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A review of RMTrack 2.0 and Cape Clear SOA Editor 4.8

RMTrack flags bugs fast

RMTrack 2.0
Cost: RMTrack 1.2.2 pricing starts at $299
RMTrack Issue Tracking Solutions
Toronto, Ontario
http://www.rmtrack.com/Default.asp
Rating: 4 out of 5

I reviewed RMTrack 1.2 last fall. Now that they have their 2.0 version out, I figured it was time for another look. It remains a very customizable ASP.NET-based bug-tracking system that should be adaptable to nearly any organization's needs.

The customization runs much deeper than just adjusting the values in pick lists. The piece I like best is the graphical workflow designer, which shows the state machine that underlies the tracking process. This runs as a control inside of Internet Explorer, and lets you add new states and transitions, remove existing ones and so on. Whether it is an additional level of approvals for a critical project, or a streamlined process for writing knowledge base articles, RMTrack can handle it.

Of course everything else can be customized, too: user groups, priority codes, resolution codes . . . you name it (and, of course, the usual stuff such as which projects are active and what builds you are planning to make). Even the layout of the main bug form can be changed by manipulating controls on another ASP.NET page.

Other nice touches include a way to set up "public users" who can enter bugs but not read reports, a good set of graphical tracking reports, and flexible e-mail notifications.

Version 2.0 improves on the 1.x series in several ways. First, there is a new project wizard that makes it easy to get going; you should be able to enter bugs within 20 minutes of starting the install. This version also allows you to change data entry forms and workflow on a per-project instead of a per-server basis, making a single RMTrack server much more flexible than before. You can now share filters between users, adjust security on a field-by-field level and flag users as inactive without losing their history. All in all, it is a nice set of improvements.

The RMTrack Web site allows you to download a 30-day trial version, as well as all of the relevant manuals. If you are thinking about a Web-based tracking system, RMTrack is worth evaluating.

SOA editor clears way for "WSDL first"

Cape Clear SOA Editor 4.8
Cost: Free
Cape Clear Software Inc.
Waltham, Mass.
http://www.capeclear.com/integration/soa
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Remember Web services? They were all the buzz a couple of years ago, and then the enthusiasm died down a bit. But the end result was to have plenty of competent developers working on Web services, and gradually a body of knowledge has built up around them. One tenet that many of the top Web services developers agree on is "WSDL first" -- build the contract before you build the code. That can cause a small problem, though, if you do not have an editor that lets you easily create WSDL files.

Enter the Cape Clear SOA Editor. This free tool (split off from Cape Clear's larger suite of Web service tools that do things like integration, testing and code generation), exists simply to create, validate and otherwise work with WSDL files. The company has packed a good many features into this Java-based tool. Among my favorites are:

  • You can open WSDL files from disk, from a URL or by searching a UDDI registry.
  • Three different views are included. The Graphical view uses panels of controls suited to each part of the WSDL file, making it trivial to make legal edits. The Text view shows you the raw WSDL. The Simplified view uses XSLT and CSS to show you a pretty, understandable version of the file.
  • HTML documentation generation.
  • Validation that flags errors and tells you what to fix.
  • Excellent tools for working with existing schemas.

The documentation (a 100+ PDF manual) deserves special notice, since it is not just a rundown of how to use the application. It has a good explanation of why WSDL first and Service-Oriented Architecture make sense, as well as a great dissection of the parts of a WSDL file. This makes for good reference material even if you do not end up using the application.

The program works well and quickly on my test machine with the 1.4.2 JRE installed. If you are doing work with Web services, this is a tool you will want to grab.

About the Author

Mike Gunderloy has been developing software for a quarter-century now, and writing about it for nearly as long. He walked away from a .NET development career in 2006 and has been a happy Rails user ever since. Mike blogs at A Fresh Cup.

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