NO-GUESS SOFTWARE TESTING
WHEN NETSCAPE COMMUNICATIONS CORP.(NSCP) RELEASES an early version of its Communicator 4.5 browser to an estimated 5 million testers next month, a smidgen of code from Full Circle Software Inc. will go along for the ride. While Netscape's updated browser delivers a host of new features, Full Circle's Talkback software may end up stealing the show. The first-of-its-kind technology automatically reports software bugs to program developers via the Net. That could transform the way software is tested.
Until now, software makers have relied on volunteer testers of early version programs to record problems and send in lengthy reports. Then, product designers have to pore over the reports, trying to make sense of often incomplete information. This has made the testing process long, expensive, and faulty. And the all-too-common result has been software that is seldom bug-free.
With the Mountain View (Calif.) company's technology, when something goes awry, the software works like the ''black box'' on an airliner, making a detailed account of what happened and, subject to the user's approval, sending the results to the software developer. There, server software analyzes the info and issues reports that can be used to fix problems.
EDITED BY HEATHER GREEN
Updated June 25, 1998 by bwwebmaster
Copyright 1998, Bloomberg L.P.