Rational focuses on testing enhancements

Rational Software Corp. this month will announce upgrades to eight different tools suites, with the focus on testing and developer enhancements.

The suites will be released collectively under the label Rational Suite v2002 Release 2. Included are suites for functions such as testing, data modeling, and content development. The company in its announcement is highlighting Java and Web testing capabilities in its Rational Suite Test Studio and Rational Suite Development Studio.

Featured in Test Studio is ScriptAssure, for building unbreakable test scripts.

“The challenge [that] testers face is a lot of the times the scripts themselves break,” said Dave Locke, Rational director of product marketing, in Boulder, Col. “ScriptAssure creates resilient test scripts that don’t break.”

Scripts are written in Java. IBM Corp.’s WebSphere Studio Workbench is being bundled into the test suite to provide developers and technical testers with a compiler, debugger, and the tools needed to write sophisticated test scripts, Locke said.

Another feature, dynamic data validation, allows non-technical testers to produce resilient test scripts. Version control for test scripts also is featured.

“Fine-grained version control allows me to use the most current versions of my test assets,” Locke said.

A beta user of the test suite gave it rave reviews. “Overall, I think Rational is probably the most forward-thinking software development suite in this business,” said Jeff Bocarsly, functional division manager at RTTS, or Real Time Technology Solutions, a New York-based maker of automated testing solutions for IT. “They’re looking toward the future of where software testing tools can go.”

Bocarsly hailed the integration with IBM WebSphere and the ScriptAssure feature. “[Rational has] done a very intelligent thing trying to make test scripts reflect the changes that occur in the application,” he said.

Also being released is Rational XDE (Extended Development Environment) Modeler, which is not part of a suite. “It allows architects and designers to model their applications, in other words design an architecture as well as create software development patterns,” Locke said.

Rational also is upgrading its Rational XDE Professional product, to provide data modeling capabilities for database applications. Web publishing capabilities are included to enable development teams to publish applications on the Web.

Additionally, Rational has integrated PurifyPlus, its run-time analysis tool, into the Visual Studio.Net shell, enabling Microsoft Corp. developers to utilize the Rational shell. New to PurifyPlus is the ability to selectively apply it to specific code, rather than to an entire application.

“I can just focus on the piece that I’m working on right now,” Locke said. PurifyPlus is in Rational’s Development Studio and Test Studio suites.

In addition, Rational is adding a feature called Passive State Machine Code Generation to its Rational Rose RealTime tool, which also is part of the DevelopmentStudio suite. This allows for code generation from all facets of an application model, instead of just the dynamic aspects.

The full list of suites being released as part of Release 2, in addition to the testing suite, include the following:

– AnalystStudio, a tool suite for business, application, and data modeling; requirements and use case management; defect and change request tracking; and best-practices guidelines.

– ContentStudio, enabling Web and IT teams to manage complex Web sites

– DevelopmentStudio for Windows, providing development and diagnostic tools for Windows development.

– DevelopmentStudio for Unix, with development and diagnostic tools for Unix applications.

– DevelopmentStudio RealTime Edition and RealTime Edition for Unix, for modeling, designing, and implementing real-time software and network systems. Developers can find and eliminate run-time errors and memory leaks, and deal with performance issues. Applications can be built for systems such as cell phones.

– Enterprise, featuring every tool and process in the Rational arsenal for organizations developing and deploying software for e-business, infrastructure, devices, and embedded systems companies.

Suite prices vary, ranging from US$3,995 for a node-locked license for AnalystStudio to $7,695 for a license for the Enterprise suite. Products will ship this month.