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Eclipse Tools Can Reduce Debug Costs, Instantiations Reps Say

Application development has many unexpected costs, but these costs can be reduced by automating certain production-line steps, according to Instantiations, a Java and Smalltalk engineering and consulting company. In a Thursday Webinar, the Portland, Ore.-based company made its case.

According to figures provided by Instantiations, defect correction is relatively inexpensive in the early stages of development, at about $135 per incident (early requirements/planning phase). However, costs can increase exponentially in later stages, hitting about $14,102 per incident (maintenance phase following release).

Instantiations offers products designed to help minimize code defects by implementing better quality standards early in the software design cycle. The company provides two solutions that work with the Eclipse development environment to help reduce defects: CodePro Suite (consisting of AnalytiX Desktop and AnalytiX Dashboard) and WindowTester.

The CodePro Suite helps reduce defects in source code through detailed code audit reports sent to developers and architects. AnalytiX Desktop is designed for software development professionals, whereas AnalytiX Dashboard is geared more toward management. WindowTester simplifies GUI debugging.

These tools are designed to work alongside of Eclipse to facilitate testing automation for software projects. In conventional software testing, there is typically some discrepancy between the developers and quality assurance staff. Code is written by developers, checked into a source code repository, compiled on a build system, and then forwarded to testing/quality assurance staff. Meanwhile, management and software architects sit outside the development process and are essentially out of the loop.

CodePro AnalytiX Desktop provides an automated stream of data back to developers and architects. This "continuous analysis" model feeds results, metrics and code coverage -- essentially providing a code audit for all involved in the project. The architect then sends config sheets back to the code repository.

In a more advanced stage of automation, called "dynamic analysis," developers receive individualized results, metrics, code coverage and config sheet data directly from their own installed copies of CodePro AnalytiX Desktop. Meanwhile, the dedicated build system delivers the same information directly to the software architect. This approach helps spot defects before they end up in the final product and it lets management see the details through CodePro AnalytiX Dashboard.

WindowTester Pro allows GUI defects to be diagnosed and replicated through scripting. Rather than having to describe the problem to developers and how to replicate it, WindowTester can record macros that are able to replicate defective scenarios easily, thereby making them easier to fix. This process can be automated or run manually.

WindowTester and the CodePro tools work with any type of source code management system, such as CVS and Subversion. CodePro AnalytiX and WindowTester are available for both Windows and Linux operating systems, and can be downloaded from the Instantiations Web site.

About the Author

Will Kraft is a Web designer, technical consultant and freelance writer. He can be reached at will@willkraftblog.com. Also, check out his blog at http://www.willkraftblog.com.

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