Application development

For Web apps, 2005 was the year of AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML). In addition to bringing rich GUIs to many high-profile commercial apps, AJAX got a boost from some top-notch toolkits including Backbase, JackBe, and Tibco General Interface. We also witnessed the emergence of static code analysis tools -- from vendors such as Compuware, Coverity, Fortify Software, and Secure Software -- as a promising way to identify software defects and security issues. JRules 5.0 broke new ground in exposing business rules to business users, and Borland reigned in our roundup of enterprise Java IDEs.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

CODE ANALYSIS AND TEST TOOLS

Compuware DevPartner Fault Simulator 1.0 Compuware Fair, 6.5 Bottom Line: DevPartner Fault Simulator is a great idea that solves a difficult and rarely addressed problem: testing little-used program exception code. Unfortunately, this release is hampered by lack of integration with Compuware's other tools, as well as by limited coverage. Wait for the next release.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Empirix e-Test Suite 8.0 Empirix Very Good, 8.0 Bottom Line: e-Test Suite 8.0 greatly expands its reach with a revised Java-based agent architecture and greater back-end server support. Although still not as well-integrated or capable as higher-end products such as Segue's SilkPerformer, e-Test is headed in the right direction. It's an easy-to-master Web app testing solution.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Fortify Source Code Analysis Suite 3.0 Fortify Software Very Good, 8. 4 Bottom Line: The Fortify Source Code Analysis Suite is a comprehensive, configurable, and pricey package that automates security audits of C, C++, C#, Java, JSP, and SQL code. Its thorough analysis and detailed recommendations make remedial action quick and effective.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

iTKO LISA 2.6 iTKO Very Good, 8 .2 Bottom Line: LISA is a tough slope to ascend; the tool is nothing less than a development environment for building tests, and it takes a bit of time to get used to LISA's way of doing things. The view from the top, though, is worth the effort -- LISA provides remarkable breadth in J2EE regression testing.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Parasoft Jtest 7.0 Parasoft Excellent, 8.7 Bottom Line: For industrial-strength Java application testing, Jtest 7.0 is the tool to get. Because it allows you to do so much without getting your hands in the code, it will be as useful to your QA department as it will be to your developers.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Parasoft SOAPtest 4.0 Parasoft Very Good, 8.6 Bottom Line: Parasoft's SOAPtest 4.0 is a Web service testing tool that will be useful to developers and QA engineers alike. Its strength is the speed with which robust test suites can be built from humble unit-test beginnings. New security tests for Web services are a fine addition.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Secure Software CodeAssure Suite 2.0 Secure Software Very Good, 8. 3 Bottom Line: CodeAssure Suite 2.0 is an excellent static source-code analyzer. Its accuracy is stellar, but it's limited to Java and C code, and ships exclusively as a plug-in to Eclipse. Both of those shortcomings keep CodeAssure from realizing its full potential.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

DEVELOPER TOOLS

Akimbi Slingshot 1.0 Akimibi Preview Bottom Line: Slingshot specializes in running virtual systems in test environments. The product deploys VMs in multisystem configurations across a farm of hosting servers, allowing a given multisystem setup to be resumed exactly as a tester captured and saved it. Changes made to a configuration are saved as deltas to the original profile so that a variety of different scenarios can be saved in a library and reloaded as needed.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Backbase 3.0 Backbase Very Good, 8.5 Bottom Line: This impressive AJAX toolkit provides a mature collection of widgets for adding features normally expected in native applications to Web pages. It uses its own extension of HTML and XML known as BXML, sure to please coders looking to replace modern JavaScript's cross-browser complexity.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Borland Core SDP Borland Software Preview Bottom Line: Tools vendors adopting the role-based development model are looking to capture greater sales from an existing stable of products. This plan works if buyers see extra value in the product integration; simple bundles of tools won't work. In this regard it seems that Borland has added sufficient new functionality and integration to Core::Foundation to make its case to enterprise buyers.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Borland JBuilder 2005 Enterprise Edition Borland Software Very Good, 8. 4 Bottom Line: A great IDE with support for numerous technologies, JBuilder 2005 Enterprise has an excellent help system but could benefit from greater modeling capabilities (available in other Borland tools).

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Compuware DevPartner SecurityChecker 1.0 Compuware Very Good, 8.1 Bottom Line: Compuware's DevPartner SecurityChecker 1.0 is a very good security-analysis engine for ASP.Net applications. It's highly configurable and offers helpful explanations of problems, along with useful recommendations for resolving them. It would benefit from better integration with other application development tools, a true management console, and somewhat faster execution.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

DENG 1.0 DENG Project Very Good, 8.0 Bottom Line: DENG 1.0 is a work in progress that handles the client-side rendering and calculating of an XForms application very well. Despite a lack of complete XForms support, DENG is an easily installed XForms engine that runs just about anywhere and enables developers to use XForms in their Web apps now.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Digital Harbor PiiE 4.5 Digital Harbor Excellent, 8.7 Bottom Line: Digital Harbor's PiiE 4.5 platform is an impressive visual environment that allows you to link multiple data sources to produce interactive corporate dashboards. If you can spend the time and effort to turn your business into an ontology, PiiE rewards you with rich links and valuable interrelationships.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Genuitec MyEclipse Enterprise Workbench 3.8.3 Genuitec Good, 7.9 Bottom Line: This broad collection of proprietary and open source Java tools for Eclipse is tested and integrated to save you the trouble of dealing with the inconsistencies and sometimes spotty production values of the open source community. The low price makes it easy to forgive the occasional rough spot in documentation.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

