarter, will be a free download delivering better integration between Oracle database and PHP environment. Oracle has also launched a PHP section in its Technology Network, providing installation guides for PHP with its products and a PHP extension that makes it easier to develop PHP applications using JDeveloper 10g.

More than 15 million web sites are running PHP and more and more of these are professional web sites. This market is getting attention from large editors happy to participate to the positive penetration trend of this open source language... and to favour a "neutral" alternative to Microsoft ASP technology.


* Company News

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

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

* Adoption of Agile Methods

After the publication of our Winter 2004 PDF issue focused on the agile approaches, the last M&T poll looked at what stage was the adoption of agile methods. The question was: At what stage is the agile approach (XP, Scrum, FDD, ...) adoption at your location?

Not aware 26%
Not using 16%
Investigating 14%
Analysed and rejected 3%
Pilot projects 4%
Partial implementation (adoption of some agile practices)  17%
Partial deployment (some projects are using this approach)  12%
Deployed (all new projects are using this approach) 8%

Participants: 232

You can see that there is a good balance between the three main situations of agile approaches adoption (no, maybe, yes):
- around 40% of the participants' organisations are not using an agile approach or practice
- around 20% are investigating it or running pilot projects
- around 40% have adopted, fully or partially, an agile approach to software development.

The numbers on agile approach usage could be slightly biased. As Methods & Tools has published some articles on this topic in its recent issues, the proportion of agile practitioners in its readership and web sites visitors could be higher than in the "real world".

If you look at each question, you could be shocked that 25% of organisations are even not aware that something like an Agile movement have been active in the software development world these recent years. It is however a sad reality that some organisations are functioning in a "not invented here" mode. They think that their situation is "the best they can get" and they are not interested in what is happening "outside". It is also true that agility is people oriented and that most organisations have a tendency to be focused on process oriented activities. There is also a high number of respondents with partial implementation of agile practices. Even if some purists could argue that you cannot be 50% agile, I would rather say that this is another point showing that agility is reality oriented. You can rarely change completely and immediately a software development process.


* Service Oriented Architecture Still Facing Challenges

BEA Systems has released some findings from its assessment program on readiness for service oriented architectures (SOA). More than 1000 IT professional worldwide have participated to this program. Among them, 44% were familiar with SOA, the mean score being 1.76 on a scale of one to four where one indicates a "basic understanding" of SOA while four represents a "very advanced familiarity" with SOA. These findings show also that there is a gap between the high management vision of their readiness to implement SOA and what developers think.

The key challenges faced by a transition to SOA are:

- Lack of a common data model across applications

- Lack of confidence in security

- Deploying shared services across silos in enterprise

- Ease of service-enabling legacy applications. Legacy applications hold critical data and processes, but service-enabling them are lower on the list.

On the same web site, you can find data from an IDG research on SOA adoption. In this research, 52% of the respondents were somewhat familiar with SOA. The results show that 15% have adopted SOA at various organisational degrees and 13% are running pilot projects. The major factors inhibiting adoption are the lack of business justification (46%), lack of budget (37%), lack of skills and training (32%) and organisational barriers (28%).


Service Oriented Architecture is the modern version of software components. It faces the usual challenge of technologies that need a new architecture: how to deal with existing information systems mixing different technologies and internally developed software with commercial packages? Despite the promises of enterprise integration, sharing data and processes between miscellaneous existing applications is still a painful job that requires an extensive work of interface definition and realisation. A common vocabulary between organisational structures and applications if a first step in this direction.


* Tools for Functional Software Testing

This time we are trying to determine if the software developers (or project) have automated tools to validate the behaviour of their software. We will call this functional software testing, defined as opposed to performance testing. Tools can automate test with scripts executed on the user interface or specific modules. Debuggers and tools to define test plans are not considered in this pool. Tools can be used at the unit or system testing level.

Do you use tools to automate execution of functional software tests?

  • My organisation has no tool for functional software tests
  • My organisation has tools, but my project or I do not use them
  • I use tools for functional tests

Go to our vote section to participate and to see intermediate results. The final results will be published in a future issue.

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

* The Baby Manager

The exercise of power by fully grown adult, I now believe, causes the individual to regress to an infantile state previously enjoyed only in the blessed days before coherent speech, mobility, and toilet training.

Crazy, you say? A comic conceit? I think not. Here are ten ways that a baby is like a chief executive officer. Tell me where I've got it wrong. [...]

