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Borland Lets You Test Code Before Its Written

With its integrated development environment (IDE) software on the block, Borland is attempting to move into a very crowded and competitive field of software quality control with a new product line.

The company today introduced Borland  Lifecycle Quality Management (LQM), which the company built on a combination of newly developed products such as CaliberIT, as well as products acquired from Segue and other companies.

Typically, quality checks in software don't begin until the testing phase, at which point many months and lines of code have passed.

"That's the wrong way for an organization to think about quality," said Brad Johnson, product marketing director for LQM at Borland.

"LQM really encompasses everything that happens as an application is being defined and delivered, as opposed to today, where we test compiled code as we get it."

Testing before code is even written may seem illogical, but Johnson said that up to 60 percent or more of defects in an application can be traced back to a poorly defined requirement in the software.

Also, by capturing all the specific quality requirements of an application in the initial design phase, testers downstream know what they are looking for.

LQM software brings quality control to a software project from the very first step, rather than waiting until a project is in the testing stages.

Quality checks are added at the point of project definition, tested earlier and more often, and traced throughout every phase of the software delivery lifecycle.

By doing so, it adds four new processes to the development cycle. These are IT lifecycle management and governance, requirements definition and management, lifecycle quality management and change management.

LQM is made up of four components.

The first is Gauntlet, a defect prevention system acquired earlier this year that builds quality checks into existing development tasks, so testing is done earlier.

The second part is Borland SilkCentral Test Manager, which came with the Segue acquisition. SilkCentral Test Manager is a Web-based test management system that supports every crucial stage of the software quality lifecycle.

The third component is integration between SilkCentral Test Manager and Borland's CaliberRM and Caliber DefineIT, as well as integration between Silk and StarTeam products.

This will allow testers to generate test cases directly from the requirements defined at the beginning of the project.

Finally, Borland will offer consulting and educational services along with its software.

Borland's problem isn't its products but consumer confidence, as potential customers have more faith in its products than the company behind it, said Gartner analyst Jim Duggan.

The company is in the process of selling off its IDEs, which Duggan said it must do if it wants to get into the enterprise market.

IDEs and enterprise software are two very different products and Borland hasn't been able to sell both equally well, he said.

"The bottom line with Borland remains they have got to get the deal done so people trust them," he said.

"It's not so much that the concepts behind their life cycle management make people uncertain, it's the IDE business has continually hijacked the whole company."

In doing so, Borland gets rid of the distraction of the IDE business but they also take away $125 million in revenue.

The products in LQM fit together nicely, he said, but even if Borland can make a $200 million business out of the suite, they are still one of the smallest players in this business.

"An awful lot of my clients like their products, but need to know Borland is serious about this stuff," he said.

"I think that the challenge here is Borland's told a very nice story, but they are one of six or seven people trying to put these types of suites together," including IBM , Microsoft  and CompuWare , he said.

The Borland LQM solution is available now, except for the Gauntlet software, which is in early beta.