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Component bugs stamped out

Intrinsa ships a tool that can simulate millions of lines of code to help developers test software components as they build them.

    Software company Intrinsa has begun shipping a tool that can simulate millions of lines of code to help developers test software components as they build them.

    The product, called Prefix, uses Intrinsa's software component simulation technology to detect programming errors in individual components under development without actually running all the pieces of software together.

    Mike Belshe, an engineer at Netscape Communications gives the tool a good report card after using it for three months to test his code.

    "We are just getting started with it, but it has some promise" to help developers exterminate bugs early, Belshe said. The tool saves him time and effort by simulating various test cases to run his code against, he said.

    Yet Belshe said Prefix is not likely to eliminate testing at the end of development to double check the code. "I suspect there will always be a need for test cases," he said.

    The initial version works with C applications. The company said it plans to support Java, Visual Basic, and C++ in an upcoming release.

    Built around a simulation engine that generates models for each required component function, the product allows developers to detect and correct coding errors before they become bugs, quickening development time and speeding along integration of components developed in teams. The tool will also work to identify bugs in deployed code, the company said.

    The product, which has spent five months in testing, is available on Sun Microsystems' Solaris Unix operating system and Hewlett-Packard's HP-UX, and supports native C compilers. The price is $40,000 for a simulation engine, operating system models, and a ten-user license. Additional licenses are sold individually, the company said.