For those lonely QA stalwarts who have long argued that testing should begin long before code is versioned, Borland’s latest acquisition may be your answer. In a deal closed last month and announced at the EclipseCon conference yesterday, Borland Software Corp has acquired Gauntlet Systems.
Gauntlet, a four-person startup comprised of ex-BEA engineers, has gotten to the point of demonstrating a prototype product providing a sandbox into which you dump code before it enters the version or source code control system.
The idea is to nip QA problems in the bud before they proliferate in code that is shared by the rest of the development team. The context is that traditionally, most software development organizations figuratively throw untested code over the wall to QA once a build has been assembled.
Admittedly, while developers are usually responsible for debugging and unit testing their own creations, most of the tests happen after code is developed and enters the version control system.
And even if all that debugging is done beforehand, there are still higher-level regression, integration, performance, validation, and other tests or evaluations that must be made before code should be assembled into a build or release candidate.
Over the years, there have been numerous approaches and methodologies to advance the idea that software should be designed with quality in mind, rather than as an afterthought.
Ideas range from incorporating QA gates as early as the modeling and architecture process to identify potential weak spots in software to agile or extreme programming approaches where code is developed in such bite size snippets that testing is almost concurrent with development.
Instead Gauntlet’s system is to simply add another gate in the development process without blowing it up or reengineering it.
Currently, the Gauntlet product, which is still at demo stage, is designed to run atop Subversion, the popular open source version control system, and supports running other open spruce test regimens including JUnit (for Java unit testing) and Emma, for test coverage. On Gauntlet’s website, soon to be absorbed by Borland, promises have been made to support test reporting formats such as FindBugs and JMetric.
Each of the four founders, including Sam Pullara, CEO, came from the WebLogic product at BEA. Given that the company had not yet even advanced to the stage of forming a sales and marketing operation, it’s not surprising that all four have already joined Borland.
Gauntlet’s test sandbox is not the only trick up its sleeve. The company has also developed some reporting and analytic capabilities that examine test trends.
According to Rob Cheng, Borland director of developer solutions, this analytic capability could cross-fertilize many other of Borland’s ALM (application life cycle management) offerings.
Conversely, Borland assets, such as tests from Segue or OptimizeIT, could be inserted into the Gauntlet offering. Given that the ink has only just dried on the acquisition, Borland has yet to announce a product roadmap.