Amid Uncertainty, Borland Adds 'Release Readiness' to ALM Suite

As it struggles to move beyond the cloud surrounding its business, Borland Software today released a new module to its application lifecycle management (ALM) portfolio focused on improving the quality of apps delivered by development teams.

The company's new TeamInspector is the fourth component of the Borland Management Suite (BMS) launched last summer and the first upgrade since its initial release. BMS uses the company's open ALM framework to let development teams integrate software delivery management into existing tools and processes. The first three components of the suite focused on demand management, project management and analytics.

TeamInspector provides development managers with dashboards which bring together key metrics from various test, analysis and build tools, said David Wilby, Borland's vice president of product strategy. It also supports code provided by both agile and iterative development teams, Wilby said.

"We normalize the data and bring it up into a portfolio dashboard, a real-time information display that allows you at any point in time to see multiple projects across the board and see their general health," Wilby said. "Like any dashboard, you can drill down to a much more detailed layer of reporting and to the source materials if you want."

The normalized data goes into a data store. Through the dashboard, managers can perform historical reporting against it, conduct trend analysis and identify key metrics that predict how a build is doing or how the combination of code coverage, unit tests and builds are going to perform at a particular level, enabling the manager or leader to determine whether an app is ready to be released, Wilby said.

Among the testing frameworks TeamInspector now supports are Junit, Nunit, Emma, Checkstyle and Borland's own SilkCentral Test Manager (SCTM). The first three software change and configuration management (SCCM) tools it will support are Perforce, StarTeam and Subversion. Among build tools it will support are Ant, Nant and Command Line.

While TeamInspector focuses on code quality and complexity, Borland is also looking at future features such as IP coverage, license coverage and security issues, Wilby said. "The idea is we have built an architecture that is extensible and open and we will build out a further set of Inspectors," he said. "Using the build as a trigger, we have a very early warning into whether the code is ready and scalable and secure enough that we have confidence that regardless of whether its going to be handed over to QA, that they are getting good material,."

TeamInspector addresses a key requirement for those who use BMS, said Bola Rotibi, a principal analyst with Macehiter Ward-Dutton. When it comes to ALM from a code testing and delivery perspective, BMS is competitive with offerings from IBM and Microosft, Rotibi said.

"The challenge for Borland is when it goes beyond the delivery and the more end-to-end ALM story, which includes the operational side, operational management and service management, as well as the business governance and business process side. They aren't leaders in that space," she said. "That whole end-to-end focus is a bit constrained, however. From an ALM from a software delivery perspective, that's where they are focused and are doing a good job."

Still overshadowing Borland are concerns about the state of its business. In addition to abrupt departures of CEO Tod Nielsen and senior VP of R&D Peter Morowski last month, the company has cut 15 percent of its workforce amid a decline in revenues and a sharp drop in its share price.

"What's happening in the board room is overshadowing their work," Rotibi said. "If I was a customer, I'd be looking for reassurance that there's a good, viable, long-term business going forward."

An indicator may come later this week; the company said today it will report its fourth quarter and 2008 year-end earnings on Thursday.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of and news editor of Visual Studio Magazine.