Borland Readies Lifecycle Quality Management Bundle

New LQM bundle aims to provide more integration with Windows development platform.

Borland Software Corp. has begun delivering on its broad vision of integrated application lifecycle quality management (LQM), with one important piece of the puzzle to come by the end of the year.

While the Borland LQM solution is primarily aimed at development organizations working in Java for now, most of the tools in the quasi-bundle also run on Windows. And the intent is for the bundle to provide more integration with the Windows development platform over time-especially given the integration Borland features between some of its products, such as CaliberRM and Microsoft's Visual Studio tools.

"Borland's strategy is to support Java and .NET equally, as much as possible," says Rob Cheng, Borland director of developer solutions. However, Cheng did not give a timeline for that support.

Borland LQM Suite
[click image for larger view]
Borland says its LQM suite links testing with change control to enable earlier and more frequent code validation.

The LQM solution combines the Silk application lifecycle management products, which Borland acquired when it bought out Segue Software in April, with the Gauntlet continuous build-and-test product it acquired in March with the purchase of Gauntlet Systems. These, in turn, link up with its Caliber line of requirements management tools. Additionally, according to Cheng, the Silk testing products-SilkTest, SilkPerformer and SilkCentral Test Manager-all currently support .NET. "[You can] now link testing with [our] change control foundation," says Cheng.

"Borland's primary focus is around quality and requirements-based testing, [which] results in better deliverable requirements," says Melinda-Carol Ballou, program director for application lifecycle management at researcher IDC. "Linking [requirements with testing] together intensively means testing will happen earlier and more often."

In fact, the Borland LQM solution is not so much a bundle as an a la carte menu of integrated products as well as services and consulting under the aegis of LQM. The idea is to enable development teams to more closely track user requirements through the entire process including quality assurance (QA).

"A lot of organizations don't test, or even build their applications, as often as they should," Cheng says. "When there's a problem in QA, you have to dig through weeks or months of changes."

Early Detection
Borland's LQM solution includes integration work that has been done on the set of products to let them, for instance, link test coverage to requirements. The addition of Gauntlet provides the ability to continuously test code as developers check it in and to start that process much earlier in the development cycle.

"With Gauntlet [you can] run it every time you do a compile or build-that way developers know 15 tests have been run and they know [their] build isn't broken. Moving functional testing earlier in the cycle is very, very feasible," Cheng says.

Indeed, Gauntlet is designed to detect potential problems before they have a chance to impact other developers by automatically pre-screening all new code against a set of quality guidelines before it enters the build process. It supports Borland's StarTeam configuration management product, as well as others. The company describes Gauntlet as IDE-agnostic. It works with customers' existing version control clients for code check-in, and it runs under both Windows and Linux.

Of course, Borland is up against bigger competitors in what promises to be a tough contest. "Borland's differentiation lies in a combined-process approach," IDC's Ballou says. "It has a niche where it's entrenched."

Borland Tools Spin-Off Sags

Borland announced in February that it's trying to sell off its low-level developer tools, including its JBuilder and Delphi integrated-development environments (IDE), in order to let the company focus more tightly on application-lifecycle tools. Although the company said in early May it was getting a "strong" number of bidders for that organization and intended to announce a sale within "several months," that hasn't happened yet. At press time, a company spokesperson said Borland was not yet ready to announce a buyer.
Meanwhile, the Developer Tools Group continues to roll out new and updated products. In the past few months, they delivered InterBase 2007, a new version of the group's multi-platform, embeddable database, and also resurrected the company's classic "Turbo" programming-tool brand, releasing a slew of products, including Turbo Delphi for Win32, Turbo Delphi for .NET, Turbo C++ and Turbo C#.
-- S.J.

"[The LQM solution] reinforces the notion that QA is everybody's job," says Cheng. "We're aligning the different [job] roles around the customer's business goals to provide more visibility and predictability of the code that IT is delivering."

The Borland LQM solution is available now, with the exception of Gauntlet, which will be generally available by the end of the year.
Michael Desmond contributed to this report.

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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