Just because Borland Software is exiting the developer tools business does not mean the company will not be tending to enterprise application developers, says Borland's Rob Cheng, director of developer solutions. To this end, the company is getting ready to release its Gauntlet continuous building and testing automation system, with the goal of helping developers better manage the development process.
The company acquired Gauntlet in February to add to its application lifecycle management arsenal. Meanwhile, the company is proceeding with a planned sale of its Developer Tools Group so it can focus on the ALM space.
Borland Gauntlet is due by later this year. Developed by former BEA Systems technologists, the product builds software automatically to make sure errors are not introduced and assists with establishing a daily process for development. Gauntlet performs builds earlier in the process than has been the norm.
"Gauntlet helps them manage how they build their software and how they test their software," Cheng said in a meeting with InfoWorld at Borland corporate offices in Cupertino, Calif. this week.
Gauntlet accommodates the incremental release style popularized by agile development methodologies. "It gives [developers] almost continuous, real-time feedback," Cheng said. The product will integrate with version control systems including Subversion and Borland StarTeam.
Its name, Gauntlet, signifies that the technology covers a multitude of tests. "Running the gauntlet means you have to run through a bunch of tests," Cheng said.
With Gauntlet, Borland is promoting the use of builds as an opportunity for test execution early in the development lifecycle, said analyst Carey Schwaber of Forrester Research. "The benefit of that is you find out about defects before you even get to a discrete testing phase," Schwaber said.
Borland's use of build management in Gauntlet is cutting-edge, although an open source tool such as CruiseControl can perform some of the same functions, she said. Gauntlet is intended to increase attention on one of the biggest pain points in the development lifecycle, which is making the system work together as a whole, Schwaber said.
Testing capabilities in the initial version of Gauntlet are tuned to Java development, although developers writing in .Net languages still could use it for managing check-ins and building software. Support for testing other languages besides Java will be added in the future. Citing the differences between scripting languages and compiled languages, Borland has no plans to add capabilities tuned to dynamic languages such as Perl or PHP (PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor). "These are scripting languages, so they're not compiled," Cheng said.
Gauntlet also embraces open source development methodologies, which are more transparent and open, said Cheng. But there are no plans to actually open-source any of the Gauntlet technology itself.
Borland's future relationship with developers, Cheng stressed, is a server-side relationship as opposed to working with them via client products, Cheng said.
In other developments at Borland, company representatives said the planned sale of the tools group still is progressing but they would not be tied down to a September target date, which previously was cited by the company. "It's on track in terms of the steps that we need to go through to spin this organization out," said Rick Jackson, chief marketing officer at Borland.
The tools group remains profitable, Jackson said. "The reason that we're spinning it out is business focus," he said.
Borland officials also cited the Dutch police force as a new ALM customer and said EDS recently doubled its investment in Borland ALM technology, growing from 6,000 seats to 10,000 seats.