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VA Software Unwraps SourceForge 3.3

VA Software took the wraps off a new version of its SourceForge Enterprise Edition "Development Intelligence" application Tuesday, furthering its aim to help companies take the SourceForge.net development framework behind the corporate firewall.

SourceForge Enterprise Edition is an integrated Web-based application that combines software development tools with metrics tools that can track, measure and report on software project activity in real-time. It brings together development, collaboration and management tools to help organizations create a central repository for all of their software development information and activity.

The SourceForge Enterprise Edition was born at the request of companies like Hewlett-Packard and Goldman Sachs, which wanted to use the SourceForge.net development style, but more securely behind the firewall.

The enterprise edition adds tools specifically for the corporate development environment, and is intended to integrate smoothly with more point-based development products like IBM's WebSphere Studio or Borland's JBuilder.

With the latest version, SourceForge Enterprise Edition 3.3, VA Software has added integration with Merant's PVCS Version Manager. The application already supports other software configuration management (SCM) tools like Rational, ClearCase and CVS and can tie in with Oracle and DB2 on the back-end. Additionally, SourceForge 3.3 has debuted "gated communities," which use role-based access capabilities to give outsourced development contractors, partners and customers limited and restricted access to certain information or projects.

All users are assigned 'roles' which are associated with particular projects or information areas. The only information that users are allowed to see -- let alone access -- is specified by the role.

"Users can only see and access that which they are given permission to access," said Colin Bodell, senior vice president of product development at VA Software. "Confidential things are not even there."

Other new features include webDAV integration, allowing project staff to publish project Web pages and other content directly through SourceForge; LDAP integration, providing an authentication mechanism for organizations that don't already have one (the application can also integrate seamlessly with third-party or home-grown authentication systems); and improved issue tracking.

"We've really been expanding and extending SourceForge to make it suitable for use behind the corporate firewall," Bodell said. "Once SourceForge goes in, people can't do without it. It's got all of the tools necessary for the software development lifecycle."

The new issue tracking tools allow users to view and track relationships and dependencies across issues. For example, project requirements, bug reports and enhancement requests can all be linked with other information managed by SourceForge tools, including documents and task assignments. A tracker power search functionality has been added to the mix to make finding key information easier.

"Everything is connected to everything," Bodell said. "If I raise a bug report in our tracker, you can associate all of the dialogue about the bug -- link to documents in the document manager, forums, anything held within SourceForge can be linked to that artifact tracker."

Bodell explained that VA Software created the product with the understanding that most companies don't want to rip-and-replace their entire development infrastructure.

"We'll go in with a set of integrated tools and tidy up their processes. Where they've got incumbent technologies, we don't try to replace it. We'll just integrate with those technologies," he said.

He added, " The reality of today's software development teams is that they tend to be geographically dispersed, follow different processes, and use different tools that typically are not integrated. This leads to significant inefficiencies, cost overruns and delayed projects. SourceForge integrates with an organization's existing tools, while providing a comprehensive set of tools and resources to fill in any capability gaps."

SourceForge is priced on a per-seat basis at $2,725 per seat, plus 20 percent for annual maintenance, which includes support and software upgrades.