Voice enablement, apps testing boosted

SAN FRANCISCO (11/21/2003) - IBM Corp., Scapa Technologies, and Friendware Inc.'s ImmuniCode are undertaking varying efforts to boost software development tools, ranging from improving voice capabilities to accommodating the Eclipse Hyades Project.

IBM on its alphaWorks site is previewing technologies to be added to its Voice Toolkit that are intended to narrow the gap between a call center's business and technology needs. IBM's Voice Toolkit Preview is a toolkit for improving voice application development by using graphical call-flow and Natural Language Understanding (NLU) tools.

The preview provides Call Flow Builder for graphically building VoiceXML files, a CCXML (Call Control XML) editor for building and maintaining CCXML documents, and a set of tools that assist in editing data required for building NLU models.

Call Flow Builder is a drag-and-drop tool intended to enable non-IT staff, such as business analysts, to build a self-service, speech-enabled application's front end interface, and dialogue prior to the voice developer becoming involved, according to IBM. Business analysts and call center managers can designate initial call flows for self-service applications, said Brian Garr, IBM Pervasive Manager of Speech Technology.

The preview also features an integrated development environment using IBM WebSphere Studio 5.1. The preview kit is available for free download by IBM customers and partners at http://www.ibm.com/alphaworks.

Scapa Technologies is releasing a commercial http load-testing tool based on the Eclipse Hyades Project. Hyades is an integrated test, trace, and monitoring environment founded upon the Eclipse open source tools initiative.

The tool, Scapa StressTest-Express, analyzes scalability, reliability and performance of Web applications, according to Scapa. It is intended to ensure a low-risk approach to building dynamic Web sites and establishing e-business systems, the company said.

StressTest-Express simulates user activity and behavior to ensure the performance of Web applications before deployment. It also provides ongoing monitoring.

"[The tool is] going to pretend to be 1,000 users [accessing] the Web site simultaneously so you can watch [the site] fall over," or crash, said Michael Norman, CEO of Scapa Technology.

While featuring integration with the IBM WebSphere Application Server and the WebSphere Studio toolset, StressTest-Express can function with any Java application server, Scapa said. The product is slated to be available Dec. 8 for US$1,750 per Web developer via electronic download at http://www.programmersparadise.com.

ImmuniCode this week introduced Live Gantt, a tool that links Microsoft Project to code developed in Visual Studio .Net to allow managers to monitor software development for schedule and requirement compliance. By involving managers in the development process, the product enables managers to more easily supervise projects both in-house and overseas, ImmuniCode said.

Living Gantt provides increased visibility into the development process for managers. Combined with Project's reporting and analysis tools, Living Gantt provides information on status of code.

Living Gantt is based on patented technology the company developed for empowering computers to debug and help program themselves. The technology automatically rebuilds software to reduce human error and increasing resistance to bugs.

The company is in the process of implementing the technology in a product suite called Lasso for use with Microsoft management tools. In addition to Living Gantt, Lasso also is to feature AutoDebug to point developers to code errors and suggest possible solutions, and MicroVersion, which records working code for recovery. MicroVersion also would implement regression testing to test altered code to avoid error contamination. AutoDebug and MicroVersion are working names for these products at this time.

ImmuniCode currently is seeking contact information for parties interested in a 30-day free trial program for Living Gantt. The company can be contacted at info@immunicode.com.

While initially supporting Microsoft development, ImmuniCode also eventually plans to support Java development as well.

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