Wow, two software development related posts in a week. I must be getting back into engineer mode again.

I stopped in for the Tulsa Developers User Group meeting tonight to meet some fellow engineers and check it out. Once I arrived, I saw a couple of folks who I’ve worked with previously (JT and PR) along with a bunch of unfamiliar faces. So I grabbed a couple slices, filled out an evaluation and sat back and enjoyed a presentation by CompuWare.

At this point, I see the fear. Since they’ve bought the NuMega products I’ve grown to hate the entire line. SoftICE was an excellent tool in the early 90’s for driver development and low-level networking code. And BoundsChecker was great for finding those really bad memory bugs before we could get the information directly from the OS (IMallocSpy) and the run-time library (ctrdbg.h). So what’s the point using these early tools that eventually got so bad that merely installing them required a Windows XP re-install MULTIPLE times?

Well, I can’t say I walked away ready to write a check. While the tools seem to be well thought out, I’m not convinced that the quality and stability are there. It sounds like the performance certainly isn’t great since a rather small set of projects took over 6 minutes to generate a report. I realize you can turn a few things off and machines only get faster, so I’ll eliminate that as a deciding factor. But I wasn’t really woo’d like I’ve been with other things lately. I’d really have to see it work in the process, and the cost of admission (over $6k) is a bit too high for a proof-of-concept. Plus these tools have had limited success in the system testing phase due to the high volumes needed to cause some of these errors. In those situations, verbose logging has typically been the best way to identify bottlenecks and logic problems.

But aside from my thoughts, the presentation was great and they gave away a free copy of DevStudio Partner to one lucky attendee. There were also a number of other giveaways for several folks.

I enjoyed the meeting, and will likely plan to attend them on a monthly basis. The next one is on Continuous Integration (July 31st), which I’ve recently been made aware of and have a keen interest in seeing how we can make it happen at work as the benefits are huge from a quality point of view. See you next month!