Compuware’s OptimalJ 3.2 hits the streets

Compuware Corp. has expanded its development lifecycle and now enables developers to automatically generate unit tests from an application’s architectural models in its latest iteration of OptimalJ, version 3.2.

One industry insider says the development environment is well positioned within the model-driven pattern-based (MDPB) development space. MDPB uses patterns to automatically translate business models into working applications, and while the concept is still relatively new, Mark Driver, vice-president and research director, software infrastructure and application development at Gartner Inc. in Minneapolis, said version 3.2 is a “strong and incremental” release. He added that Compuware fares well from a technology standpoint.

“Coming from more of a mainframe background, a lot of people just don’t realize [Compuware] has tools and technology in this space. When you look under the covers, given their size and presence in legacy markets, they are well positioned to take those customer bases and extend them into Java but they are just not associated with that right now.”

MDPB is still attracting a small percentage of marketshare in the development space for Compuware. The small marketshare is part and parcel due the fact that many developers use tools from other vendors including Borland Corp. and IBM Corp., Driver explained.

“Part of it is the acceptance of the MDPB approach…which is gaining popularity but is still relatively new. Finally, Compuware doesn’t have a lot of name recognition in this space yet,” Driver said.

Mike Burba, Compuware OptimalJ Launch Manager, said that 3.2 is working toward appealing to a range of skilled developers by expanding the lifecycle coverage of development by moving backwards into application analysis and forward into unit testing.

“By expanding our lifecycle coverage, we are helping [developers] simplify and reduce the number of vendors they have to work with,” he said. “With a single tool, they have complete coverage of the development phase.”

Burba said the 3.2 release rounds out support for the application analysis phase by allowing customers to use UML diagrams. Also, the new version integrates with the other major players in the field including IBM and Borland. The model-driven testing addition gives developers automatic coverage of their applications.

“Developers hate writing tests for their code and as a result you typically get spotty coverage of your application in terms of the tests that are written for that code — if you get any tests at all,” Burba explained. “Developers will have automatic coverage of their apps because they don’t have to do it themselves.”

Gartner’s Driver said that unit testing is one of those things that is typically overlooked by developers.

“What we are seeing, overall as a theme to this [release] is that resource-constrained developers are looking for tools that provide value from the design all the way through production and deployment,” Driver explained.

In the past, developers would get their tools from the best of breed and work with a dozen or so vendors, Driver said. Now, they are looking towards having full suites of tools.

“I’m not saying that best-of-breed is going away but clearly the buying patterns for Java has been best of breed, but now they are looking for…support for the entire development cycle. It gives a more holistic approach to enterprise Java development,” he added.

The latest release also offers complete system analysis through extended UML modeling, which includes support for nine UML models, Compuware said. There are also collaboration enhancements, which allow teams of developers to work on different parts of a larger development project but still enable all development teams the ability to effectively manage their source code.

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