Arcad Adds Dashboard GUI to Lifecycle Management Suite
December 13, 2005 Alex Woodie
One of the companies hoping to capture some of the forecasted increase in SOX solution spending next year is Arcad Software, a French developer of application lifecycle management (ALM) utilities for OS/400 applications. The company recently unveiled a new release of its integrated suite of tools, including a new graphical dashboard aimed at helping programmers and managers quickly determine the status of code remediation projects, new cross-reference capabilities, and improvements to its regression-testing tool.
The goal of Arcad and its products is to help development shops implement controls for their source code and programming projects. The company does this through a collection of four product suites, including Skipper for change management and version control, Observer for cross reference and impact analysis, Qualifier for application testing, and an OS/400 help desk application called Customer. While Arcad’s focus is on the OS/400 server, some of its products support other operating systems like Unix and Windows.
Underlying each of these four products is a common data store that Arcad calls its Open Repository. It is in the Open Repository where Arcad added its new Dashboard module. The Dashboard module is a GUI that enables programmers and managers to quickly check the status of projects. It includes indicators and graphs for programming metrics, such as code volume, the complexity rate of the code (rated on the McCabe cyclomatic index; click here for more details on this metric), and the comment and modification rate. Other indicators on the Dashboard tell users the average time to resolution of incidents and maintenance workloads of programmers. Trend analyses can also be generated with this new module.
Also gaining new capabilities is Skipper, a collection of ALM tools including Changer for change management control, Integrator for tracking how code modifications to third-party products affect users, Deliver for software distribution and installation, and a mass code conversion tool, which Arcad previously sold in a separate suite called Transformer, and which contained the Auto Impacter and Auto Converter tools (these now appear as part of the Skipper suite).
One of the ways that Arcad’s customers consume Skipper is through a plug-in for IBM‘s WebSphere Development Studio Client (WDSc) development environment. With version 8.04, Arcad says it has boosted the cross-reference capability of Skipper as a WDSc-plug in, and enabled users to retrieve job completion messages and view spool files with the plug-in.
The new release of Skipper also includes improvements to the Integrator component. With this release, users can make sure that the parameters between two programs or ILE procedures are consistent in terms of number, length, or type of parameters, the company says. “This way, you can avoid the classic error messages that slow down your testing unnecessarily,” the company says. “The productivity gains are major, as parameter mismatches are one of the most common causes of error.”
Arcad has also improved its regression testing tool, called Verifier, which it added to its Qualifier suite two and a half years ago (see “Arcad Announces OS/400 Test Tool, Establishes East Coast Office”). With version 8.04 of the suite, Arcad has improved the scenario maintenance portion of Verifier and made it easier to adapt the tool when changes are made to underlying fields.
The final improvements has to do with Observer, a collection of three tools aimed at helping users understand how their applications work, including Miner for describing the internal architecture of an application, Documenter for generating technical documentation of an application, and Source Code Analyzer for creating graphical flowcharts of application logic. Arcad has made some changes to Source Code Analyzer to fix some performance problems customers were experiencing in high-volume programs, the company says.
Arcad Software is headquartered in Annecy, France–located in the foothills of the French Alps in the southeastern end of the country–and also maintains offices in Paris and Nashua, New Hampshire, its North American headquarters. The company has about 250 customers around the world, including about 20 in the U.S., up slightly from two years ago.
Much of Arcad’s recent growth can be attributed to new laws that mandate companies implement certain processes in their IT environments, such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in the U.S. and Basel II in Europe, according to company’s chief executive officer, Phillipe Magne.
2006 is looking to be even better in that regard.
According to a recent study by AMR Research, American companies are going to increase their spending on SOX technology and solutions by 13 percent in 2006. While the total SOX-related spending for 2006 will remain at $6 billion–the same amount that was slated to be spent this year–companies are shifting their spending away from personnel and toward technology following a run-up in SOX-related hiring during the first years of SOX remediation.