ARCAD Goes Unicode with ALM, Looks to Asia for Growth
December 11, 2012 Alex Woodie
ARCAD Software has achieved Unicode compliance with version 9 of its application lifecycle management (ALM) tools, thereby enabling the French company to address new markets for its IBM i software, particularly China and Japan. ARCAD says the new version is a major milestone for the product, and provides a foundation on which to build new capabilities in the future.
Achieving Unicode compliance with ARCAD’s entire suite is a major milestone for the company, ARCAD CEO Philippe Magne tells IT Jungle. The effort took two years, and required changing 75 percent of the code that underlies the IBM i change management suite, which includes 11 separate modules and the metadata repository that lies at the heart of the suite. ARCAD used its own IBM i re-factoring product, called Transformer, to make the modifications.
Unicode compliance is important because it enables ARCAD’s software to function using double byte character set (DBCS) languages, most notably Chinese and Japanese. These markets are growing, and have the capability to boost ARCAD’s revenues. Magne says some of his French counterparts who set up shop in Asia have seen the new market quickly account for up to 25 percent of total revenues.
Magne is in the process of forming partnerships with resellers in Japan and China who will carry his product. “I hope to be there in the beginning of January,” Magne says. “Japan looks really promising . . . China, too. It’s one of the last countries where there are new customers coming in on the IBM i, especially in the middle market of the banking sector. So, yes, I would say it’s quite strong and promising for ARCAD.”
Version 9 also brings enhancements to other parts of the suite, including simplifying various commands and processes. The changes basically remove some of the limitations that previously existed in the product and set the stage for new functionality to be delivered in the future, Magne says.
For example, ARCAD’s version status management process has been enhanced to provide more control and more fine-tuned release management. The suite’s source/object tracking capability has also been enhanced to enable a user to see the status of a component across all related applications, which will be of particular value to users who routinely modify several separate versions of their code, Arcad says.
Version 9 enables organizations to use several versions of the ARCAD suite simultaneously, and to use several languages at the same time, which will benefit large organizations with operations around the globe. “This is the most important version we have released to date,” ARCAD chief technical officer Michel Mouchon states in a press release. “ARCAD Version 9 is the new evolution that not only opens us up to the rest of the world, but it also provides concrete solutions for our clients’ current and future needs.”
This release also gives LANSA customers the capability to manage the software deployment process for multiple platforms with a single process. In other words, LANSA developers can simultaneously perform updates to their IBM i and Windows applications with a single task in ARCAD.
Supporting CASE tools such as LANSA is important for ARCAD, Magne says, because the CASE tools are not supported out-of-the-box by IBM‘s Rational Team Concert. ARCAD wants to play a supporting role to RTC, the IBM change management product, and fill in the gaps that are not supported by RTC, such as support for LANSA. “The problem with RTC is that it’s a major break in terms of technology,” Magne says. “You cannot any more use the 5250 tool in that code. And of course there are the customers that are using CASE tools that are not really [supported] in RTC.”
The entire ARCAD suite was updated with version 9. This includes: the core metadata repository; change management and version control for IBM i and open systems environments (Skipper); customer request tracking (Customer); build management (Builder); deployment and release management (Deliver); data extraction (Extract); regression testing (Verifier); cross-referencing (Observer); bulk data transformation (Transform); data configuration management (Datachanger); and impact analysis and auditing (Audit).
ARCAD sells its software in packages, such as the ARCAD Rational Power Pack. This offering includes Audit, Observer, Builder, and Deliver, and is aimed at customers who use RTC for core change management functionality, but want the additional capability provided by ARCAD. The company is in the process of putting together a new pack by Christmas, Magne says.
For more information, see the company’s website at www.arcadsoftware.com.