Compuware Says Microsoft Partnership Paying Off

Compuware says Microsoft's move to broaden its coverage of the app development life cycle only complements the companies' partnership-and that the market holds plenty of opportunities for growth.

As Microsoft moves to broadly cover the application development life cycle by adding testing, profiling and design tools to its environment, Compuware says its partnership with the software giant has paid off so far—and that it should continue to do so as new opportunities arise in the market.

"Compuware as a company has addressed the area of the development life cycle for some time," said Rob Straight, product manager for DevPartner products at Compuware in Nashua, N.H. He said the company offers platform-independent tools that complement the Microsoft environment.

When Microsoft Corp. announced its VSTS (Visual Studio Team System) technology at its TechEd 2004 conference at the end of May, the company said it would spawn its own ecosystem.

/zimages/4/28571.gifClick here to read about another partnership spawned by VSTS.

Microsoft is attempting to cover the application development life cycle more extensively by introducing testing, profiling and design tools, but Detroit-based Compuware says that not only can the market bear the competition, but that there are new opportunities to explore as well.

Theresa Lanowitz, an analyst with Gartner Inc., of Stamford, Conn., said the ecosystem is a big deal for Microsoft. With VSTS, Microsoft "is legitimizing the whole concept of the application development lifecycle" and making a strong play compared with IBM Corp. with its Rational division and Borland.

"In terms of IBM and Borland with respect to this announcement, … IBM should have been telling this story as soon as the Rational acquisition was closed," Lanowitz said. "IBM has not used the Rational acquisition to its benefit to tell the whole application lifecycle story. Borland does not have the attention of the CIO and still messages at a very developer-centric level. This is very 90s.

"Borland has not done anything to move themselves higher in the enterprise. Nor have they done anything to really take advantage of the acquisitions they made a couple of years ago. Borland still thinks in coding-centric terms," Lanowitz said.

Borland said it will support VSTS, particularly with its CaliberRM requirements management tool.

Lax Sakalkale, senior product line manager for development tools at Borland, told eWEEK that Borland will continue to support the Microsoft platform and be the "Switzerland of the tools area." Although, at JavaOne recently, Borland announced several moves to further support Java, including joining the Java Tools Community.

Meanwhile, Gartners Lanowitz said she believes that Compuware stands to make some gains as a supporter of Microsofts VSTS ecosystem.

Compuwares Straight said, "Its not surprising that as certain features become more well known they become commodities, like profiling, and Microsoft jumped on the bandwagon with Visual Studio Team System. But Compuware will continue to innovate."

Straight said Compuware will focus on areas where Microsoft is not, like with the companys bounds-checking and error-prevention software. He also said Compuware will evolve its profiling products to not only find problems in code, but also to identify, based on the type of application being developed, what parts of the code need to be changed to benefit performance. He said the company also would continue to evolve its testing and quality assurance tools, since Microsoft is still a year off with VSTS.

"Compuware is platform-neutral and product-deep," said Lanowitz. "They can complement Microsofts product line where necessary."

Both Straight and his colleague Peter Varhol, also a Compuware DevPartner Product Manager in Nashua, said that Microsoft has been a good technology partner to Compuware. "On a technical level we always had a close alliance," Varhol said. "The new Whidbey platform is part of that. I view the relationship as a very strong and very positive one."

On future directions for Compuwares tools, Straight said the company is aiming its profiling and other tools to include features that "assist developers in moving from having too many page faults to what you need to do about it."

Straight also said "Microsoft will have a performance profiler, but well have new capability to analyze the information you collect."

Compuware also is looking to beef up its security story by adding features that help developers write more secure applications. "We are shooting for developer-oriented capabilities to allow them to better understand the code," Straight said.

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