Rational ships Apex 3.0

Rational Software Corp., a provider of application development tools for Unix environments, last week began shipping Rational Apex 3.0, the latest version of its Ada-based programming language environment.

Company officials said Rational Apex 3.0 provides an integrated, team-oriented programming environment for developing software applications.

Pamela Roussos, vice president of marketing for Rational, said the new release includes several integrated features that were not available in previous releases, including support for the new Ada 95 standard.

Roussos said Rational Apex 3.0 is based on the Ada programming language, which at one time was mandated by the federal government because of its stability. She said applications were written using Ada in the past, but Apex provides a cross-platform framework that supports developers who use the C++ programming language.

Rational also has integrated various testing, performance analysis and code analysis tools into a single package for application developers. Included in this integrated solution is TestMate 3.0, which automates the creation, management, execution and evaluation of software tests. Other integrated tools include Purify Apex for runtime error detection, PureCoverage Apex for code analysis and Quantify Apex for performance analysis.

The integration of these tools into one package enables developers to identify and fix errors in an application early in the development process and streamlines the creation and testing of Unix applications.

"With our competitors' solutions, all you're getting is a compiler," Roussos said. "However, you're not getting an integrated debugger and tester."

Dick Heiman, research manager at International Data Corp., said recent corporate acquisitions by Rational have given the company the capability to offer a complete package. "The whole idea behind Rational's recent acquisitions has been to become a one-stop-shopping place," Heiman said. "The tools they've integrated into Apex have a very good reputation in the Unix world."

To date, Rational's federal customers have included the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Postal Service, the Energy Department and various Defense and intelligence agencies, Roussos said. USPS, for example, is using Rational's testing tools to test all its applications for Year 2000 compliance, she said.

"There also are a lot of black programs [in the Defense and intelligence communities] that are using the product, but we cannot talk about [them]," she added.

The IRS is using Rational's ClearCase tool, one of the first cross-platform software configuration management solutions specifically aimed at the team-based software development cycle, Roussos said. In addition, DOE is using Apex to build a system at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory that will serve as a component of a project to generate power on the scale of nuclear power but without having to use nuclear materials.

In addition to its growing list of federal customers, many of the major systems integrators and manufacturers that serve the government are using Rational products, Roussos said. TRW Inc. and Lockheed Martin Corp., for example, use Rational application development and management tools to build military command and control applications, she said.

All of Rational's products run on Unix and Microsoft Corp. Windows NT operating systems. The Purify Apex, Quantify Apex and PureCoverage Apex tools are available in bundled quantities for a list price of $14,398. Apex 3.0 for Sun Microsystems Inc.'s SPARC Solaris, Hewlett-Packard Co.'s HP-UX, Digital Equipment Corp.'s Digital Unix and IBM Corp.'s AIX environments is priced at $22,000.

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