Software Quality in the
City by the Bay"> Quality software is not to be taken for granted in the city by the bay. While San Francisco and the "bay area" have long been associated with the software business, Im talking about a city near another bay: the Chesapeake Bay. Im talking about Baltimore, the place I call home. There are a few software companies in the Baltimore area that are turning out quality software and that focus on helping developers enhance the quality of the software they create. Tops among these companies are AVIcode Inc., Codign Software LLC and Artifact Software Inc.AVIcodes products are designed to protect software investments by simplifying maintenance and troubleshooting, thereby reducing defect resolution time. The companys flagship product is Intercept Studio, which detects crashes, critical exceptions (both handled and unhandled) and performance degradations in production applications. These runtime event details and associated root cause information are collected immediately and presented to the people responsible for the health and management of production applications. I once referred to AVIcode as Microsofts "secret weapon" in the software giants push toward more autonomic computing as part of its Dynamic Systems Initiative. The Dynamic Systems Initiative is a commitment from Microsoft and its partners to help IT teams capture and use knowledge to design more manageable systems and automate ongoing operations. AVIcode is helping with that effort by delivering tools that benefit both developers and IT staff. The "AVI" in the companys name stands for Alex and Victor, the companys co-foundersAlexandre Zakonov, now chief architect, and Victor Mushkatin, chief technology officer. And AVIcode stands for Alex and Victors code. Mike Curreri, the president and CEO of AVIcode, is a Baltimore native, and, like me, an aficionado of the Maryland blue crab. Curreri also is quite familiar with the Chesapeake Bay, particularly one of its estuaries: the Severn River. Curreri graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy, which sits upon the banks of the Severn in Annapolis. After Annapolis, Curreri graduated from law school, did a stint as a prosecutor and as a litigator with a national firm. Now hes traded in his dress whites and pinstripes for the business casual attire of the software industry. Curreris built AVIcode into a formidable software provider, which services a variety of customers including Intel, CSC, McGraw Hill, Sylvan Learning, JPMorgan Chase, T-Mobile, Rite Aid, MSNBC and the University of Oregon, to name a sampling. Peter Campbell, Information Systems Coordinator, Office of the Dean, College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Oregon, said: "Before Intercept Studio, the users just had to live with the bugs." Curreri is a true homeboy and I hope to crack crabs with him again real soon. Click here to read more about agile software development. Meanwhile, Joe Ponczaks Codign Software, also focuses on helping developers eliminate buggy software. Ponczak, a graduate of the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), is co-founder of Codign, said the focus of the company is on software testing, and the overall premise behind the Codign products is to help developers design their code to be testable. The name Codign is a play on the term "code design," Ponczak said, adding that he is not offended if people view it as a misspelling of the word "coding" because it means he has their attention. Essentially, Codigns toolsCoViewDeveloper and CoViewManagerprovide quality metrics for the developer. And from the metrics developers can create unit tests, he said. Finding defects in the development stage of the software lifecycle increases quality and reduces the cost of maintenance efforts, he added. "Our unit test product [CoView] goes through and shows you all the paths and well create about 70 percent of the test cases, and the developer will have to do the rest," Ponczak said. "Its very much of a developer buddy; we dont try to automate everything. I never believe in an easy button when it comes to unit testing or coding." Ponczak and his co-founder (now CTO) in forming Codign, John Miller, launched the company in 2004. They set out to form a company with a simple pricing model and have standardized on Eclipseoffering their solutions as Eclipse plug-ins. The flagship product is $99 a year "and we give it away to open source developers [committers] and to universities," he said. CoViewDeveloper helps Java developers build better JUnit tests through its wizards and code analysis by focusing on the codes data and logic flow and reporting path coverage. CoViewManager collects and reports on numerous metrics including cyclomatic complexity, branch coverage and the number of contributing tests. CoViewDeveloper is $99 a year per user and CoViewManager is $199 a year per user. Page 2: Software Quality in the City by the Bay
AVIcode, based in Baltimore, is a leading provider of application monitoring solutions for the Microsoft .Net Framework.