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Borland Launches TeamDefine For Simulating Apps

The company is in the process of being acquired by Micro Focus International for $75 million.

Borland this week said it's launching a tool for application development, Team Define, that lets business analysts simulate the look and feel of an application without writing code.

If the simulation meets with the target users' approval, then the simulation becomes part of the application's requirements and developers follow its model. Requirements definition remains one of the trickiest parts of application development. Business users tell a systems analyst what it is they want, but once they see what's been developed, they're dismayed. "That wasn't what I meant at all" is an all-too-frequent reaction.

Most of the problem lies in the translation that needs to occur between the text of requirements definition and the code of actual application construction, research into the process has shown.

"We decided to unlock the black box of application development," said David Wilby, senior VP of products. By making proposed requirements visible as a simulated application, systems analysts and developers get a new tool for keeping development on track.

Borland was founded in 1983 under Philippe Kahn with the advent of the PC revolution. It produced a long line of software development tools, such as TurboPascal and Delphi, before moving into the field of application life-cycle management over the last three years. It's in the process of being acquired by Micro Focus International for $75 million at the end of June or the beginning of the third quarter. It continues to enhance its application life-cycle management product line, Wilby said.

TeamDefine provides a browser-based environment in which a developer can drag and drop screen elements to assemble the user page views of an application to be viewed on a server. Connections can be made to sample data that allow the simulation to appear closer to a real application, Wilby explained.

The workflow of the application can be represented in TeamDefine and logic diagrams drawn of processes or interactions with the user interface.

Once created, business users can view the simulation through their own browser windows, speeding collection of user feedback. "This product is completely browser-based. There's no limit on reviewer seats," said Wilby. By reviewer, he included business users who wish to view the simulated application.

TeamDefine works by itself or as an optional addition to Borland's CaliberRM requirements management tool. A bidirectional link can be established with CaliberRM for delivery of formal, textual requirements to TeamDefine for use in a simulation. Likewise, CaliberRM requirements can be modified with feedback from TeamDefine.

TeamDefine is available immediately and priced at $3,000 for the systems analyst version that generates a simulated application. Simulations run in a prospective user's browser window with no additional client software. There's no fee associated with user reviews.

TeamDefine is also an addition to Borland's ALM product line, which includes TeamDemand, TeamFocus, TeamInspector, and TeamAnalytics.

InformationWeek Analytics has published an independent analysis on increasing application performance. Download the report here (registration required).

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