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Free Tools and dynaTrace Ajax Edition

Check out my quick review of a free tool: dynTrace Ajax Edition, which lets you see where your JavaScript code is spending its time. We also reviewed the full version of dynaTrace in some depth in February.

The full version of dynaTrace isn't cheap (prices start at $10,000), so the gap between the two editions is, well, steep. I spoke with Eric Senunas, senior director of Marketing and Communications at dynaTrace, about the relationship between the two products.

Eric said the first goal of the product was to give developers something they would love... and do it for free. It was also important that the tool not be crippled, a timed trial, or limited in any way.

dynaTrace decided that something developers would love was to give developers visibility into their JavaScript executing in the browser. By using dynaTrace, Eric said, all of a sudden developers can spot their problems and say, "I can fix this and this." Eric added that, because dynaTrace Ajax Edition also shows the time between when a call is made to the network and the result comes back, the tool gives developers a view into their network activity

The evidence says that dynaTrace succeeded: the tool has had over ten thousand downloads in the four months since it was made available. dynaTrace also discovered that giving developers something they love creates its own demands on the company. The current version of the tool only works with Internet Explorer, so developers have been demanding a version for FireFox.

Of course, dynaTrace was hoping that the tool would generate marketing opportunities. All by themselves the downloads provide the marketing department with direction: multiple downloads from the same company suggest a potential customer that dynaTrace can follow up with.

Eric also pointed out that the ability to pinpoint where to fix things using dynaTrace Ajax Edition stops at the browser. When developers realize they need to fix things at the server, Eric added, the hope is that developer will start saying, "I need dynaTrace on the server!" Which, of course, is good for sales.

I also spoke with Eric about what dynaTrace sees happening in the development tool space and how dynaTrace seeks to succeed there. I'll have that in a later blog.

Posted by Peter Vogel on 04/16/2010 at 1:16 PM

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