- The baby is the center of the universe. [...] This attention convinces the baby that it is the sun around which the cosmos revolves - a feeling shared by all chief executives, particularly those successful enough to be called moguls.

- The baby speaks nonsense, but nobody seems to notice. [...] Anyone who has attended a staff meeting has witnessed this reaction to an executive utterance. [...]

- When the baby makes a mess, other people have to clean it up. Do I have to spell this one out? [...]

Source: "You're a CEO, baby!", Stanley Bing, Fortune, February 21, 2005

This article was written with a Chief Executive Officer in mind, but I think it could be applied to other managers whose only function seems to be "like a manager". As the last sentence of this excerpt put it, it is sadly the role of the project team to bear the burden, for instance trying to achieve the impossible deadline dreamed at the management level.

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

* Better Software Conference & EXPO 2005

Attend the Better Software Conference & EXPO 2005 
For The Latest in Software Development Today!
September 19-22, 2005 * San Francisco, CA
Managing Projects & Teams * Plan-Driven Development
Agile Development * Process Improvement & Development
Testing & Quality Assurance * Security & Special Topics
Register Now and Save $200!-->


* European SEPG 2005: 13 - 16 June, London

You are warmly invited to join Europe's Process Improvement event of the year, where practitioners and gurus from Europe and around the world gather to exchange experience, knowledge and latest thinking. More than 80 presentations, tutorials and workshops paint a global picture of process improvement in action: techniques and approaches, return on investment, people issues and business focus. The event provides four days of learning and networking - equipping you with practical advice and inspiration that will directly benefit your process improvement initiative. Rapid growth in European expertise will be demonstrated, and the Software Engineering Institute will discuss developments with the CMMIR v1.2 and related technologies. You will also have the opportunity to meet some of Europe's leading process improvement support organisations, in an exhibition showcase.


* Sign up for EclipseWorld, August 29-21, New York City.

Do you use Eclipse, or Eclipse-based tools, in your software development and testing processes? Are you considering the use of Eclipse? If so, you'll want to attend EclipseWorld, the first technical conference specifically for enterprise developers and testers. Learn more at


* SPLC-Europe'05, September 26-29, Rennes, France

SPLC-Europe’05 celebrates the foundation of a new conference series, the International Software Product Line Conference resulting from the merger of SPLC and PFE. SPLC is THE premier forum for practitioners and researchers to present and discuss the most recent ideas, innovations, and experiences in the area of software product lines engineering.


* 1st Annual International Software Measurement & Analysis Conference

September 18-24, 2005 - New Orleans Hyatt Regency
3 Days of Workshops Followed by 3 Days of Conference Sessions
Featuring Watts Humphrey-Stephen Few-Manfred Bundschuh-Sabrina Jackson
Learn about the new Certified Software Measurement Specialist program!


* Agile Business Conference, September 27-28, London

Keynote sessions from Craig Larman, Martin Fowler and Tom Gilb. This year’s focus is on Agile methods in action with case studies and workshops. Early Booking Discounts now available.



The Software Test & Performance Conference focuses on testing and performance issues for software developers, , development managers, test/QA managers and senior test professionals. This year's conference, scheduled for November 1-3, 2005 at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City. For more information, and to register, go to

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

In the Summer 2005 issue published at the end of June, you will find articles about:

  • Mixing Use Case and Test Driven Development
  • Guiding Development with Acceptance Tests
  • The Enterprise Implementation Framework (EIF): Beyond the IDEAL Model

In future issues, you will find articles on:

  • Capturing Requirements in Story Form
  • Agile Metrics
  • Domain-Specific Modelling
  • ITIL
  • Open Source Software Evaluation
  • Project Time Management


* French-speaking site for software developers

Methods & Tools vous annonce l'ouverture d'un nouveau site francophone sur le développement des applications informatiques :

Forum Logiciel -

Ce site, basé sur un portail open source, se veut une plate-forme de diffusion et d'échange de connaissance et d'informations sur toutes les activités liées au développement d'applications informatiques en entreprise. Il contiendra aussi les archives de Forum Logiciel, un ancêtre de Methods & Tools. N'hésitez pas à le visiter, à y contribuer et à le faire connaître à vos collègues que l'anglais de Methods & Tools aurait rebutés.


The content of this publication cannot be reproduced without prior written consent of the publisher - Copyright (C) 2005, Martinig & Associates

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