3 Rational Desktop Tools Begin Beta Test

IBM Rational Software Architect, Functional Tester and Performance Tester begin testing.

By the time you read this, IBM Corp. will have begun beta testing versions of three of its key Rational desktop development tools. Although the version 7.0 betas of IBM Rational Software Architect, Functional Tester and Performance Tester run only on Windows, the general availability release will include both Windows and Linux versions, a company spokes-person confirmed.

Changes from the previous versions revolve around improvements made "to help implement Service-Oriented Architectures, systems development and geographically distributed applications [sic]," IBM said.

IBM's Rational Software Architect provides a model-driven development and static analysis tool for software architects and model-driven developers creating Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA), J2EE and portal applications. New in version 7.0's installation functions are a reduced installation footprint and the ability for developers to easily configure a team's environment.

An improved diagram editor creates Web applications by diagramming Web pages and their associated links and automated flow-logic, as well as drag-and-drop integration of relational data and Web services into Web pages.

Under the heading of improved C++ support, Software Architect will take advantage of many significant enhancements in Eclipse CDT 3.1.1 (C/C++ Development Tooling) and the ability to create C++ domain models with improved modeling support. Version 7.0 will also transform UML to C++ more efficiently with improved transformation support, according to IBM.

Rational Software Architect
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Rational Software Architect dynamically creates and maintains the diagrams so developers can understand their models and applications.

Testing 1, 2, 3
Software Architect 7.0 will sport expanded unit testing with WebSphere Application Server 6.1, as well as improved Web security and team modeling capabilities.

Rational Functional Tester provides automated functional and regression testing for testers and GUI developers who need to test Java, Visual Studio.NET and Web-based applications. Version 7.0 includes extended environment support.

SAP has introduced support for functional testing in the SAP GUI environment and Functional Tester now supports both Siebel 7.7 and 7.8, as well. The beta also enables teams to test on the Firefox browser, and the testing tool is now certified as a workbench host for Citrix server. Support for Microsoft's .NET Framework 2.0 is also included.

Functional Tester 7.0 will add SOA-testing support to provide functional and performance testing capabilities of services and business processes. That includes testing of headless services (no user interface in the application under test), and will provide support for Web Service standards such as SOAP, HTTP/S, JMS and WS-Security. Testers can also check components of composite applications common in SOA environments.

The Rational Performance Tester 7.0 beta lets testers monitor system resources using Windows PerfMon, Linux/Unix Rstatd or Tivoli monitoring products. It adds response time breakdown for application monitoring and problem analysis and adds root-cause analysis by overlaying response times.

Study Looks into Open Source

The University of California, Davis has won a $750,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to conduct a three-year study examining how open source software is built. Professor Premkuma Devanbu hopes the study will reveal how the structure and organization of development teams can impact the resulting code.
By examining high-profile open source projects such as the Apache Web server, PostgreSQL database and the Python scripting language, Devanbu hopes to draw meaningful conclusions about development organizations and their ability to produce quality software. Devanbu says his team selected open source projects because they are able to gain unfettered access to communications, including e-mails and IM chat logs.
One intriguing issue for Devanbu is the question of why open source projects seem to defy Brooks' Law, which states that adding manpower to a late software project only makes it later.
"It's not surprising when you bring people in, because you have to train them," says Devanbu. "But that doesn't seem to happen in open source projects-things seem to go faster. I'm not sure why. But it could be that people are trained before they join the project. They self-train."
-- Michael Desmond
Among other new features, Performance Tester 7.0 adds IP aliasing to support emulating virtual user loads that use a range of IP addresses in order to more accurately emulate real-world scenarios.

Interested developers can sign up for the beta here.

About the Author

Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.

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