CAST's e-Analyzer puts Web sites under microscope

CAST Software Inc., a developer of tools that provide IT managers with a graphical view of database systems, is taking aim at the Web.

CAST Software Inc., a developer of tools that provide IT managers with a graphical view of database systems, is taking aim at the Web.

The San Francisco company plans to announce later this month e-Analyzer, a product that extends the functionality of its flagship Workbench to Internet applications.

The software uses language parsers to examine and display dependency trees across multiple tiers, providing a panoramic, drillable view of objects in an information system, CAST officials said. The result, they added, is reduced development and maintenance time.

With e-Analyzer, an IT organization is able to examine a complex Web site for improvements and assess the impact that a change may have on interdependent systems, CAST officials said.

That's particularly important for e-commerce sites that grew quickly, cobbling together disparate legacy inventory and distribution systems in a "Webified" environment, they said.

How it works

"The complexity of today's Internet applications can rival that of any client/server environment," said Olivier Bonsignour, vice president of marketing at CAST. "We've taken our core competencies in mapping and analysis and applied it ... to the e-business world.''

e-Analyzer provides code analysis for Visual Basic, Visual Basic Script and COM (Component Object Model) for Microsoft Corp.'s Internet Information Server, JavaScript for Netscape Communications Corp.'s Web server and PHP for the Apache Web server.

It also supports HTML and Allaire Corp.'s Cold Fusion application server.

The tool will analyze scripts in a Web file to detect file inclusions, global variables, and links to database objects such as tables and stored procedures. A user could, for instance, swiftly determine where a particular database connection route is used across multiple tiers.

CAST's Workbench, on which e-Analyzer is built, has helped the Harvard Management Co. cut down on maintenance and development time for a Sybase Inc. database that manages financial data, said Lorne Colena, project leader for the Harvard University subsidiary in Boston, Mass.

"It's a time savings -- that's the biggest positive it delivers. It's time not spent developing documentation or manually debugging stored procedures," Colena said. "One of the components has the capability to develop SQL to go out and move the database schema -- to do that manually takes time, and it can be a complex, tedious task."

Harvard Management rolled out the software about a year ago, Colena said. "We were hard pressed to find something that had the breadth of technology that they have," he said.

Now shipping, e-Analyzer supports databases from Oracle Corp., Microsoft and Sybase Inc. Pricing begins at $2,800 per user.

CAST, founded in 1990 in Paris, is at