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

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

* Twist for Mambo

When Open Source meets with business, things are not always clear and easy to understand. After having won many Open Source awards (LinuxWorld 2005 for instance), the future of the Mambo CMS software has become a major source of conflict between its core team of developers and Miro, the Australian company that originally develop the software. The clash was caused by the intent of Miro to create a Mambo Foundation without informing in advance members of the core team.

The core developers team decided to leave Mambo and to build a new project on the code (GPL licensed) of the "CMS formerly known as Mambo" (some fans of "the musician formerly known as Prince" in the team maybe ;o]). They create an entity OpenSourceMatters that will hold the copyright for Joomla, the new name of their software. Apparently a large part of the Mambo community (like Mambo France for instance) followed the core team. Mambo announced " The recent departure of some members of the community has been a true mixed blessing. On the positive side, it has allowed for talented individuals to emerge and take active roles that were previously unavailable. New teams have been formed and new members have come forward to assume key roles as moderators, team leaders, and developers, proving once the depth of the talent in the Community – and showing without a doubt that Open Source is bigger than any one group of people". We will watch with interest the evolutions of Mambo and Joomla and wish good luck to both teams. In either cases, this is just another reminder that in software development, the most important asset should be the developers ;o)

More on the web:

* Shopping Ahead of Christmas

At the end of August, BEA Systems announced the acquisition of Plumtree Software for approximately US $ 200 million in cash. Plumtree provides cross-platform portals. At the end of September, BEA acquired M7, the editor of Nitrox, a product line of IDEs based on Eclipse.

In August, Oracle bought Citigroup's 41% equity interest in i-flex, an Indian banking software editor. In September Oracle acquired Siebel for $ 5.85 billion. Founded by ex-Oracle executive Tom Siebel, this company is considered the leader of the CRM market. In October, Oracle announced the acquisition of the Innobase OY of Finland, the provider of the InnoDB technology that can be used as storage engine with MySQL database. Oracle intends to continue the development of this open source technology and the relationship with MySQL.

In September, Hewlett-Packard (HP) announced the acquisition of software vendor Peregrine Systems. Peregrine emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in August 2003. Peregrine's AssetManager software should form the basis of HP's asset management strategy for the future. In the last two months HP announced also the acquisition of AppIQ, a storage management software company, and RLX technologies, a maker of Linux-based management software.

In September, Mercury Interactive announced the acquisition of BeatBox Technologies for $14 million in cash. It also announced the acquisition of the m-Test wireless testing technology from Intuwawe, an UK company.

The acquisitions activity is high in the software industry. This is not generally a good thing, because it could be a signal that companies, mainly the large one, are not able to grow internally. So they buy outside growth engine to please their shareholders.

This is especially the case for Oracle. After the acquisition of Peoplesoft last year, Oracle did it again this year with Siebel. It has now a big project, called Fusion, to merge the applications platforms of Oracle, Peoplesoft, JD Edwards and now Siebel. In this integration process, Oracle will have to play a delicate game of deciding how far he will go with its own applications to support third-party databases, like DB2 for instance.

Oracle higher revenues from applications should not mask that sales in the database market inched higher by just 1% in the last quarter. The majority of companies that need a database have now one. Despite the promises of object oriented databases companies in the 90s, no new technology has revolutionised the market. The database market is also now the target of open source-based companies like MySQL or EnterpriseDB, this later company promising Oracle compatibility.

The growth issue is also the problem for HP. Besides a tough hardware market, the company is trying to grow in the area of specialised software and services, following a strategy similar to IBM.

* "Eclipse Inside": A New Label for IDE?

When Borland announced JBuilder 2006 in September, it also said that "work is well underway on the development of a new generation of commercial developer products that will utilise Eclipse as the underlying platform." The first product, named Peloton, should be available in the first half of 2006.

Progress announced at the end of September that the IDE of the release 10.1 of its OpenEdge development environment is now based on Eclipse.

At the beginning of October, Macromedia announced the upcoming availability of its Flex 2 product line. Flex Builder 2, previously code named Zorn, is an all new Eclipse-based environment for developing rich Internet applications.

At the beginning of October, Compuware announced that its OptimalJ IDE will have in 2006 a new version of its professional edition built on Eclipse.

As seen in the previous article, BEA acquired M7 at the end of September.

This month IBM announced that it will replace the Rational Process Workbench by a Rational Methods Composer. This tool will be based on Eclipse.

Those with some grey hairs will maybe remember the days of AD/Cycle (1990 already...) or CDIF (CASE Data Interchange Format Division) or PCTE. These were all efforts to allow different software development environments to work together and/or exchange data. Eclipse seems to have achieved part of this quest of a holly Grail, as many vendors have decided to abandon their proprietary platform to adopt the Eclipse framework. It is also true that the majority of the IDE vendors of the 90's are no longer operating as independent companies.

This is also another wonder of how open source can transform the software industry. See for instance all these software vendors that give for free "community" editions. It is now trendy to be the good guy that belongs to "the community". It is not interesting anymore to sell products to the small guy (hence some of the problems at Borland), but vendors are looking to sell support to companies. The question is to see how long Microsoft will go without adopting this model.

