Borland smoothing out Silk apps testing line

Borland smoothing out Silk apps testing line

New products focus on improving the process of testing

Borland Software on Tuesday will refresh the Silk application testing product line it acquired last year.

Available now, the R 2006 Release 2 versions of the Silk products include: SilkCentral Test Manager, which is a J2EE framework for managing processes; SilkPerformer for load testing, and SilkTest for test automation.

"This release focuses a lot on improving the process of testing," with incremental enhancements, said Brad Johnson, Borland product marketing director for lifecycle quality management.

The Silk line "provides a quality framework that looks at software quality in a very holistic view from the beginning of the development cycle to when the applications are delivered," Johnson said.

Featured in Test Manager is an Eclipse-based client that allows for manual testing of applications. "It's a small Eclipse application that enables manual testers to be given the direction and steps they're supposed to execute, the pass-fail criteria," said Johnson.

With manual testing, the user validates each step rather than using automation. The new client in Test Manager allows for testing to be done offline and be reported back to the test management console. Previously, manual testing in Test Manager required a Web interface.

Manual testing can account for nearly 85 percent of testing efforts, Borland said. But it often has required an inefficient process utilizing Word documents and e-mail. Borland is looking to streamline this form of testing.

Test Manager also features code coverage capabilities that connect code to a specific test so that when code changes, testers know which tests to modify. Test Manager now ships with integrated support for the Borland Gauntlet product, providing visibility and control over the early stages of developer testing.

By adding Eclipse support, Borland is taking a step toward moving the product to support industry standards, said Carey Schwaber, senior analyst at Forrester Research.

"I think any support for Eclipse is a good thing," Schwaber said. However, the proprietary scripting environment in Test Manager does not yet go away, she said.

SilkPerformer offers improved monitoring through use of Java Management Extensions technology. "It lets us deploy the common Java servers from [BEA Systems] WebLogic, [IBM] WebSphere, and so forth," Johnson said. "It gives us deeper visibility."

A new Eclipse plugin in SilkPerformer allows performance test development to be done within the Eclipse IDE.

SilkTest adds support for Windows Vista so users can test applications developed for Vista at the UI level.

"Every single testing vendor really needs to have support for Vista because one of the things that Vista introduces is the need to retest your applications," when migrating from other platforms, Schwaber said. "Our data show that people will be doing these migrations for the next couple of years."

Other environments supported by SilkTest include Windows XP 64-bit operating systems, Internet Explorer 7.0, and .Net.

SilkCentral Test Manager starts in price at US$1,700 per named user, while SilkTest pricing begins at US$4,500 per named user. SilkPerformer prices begin at roughly US$10,000 per user.

Borland acquired the Silk product line when it bought Segue Software in 2006.

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