Keen to make sure we can all develop applications really good like what they do, IBM has this week started talking about the latest version of its Rational Software Analyser product which ships with a new ‘grammar checking’ function.
Big Blue says that the “new” offering can automate defect checking and catch bugs earlier in production. In what are presumably in-house figures, IBM’s product pages tell us that, “Currently, most software developers test applications for defects right before the application goes into production - when 90 per cent of the software code is already written.”
From what I know, this is a tough truism to argue against, I think we’d mostly like to say that the above figure is less than 90 per cent. But in reality, there’s enough poor programming practice around to give sufficient weight to that kind of claim.
The answer, or at least part of it, could be to focus on reducing the time development teams spend on time consuming manual testing processes. Obvious for the most part yes, but perhaps it still has to be said.
The new grammar module aims to target those errors that can be picked up and corrected during the ‘fluid’ process of development as it actually happens. It flags errors and suggests fixes as you work in the same way that Word does.
Can it catch everything? I don’t know – I would hazard a guess and say no, but surely this must help. Unless it fails fouls of Word’s inherent inability to adapt to the nuances of languages and the idiomatic meanings that can sometimes be implied rather than specified by English as a language.
PAPER CLIP: “It looks like you’re trying to create a facility to execute a command or script from inside the context of the database engine, would you like some help?”
CLICK: “Yes please” or “No, please leave me the hell alone.”
So will programmers be aware of these inconsistencies if they exist at the ‘code face’ and be experienced enough to catch them? That’s my question.
IBM says that, “Rational Software Analyser can automatically scan each line of code up to 700 times, ‘grammar checking’ the code before it goes into production. Just as in book publishing, where there is a great need to catch mistakes before a book appears in bookstores, the cost of identifying and fixing errors in software code rises exponentially the further along a programmer is in the development process.”
Anyway, if you’re not a Morecambe and Wise fan, I guess you may not follow the meaning behind my above title. So please click the first live linked word in this blog.