Volume 6, Number 24 -- June 13, 2006

MKS Updates ALM Tools for iSeries, Distributed Systems

Published: June 13, 2006

by Alex Woodie

By the end of this month, MKS will be shipping new releases of its suite of application lifecycle management (ALM) tools for iSeries and other platforms. For users of Implementer, MKS' change management system for OS/400 servers, the big news is they will now be able to store OS/400 application source code alongside source code for other platforms, which will bring a wealth of new reporting capabilities and help keep the auditors happy.

There's no shortage of new stuff in Implementer 2006. According to MKS--a company that makes a living out of tracking programming changes--the new release sports more than 250 enhancements and fixes, including better integration with other MKS products, new impact analysis tools, better error correction, improvements to documentation, and support for the latest third-party development tools, including IBM's WDSc Lite.

Implementer 2006 has a lot of "good core stuff for customers. We have an increasingly strong bias to keep the existing customer base happy," says Marty Acks, a product manager with MKS. "We haven't done everything everybody would like to have, but we've done a lot of cool stuff in this release."

The coolest new capability in Implementer 2006 is the unification of source repositories with MKS Source (previously called Source Integrity), the company's source code management tool for Windows, Unix, and Linux platforms. With Implementer 2006, users are given the choice of storing source code in OS/400 source files residing on the iSeries machine, or by keeping it on MKS Source running on a Windows machine, or on the IXS portion of the iSeries.

One of the benefits of having a single repository for all source code is the reporting, Acks says. Users can "do all kind of fancy analyses that tells you how each line of source has changed over time and see why that change was made," he says. New tree views available to Implementer 2006 users shows how changes are merged, "so you have much better visual idea of what's going on with the source code," he says.

The unification of source code repositories boosts MKS' cross-platform capabilities. While other vendors offer this too, what's different about the MKS offering is that the company built all of its own tools instead of acquiring or partnering to build out from an iSeries starting point, Acks says. "It's a single architecture, all built organically," he says. "Not that we can do everything yesterday. But we control our own destiny."

The unification of source code repositories also gives Implementer users better access to MKS Integrity, the new name given to what used to be the Integrity Manager process and workflow and project management product. Implementer 2006 will also be able to take advantage of the new MKS Portfolios' capabilities in the new release of MKS Integrity.

According to MKS CEO Philip Deck, MKS Portfolios provides a "holistic management framework providing visibility and measurement ability" across all supported applications. "Visibility is not bolted on as an after-thought and application development investments and activities are monitored in real time without filters, time delays, or bias," Deck states in a press release.

Implementer 2006 brings improvements to the interface, too. With this release, developers who use traditional host development tools, such as PDM instead of WDSc, can take advantage of Implementer functions previously offered only through the GUI screen by launching them directly from a 5250 session.

Auditing has also been improved with a new verification feature that detects violations of change control procedures and the introduction of backdoor changes into applications. Many other panels and reports have been enhanced to provide more detailed information of interest during the audit process, the company says.

Integration with third-party tools has also been bolstered in Implementer 2006. These including two fourth-generation-language development environments--LANSA version 11 and CA's AllFusion 2E--Oracle's World application suite, and Hawkeye Information Systems' Pathfinder.

For a full list of what's new with Implementer 2006, check out this PDF on MKS' Web site: www.mks.com/downloads/im2006_whatsnew.pdf.

MKS is currently planning to announce general availability of Implementer 2006 and Integrity 2006 on June 26, although this date is not set in stone. Pricing for Implementer 2006 will start at about $10,000. For more information, visit www.mks.com.

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Editor: Alex Woodie
Contributing Editors: Dan Burger, Joe Hertvik,
Shannon O'Donnell, Timothy Prickett Morgan
Publisher and Advertising Director: Jenny Thomas
Advertising Sales Representative: Kim Reed
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