Borland Debuts Silk 2008 Test Suite

Borland Software Corp. this week announced the release of the Borland Silk 2008 product line, including updated versions of Borland SilkTest, SilkPerformer and SilkCentral Test Manager. The refreshed offerings target software test and QA operations and mark a significant evolution in the Silk family, originally acquired by Borland in the 2006 purchase of Segue Software.

The SilkTest 2008 functional testing application lets developers create and run a wide range of manual and automated tests on application code throughout the development lifecycle. Core to the new version of SilkTest is the "Open Agent" technology, which provides a framework for Borland and others to add platform support, expand functionality and enable custom extensions.

"We've delivered versions and updates to SilkTest every six months or so since we acquired [Segue Software], but in the background we've been working on what I call a hybrid architecture," says Borland Senior Director of Product Marketing Brad Johnson, who adds that Open Agent enables customers to "create their own testing interface between their application and the test tool."

Johnson says Open Agent was used to add support for Adobe Flex-based projects to SilkTest 2008. Later this quarter, the company plans to release support for Java language scripting and an Eclipse interface.

"This opens a ton of new opportunity for quality engineers with no desire to learn a proprietary language," Johnson says. Developers to date have had to code their SilkTest scripts in the proprietary 4Test language.

Borland has no announced plans for extending support for Microsoft .NET languages and platforms. But that could change.

"Part of our strategy is to straddle the fine line between Java and .NET. If we do one first, the other is going to follow," Johnson says. "We get a lot of requests for WPF and things like that from the Microsoft side. That's not a commitment, but we can't ignore what our enterprise customers ask us to do."

Of Performance and Price
Also updated was the SilkPerformer 2008 load and performance testing product, and the SilkCenter Test Manager for managing local and distributed test teams. Updates to SilkPerformer focus on Web 2.0, including improvements to AJAX and Flash-based application testing, according to Borland. The addition of support for Adobe's AMF3 remoting and messaging protocol will help dev shops better assess their rich Internet applications, says Johnson.

"It's kind of a black box doing a bunch of stuff in the middle of a Web app," Johnson says of Flash apps running on Flex. "A lot of asynchronous messages are going back and forth that need to be tested and measured and stressed."

The Borland Silk product line is part of Borland's larger Open ALM application lifecycle management strategy. Other Borland ALM products include the Temp IT portfolio management software, Caliber requirements management software, and Together modeling tools.

Borland Silk 2008 products are available immediately. Pricing for Borland SilkTest 2008 starts at $4,500 per user, while SilkCentral Test Manager starts at $1,700 per user. SilkPerformer 2008 pricing is determined by the number of virtual (or simulated) users being supported in testing. A 500-user simulated load costs about $80 per virtual user.

About the Author

Michael Desmond is an editor and writer for 1105 Media's Enterprise Computing Group.

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