Reviews

Briefing: iRise

iRise Application Simulator 3.1
starting at roughly $250,000
iRise
El Segundo, California
(310) 640-8656
www.irise.com

A few months ago I had a talk with the iRise people about their Application Simulator. They're in the process of releasing a major new version, so I revisited them to talk about what was up with them now. As you may recall, the goal of iRise is to allow the business analysts (the people who are right there developing the requirements) to build a simulation of a Web-based application without doing any coding. There are a lot of other approaches to this, of course. iRise is designed to be smarter and closer to a real application that index cards or whiteboards, much easier to use than building a VB6 prototype, and friendlier to end users than a typicaly Requirements Management system. Perhaps the closest analog is something like PowerPoint. If you're a comfortable Office power user, you should be able to master iRise.

iRise works by providing a drag and drop IDE to define the pages of a Web application. You can then import or type in sample data, link the mocked up pages together, and demonstrate your concepts to the end user. At that point, the end user and analyst can engage in rapid prototyping without the developer being involved, narrowing down to a prototype that both can agree on.

After you've developed the prototype, you can pull the requirements back out of iRise's repository (which includes the models, the requirements they're capturing, various reports, and so on) and pass them off to the development team, along with the actual simulation, which can serve as a reference application.

Version 3.1 works on refining what was already there before. The focus is on making it even easier for the business analyst to create even richer simulations. They've worked on simpler ways to specify data and logic, with the goal of giving more detail to developers when the spec is turned over. The whole is still focused on producing Web applications.

Meanwhile, iRise has also announced tight integration with BEA WebLogic Workshop. When your simulation is done, and everyone has signed off on it, you can push a button and it pregenerates assets into the Workshop environment. This includes page flow diagrams and JSP code, with the test requirements dumped in as well. Right-click on a requirement and you can pop up the corresponding simulation. The end result should be traceability directly from simulation to application, with end users knowing up front what they can expect to have built.

Availability for the new version is scheduled for August 1. You can find more background at the iRise Web site.

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