More on the Web

and for software archaeologists:






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 ************************************************************

* Quality Driven Development

The Computer magazine of the IEEE has published in its September issue an article on Test Driven Development (TDD) with some data on TDD research in the industry.

  • Research 1: controlled experiment, 3 companies, 24 programmers
  • Research 2: case study, 1 company, 9 programmers
  • Research 3: case study, 1 company, 9 programmers
Results Quality Productivity
Research 1 18% more test passed TDD took 16% longer
Research 2 50% reduction in defect density minimal change
Research 3 40% reduction in defect density no change

In two studies, programmers were new to TDD. As we see, TDD seems to improve quality without damage for productivity. The productivity gap for the first experiment is explained by the fact that the control group wrote far fewer tests than the TDD group. As unit testing is at the heart of many agile approaches, these results should be used as an encouragement for organisations to integrate agile practices in their software development process, as TDD improve quality without damaging productivity.


  1. Research 1: B. Georges and L. Williams, "A Structured Experiment of Test-Driven Development", Information and Software Technology, vol. 46, no 5, pp. 337-342.
  2. Research 2: E. Maximilien and L. Williams, "Assessing Test-Driven Development at IBM", Proceedings of the 25th International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE 03), IEEE CS Press, 2003, pp. 564-569
  3. Research 3: L. Williams, E. Maximilien and M. Vouk, "Test-Driven Development as a Defect-Reduction Practice", Proceedings of the 14th International Symposium on Software Reliability Engineering (ISSRE 03), IEEE CS Press, 2003, pp. 34-45

Source: David Janzen and Hossein Saiedian, "Test-Driven Development: Concepts, Taxonomy, and Future Direction", IEEE Computer, September 2005


* UML Widespread Adoption: Myth or Reality?

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. Let's check this with our current poll asking the following question: at what stage is the adoption of UML modeling techniques (use case, class, object, sequence diagrams) at your location?

Go to to participate and to see intermediate results. Already around 300 participants have indicated their situation. The final results will be published the November issue.

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

* Seen on the Web this Month

Sometimes you find a good phrase that allows to clearly define the needed change in perspective. This month, I found the phrase " It's not that we don't have enough time. We have too much to do." in an article from Ron Jeffries. You can read this interesting piece called "Making the date" on:

In an article of 2003, Jayakrishnan Nair explained to us why the waterfall approach doesn't work... and why Extreme Programming doesn't work either... ;o) A humorous text with a zest of chutney

In the last issue, we had an article on use case points. I found on the Web an Excel worksheet to compute this metric on the site of Lamri: (registration required)

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

If you liked the article of Mike Cohn in our Fall 2005 issue, find more about his knowledge in the following books:

* Agile Estimating and Planning

This book will be available at the end of October.

This book could have been called Estimating and Planning Agile Projects. Instead, it’s called Agile Estimating and Planning. The difference may appear subtle but it’s not. The title makes it clear that the estimating and planning processes must themselves be agile. Without agile estimating and planning, we cannot have agile projects. The book is mostly about planning, which is answering the question of "what should we build and by when?" However, to answer questions about planning we must also address questions of estimating ("How big is this?") and scheduling ("When will this be done?" and "How much can I have by then?").

To get more details on this book or buy it on click below:

To get more details on this book or buy it on click below:

* User Stories Applied : For Agile Software Development

This book offers a requirement process that saves time, eliminates rework, and leads directly to better software. The best way to build software that meets users' needs is to begin with "user stories": simple, clear, brief descriptions of functionality that will be valuable to real users. This book provides a front-to-back blueprint for writing user stories and weaving them into the development lifecycle. You'll learn what makes a great user story, and what makes a bad one. You'll discover practical ways to gather user stories, even when you can't speak with your users. Then, once you've compiled your user stories, this book shows how to organise them, prioritise them, and use them for planning, management, and testing.

To get more details on this book or buy it on click below:

To get more details on this book or buy it on click below:

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

* SOFTWARE TEST & PERFORMANCE November 1-3, New York

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


* XP Day Benelux 2005, November 17-18, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

In the tradition of the XP Day conferences, XP Day Benelux 2005 is a two day conference on all things agile for business and technical people from all walks of life. This year's edition will be held in Rotterdam, The Netherlands on November 17th and 18th.


* XP Day 2005: November 28-29, London, U.K.

Two day international conference about Agile Software Development suited for practitioners at any level of experience, with a strong focus on practical knowledge, real-world experience and active participation of all attendees. More than XP. More than one day.


* 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.


* 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.


* European SEPG 2006 - Call for Proposals

We are pleased to invite proposals for presentations, tutorials, workshops and panels for the eleventh annual European SEPG™, which is to take place at the Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky, Amsterdam on 12-15 June. We are also inviting applications for volunteer reviewers to assist with selections for the conference programme. The deadline for proposals and volunteer applications is Monday, 14th November: full details can be seen on our web site at

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

In the Winter 2005 issue published at the end of December, you will find articles about:

* Use Case for Configuration Management

* Risk Based Testing

* How to Build and Lead Effective Test Teams

In future issues, you will find articles on:

* Continuous Integration

* Agile Approach Adoption


A forum category is available for discussions and comments on Methods & Tools' articles.

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