Customer Rating: 5 of 5 (1 total reviews)
- Complete and process-oriented development suite
This is an ideal development environment for start-ups and small organizations that want to cost-effectively implement an entire development environment for Java development and web services. There are a few issues and factors that need to be considered, however, when considering Webgain Studio:
(1) If you are not planning to align the many tools (more about them below) to a software engineering process, you'll probably not benefit from this package. This is because the components that ship with it are designed to work together as a process-oriented environment.
(2) Some of the components come with single-seat licenses, and the database that ships with it (PointBase) is only licensed for internal use (you have to negotiate separate licenses with PointBase if you want to use it with your product, either for internal end users or external customers.
(3) The learning curve is steep because this is really a bundle of tools, many of which come from other vendors.
This bundle includes:
(1) Visual Cafe (enterprise edition), which is a J2EE-compliant development environment that supports JSP, EJB and servlet development for multi-platform targets. It also has integrated UML modeling, JSP debugging and code optimizers. It also comes bundled with TurboXML and Dreamweaver Ultradev, rounding out the development environment with all of the major tools for developing web services and large-scale applications.
(2) StructureBuilder, which allows you to model and generate code using UML. It is very tightly integrated into the Visual Cafe suite.
(3) Business Designer. This is one of the best features of the Webgain Studio bundle and the one that requires a mature software engineering process in order to realize the full benefits from the bundle. The main purpose is to manage requirements and team collaboration. See the product page for Business Designer 2.0 for a more complete review.
(4) Quality Analyzer. This is a software auditing and quality assurance tool that collects and analyzes life cycle metrics. It is NOT an automated test suite, so you are going to need to add those tools to your environment (i.e., WInRunner, etc.). It will do whitebox testing to examine code coverage and has over 50 pre-defined rules for error checking.
(5) Bea WebLogic, which has become a standard J2EE execution platform. While the version that ships with this bundle almost self installs, it comes with a steep learning curve. You also get only a single developer seat license. On the value side of the equation, though, if your development plans include WebLogic this feature alone will save you a substantial amount if you invest in Webgain Studio.
Overall, this bundle puts a full-scale, process-oriented development environment within the reach of small companies that are budget constrained. In many ways it compares favorably to IBM's WebSphere and the Rational suite of tools, and certainly gives developers everything they need to be productive. What I like is the fact that Webgain has not just thrown together a collection of tools, many of which are from third parties, but has paid close attention to integrating them. In that respect the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. It supports the Rational Unified Process and other iterative development life cycle approaches, and also provides the tools to support CMM Level 2 key process areas. These reflect how well Webgain thought through the workflow integration as well as the technical integration of the tools.
What I have not thoroughly investigated is the level of support that Webgain provides for the entire package, and that needs to be factored into your purchasing decision.