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Taking The Hard Work Out Of Software

July 29, 2009

Developing software is a complicated and laborious process. A new European platform automates much of the tricky building and testing phases of programming.

Computer software has come a long way. The first-ever “Ëœcomputer program’ was a very short one written by Ada Lovelace in 1842-3 to calculate Bernoulli numbers. In the early days, programming was more often than not an individual effort carried out by enthusiasts.

Today, software development is so complex and sophisticated that entire teams work for years to develop a program. Building, testing and releasing software consumes an ever-growing amount of time and resources. According to one EU-funded project, the answer lies in the automation of these processes.

The ETICS project is taking a giant leap towards automation. “By automating many of their day-to-day tasks, the ETICS system supports software managers, developers and testers in obtaining higher quality software,” notes Alberto Di Meglio of CERN, the European organization for nuclear research, who is managing the project. This means new software can reach the market faster and cost less in development.

No manual needed

This all-in-one solution allows software developers, managers and users to automate as much as possible the way their software is built and the way their tests are executed. This out-of-the-box system employs the latest in “grid” software and distributed computing infrastructure and can operate on multiple platforms. It is also open source, so it can easily be customized and further developed.

The system’s client interface is designed to be simple to install. Not only can results from round-the-clock “builds” and tests be monitored via the web, the configuration metadata of the software being developed can be browsed and edited via a secured web application.

The ETICS platform has been developed in two phases (ETICS and ETICS 2) over three years and continuously refined in collaboration with users.

New functions are also being developed for ETICS 2 that will enable software developers to design and run complex tests over distributed networks ““ a rarity even in high-end commercial test and management applications.

The ETICS 2 team is now working together with users to enhance ETICS’ interoperability testing features.

ETICS is supported by the EU’s Seventh Framework Program for research.

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