IBM Rational Software Architect 6.0 IBM Very Good, 8.3 Bottom Line: Of the four IDEs tested in our March roundup, this is the most feature-complete for architects and developers. RSA 6.0 can be a little slow at times, and its interface is less intuitive; it's more difficult to navigate than JBuilder 2005 or JDeveloper.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

ILOG JRules 5.0 ILOG Excellent, 8.8 Bottom Line: JRules 5.0 adds depth and polish to an already rich set of tools, including performance monitoring. The 5.0 Version performs significantly better when running standard benchmarks. It now allows users to develop their own rule language, paving the way for faster, less-error-prone changes to apps.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Ingenierburo David Fischer Proxy Sniffer Professional Edition 3.7 Ingenieurburo David Fischer Excellent, 9.0 Bottom Line: Proxy Sniffer offers a lot of features for the money and delivers them in the comfort of a Web browser. It can distribute load clients across multiple Unix, Linux, and Windows machines. Load-test setup is a breeze using the built-in tools, and the real-time monitoring and in-depth reporting tools -- such as PDF output and comparison facilities -- are quite useful.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

JackBe NQ Suite 4.0 JackBe Very Good, 8.3 Bottom Line: A full-featured IDE, JackBe NQ Suite 4.0 is an excellent way to build client applications that don't need to be installed. The short, tightly coded JavaScript libraries let you add a full GUI to any HTML page. Some wizards lack polish and are incomplete, however, and graphical opportunities are limited.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

M7 NitroX 2.0 M7 Very Good, 8.3 Bottom Line: This polished, sophisticated, and somewhat pricey tool for speeding development of Java Web apps offers AppXRay, a powerful tool for compiling all of the facets of a JSP or Struts Web application. The tool parses both the Java and the XML configuration files to offer great code completion and debugging.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Minq PureLoad Enteprise Edition 3.3.1 Minq Software Excellent, 8.7 Bottom Line: Sites that need to test Web protocols and enterprise applications will find PureLoad Enterprise Edition up to the task. Although its reporting is not as extensive as that of some competitors, PureLoad is very easy to set up and use for single- and multiple-machine load tests. A Web Edition that supports HTTP and HTTPS testing is also available.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

OpenSTA 1.4.3 OpenSTA Very Good, 8.3 Bottom Line: OpenSTA is a solid, easy-to-use, open source Web load-testing tool. It does a nice job of answering how well a particular Web site or app might scale. Its proprietary scripting language may slow some developers a bit, however, and its basic reporting and lack of certain features (built-in comparison tools, for example) may prompt some IT departments to look elsewhere.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Oracle JDeveloper 10.1.3 Oracle Very Good, 8.0 Bottom Line: A well-constructed package, JDeveloper is fast and intuitive, and it has nearly all the features a developer would want. It lacks robust modeling support, but otherwise it's a good point from which to start any evaluation.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Orbeon PresentationServer 2.7 and Orbeon Studio 1.2 Orbeon Good, 7.8 Bottom Line: Orbeon PresentationServer and Studio let you create full-bodied Web apps in a building-block fashion. Page Flow files manage data processing nicely between pages in the XML pipelines. It will take some time to learn, but the payoff is worth it. At the very least you'll be fluent in every important XML dialect.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

PureEdge 8x Suite 2.6 PureEdge Good, 7.9 Bottom Line: PureEdge is an expertly executed development and deployment suite for e-forms, with the goal of replacing paper forms. The e-forms are straightforward and versatile: They're easily attached to e-mail and can be customized by users. PureEdge delivers the paper-centric business model a heavy blow.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Sapien PrimalScript 4.0 Sapien Excellent, 8.8 Bottom Line: PrimalScript offers many features that enable even novice admins to write very complex scripts. The Evolved Script Packager sets a new bar for scripting environments by allowing you to compile multiple scripts into executable programs.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Sun Java Studio Creator 2004Q2 Update 7 Sun Microsystems Very Good, 8.3 Bottom Line: This well-designed, easy-to-use graphical environment is great for constructing ready-to-run enterprise Java apps. Graphical elements, database access, Web services, and numerous other functions are built-in and simple to use. It only lacks Struts support and a plug-in implementation for major Java IDEs.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Sun Java Studio Enterprise 7 Sun Microsystems Good, 7.4 Bottom Line: Sun Java Studio Enterprise 7 is a good product with great collaboration and profiling tools. The interface, however, is a bit awkward and several important features are missing -- notably, support for Struts and JSF.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Tibco General Interface 3.1 Tibco Software Excellent, 8.8 Bottom Line: Tibco General Interface is a friendly, capable toolkit for building sophisticated JavaScript Web applications that run in a browser -- Internet Explorer now, Firefox in the future. The results are as rich as the best client applications and as easy to distribute as putting up a Web page. This is one of the better ways to produce big AJAX applications that display large amounts of data on one page.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Trolltech Qt 4 Trolltech Excellent, 9.2 Bottom Line: A dual-licensed, comprehensive, and well-implemented cross-platform toolkit expands in capabilities. Qt 4 adds full integration with Visual Studio .Net, redesigned graphics and font support, expanded multithreading capabilities, and a server-only version. Now, if only it supported more than C++.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Vanward Convergence Vanward Technologies Very Good, 8.2 Bottom Line: Java developers and development managers concerned about QA should take Convergence for a test drive. It hooks easily into Maven-based projects and allows you to prowl through code metrics and test-result data that might otherwise be lost.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

More about AscendBorland AustraliaBorland SoftwareCompuwareEmpirixIBM AustraliaIlogJRulesOracleParasoftRational SoftwareRSASnifferSpeedSun MicrosystemsTibcoTibco Software AustraliaTrolltech

Show Comments

Market Place