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ASP Tools for Software Development

Once upon a time, when computers were so expensive that not all companies could afford them, most of the processing was performed by specialized firms that rented computer time and services. Some of these organizations have a long history of providing such services; for instance, ADP. The development of Internet and Web-based applications has offered these firms a new infrastructure to offer their services. These companies are known as Applications Services Providers (ASPs). ASPs provide mainly software applications for the basic business functions of a company: human resources, accounting or customer relations, but there are also some organizations targeting the software development domain.

Author Info:
By: Franco Martinig
Rating: 5 stars5 stars5 stars5 stars5 stars / 42
May 04, 2004
  1. · ASP Tools for Software Development
  2. · The Current Market Trend
  3. · Working with an ASP
  4. · What can you get?
  5. · Conclusion

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ASP Tools for Software Development - What can you get?
(Page 4 of 5 )

You will find on Internet four major areas where web-hosted software development tools are available:

  • Bug and defect tracking
  • Project management/collaboration
  • Performance/monitoring/testing/checking of web applications
  • Source hosting/configuration management

Bug and defect tracking

Bug and defect tracking is one of the main areas for software development tools ASP. This can be explained by the development of many web-based tools in this area in recent years. External hosting of these tools was a natural extension for the development companies. This is also a function closely related to customer care (CRM) applications and external (Web) access could be part of the requirements. There is also a tendency to have multiple teams working on the same project, either to minimize costs or to find external competencies. Finally, the open source movement has completely integrated these activities, the main tool being provided by Bugzilla.org.

Available services:

  • Track components and versions, incidents, bugs or issues
  • Configurable workflow-based, alternate, multiple, and client approval policies
  • Time-based escalation of defect priority
  • Automatic defect assignment routing
  • User-defined entry forms, fields, alerts, and notifications
  • Configurable email notification schemes
  • Attach files, notes, documents, and links to items
  • Defect change history and audit trail

Project management and collaboration

Collaboration is a main issue of distributed teams since the Lotus Notes era of specific collaboration software. The widespread diffusion of the Internet has changed the vision of the market, but the need remains the same. Many ASPs offer services related to distributed software project management.

Available services:

  • Planning: Gantt, WBS Charts, critical path analysis
  • Calendars
  • Tasks
  • Issue management
  • Risk management
  • Resource management
  • Time, billing, cost and rate management
  • Discussions forum management
  • Files and document management
  • Security
  • MS Project integration
  • Office software integration
  • Email notifications and alerts
  • Project dashboard reports
  • Project analysis

Testing Web Applications

If you develop a web-based application, it is not always easy to test your website internally. There are so many web standards and particularities (different browsers for instance) that it can be helpful to be assisted by dedicated external test teams or software. After production release, external monitoring can help to monitor how a possible customer in Berlin can access your website in LA as the database gets loaded with data.

Available services:

  • Download and verify pages
  • Error diagnostics
  • Performance tracking
  • Screenshots of errors
  • Contact escalation levels
  • Unlimited mobile alerts
  • Interactive reports
  • Performance of Web transactions
  • Transaction availability
  • Changes in Web site content
  • Secure page performance
  • Redirection sequences
  • CGI queries
  • Authentication

Source hosting and configuration management

This is a strange area of the web-hosted software tools market. This kind of application is now widely adopted by all open source projects, but the market for commercial projects seems more underground and it could be difficult to find suppliers in this area. There is still reticence from companies about letting intellectual property like software code in the hands of third party. Some providers in this area are simply providing a hosted version and support of the open source CVS tool (http://www.cvshome.org/)

Available services:

  • Importing and exporting files
  • Merging of concurrent modifications on same files with conflict warnings
  • Versioning
  • User management

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