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Visual Basic gets support

When Microsoft's Visual Basic 5.0 development tool hits store shelves next month, a handful of supporting tools will be ready as well.

When Microsoft's Visual Basic 5.0 development tool hits store shelves next month, a handful of supporting tools will be ready as well.

Today, Rational Software and SQA said they are readying application modeling and testing tools that work with VB 5.0. The companies also said a planned merger, announced last November, is expected to be finalized later this month.

Rational sells Rational Rose, an object-based application modeling tool, which lets developers map out their planned applications, before writing any code. SQA makes SQA Suite, a tool for testing code for bugs before being deployed.

The new versions of the tools, Rational Rose/Visual Basic 4.0 and SQA Suite 6.0, now support Microsoft's ActiveX component architecture.

Rational Rose users can model ActiveX components and automatically generate the code to build them. Users can also reverse-engineer existing components and incorporate them into a Rational Rose model.

SQA Suite now automatically tests ActiveX components, as well as entire VB applications.

Both tools will ship concurrently with VB 5.0, now planned to reach stores in late March. Rational Rose/Visual Basic 4.0 is priced at $2,400 per user on Windows 95 and Windows NT and at $6,000 on Unix operating systems. SQA Suite runs on Windows 95 and Windows NT and costs $3,295 per user.

Rational and Microsoft have a long-standing relationship. In October, Rational purchased Microsoft's Visual Test, an automated software testing tool, and signed a deal to license technology from its Rational Rose visual modeling tool to Microsoft for inclusion in future versions of Microsoft's Visual Basic, Visual C++, Visual J++, and other tools.

Rational in turn agreed to license Microsoft's Developer Studio, a development tool user interface technology, along with Microsoft's upcoming development repository for storing reusable object code. In addition, the company will build a new set of enterprise-scale modeling tools designed to work with Microsoft tools.

Rational also said it would extend Visual SourceSafe, Microsoft's version control software, by adding software change management and process automation features.