Click on our Sponsors to help Support SunWorld

Next-generation Sun WorkShop aims to cut development time and boost software quality -- even more

Among the new features, programmers and test engineers get 3D data visualization, GUI testing, and reengineering tools

By Stephen Lawton

January  1997
[Next story]
[Table of Contents]
Subscribe to SunWorld, it's free!

Mail this
article to
a friend
Mountain View, CA -- Jan. 14, 1997 -- Sun Microsystems today is raising the ante in the development tools market by adding capabilities to test and view code, as well as create and import graphical user interfaces.

Jon Williams, group marketing manager for SunSoft, characterized the upgrades to Sun's Visual WorkShop for C++ 3.0 and Performance WorkShop for Fortran 3.0 as a "usability release." He told SunWorld that the goal was to make it faster and easier for developers working with the popular programming languages, including Fortran, C/C++, and Pascal.

While both packages have some of the same components, Visual Workshop is designed for the applications programmer and adds a GUI builder and C++ tools, while the Performance Workshop is designed for test engineers and those more concerned with optimizing software. In conjunction with the WorkShop upgrades, Sun released WorkShop TeamWare 2.0, a configuration management package that is bundled with the WorkShop offerings, and is also being sold as a stand-alone package.

Among the added features in the WorkShop upgrades are:

New features added to the Visual GUI builder include:


Speeding time to market
Using the GUI creation tool, Williams says, a developer can create the front-end for a Unix and Windows NT application using a single design document.

The testing tools in the Visual Workshop package permit the developer to test code while it's being developed, much like a Web developer can check hot links before a Web page is deployed. By reducing errors before code goes to the quality control department, he says, applications can be completed in a fraction of the time.

visual workshop screen shot

The packages also allow developers to create programs for multiprocessor/multithreaded environments. In a single-processor environment, he says, threads will help keep the I/O lines from becoming saturated.

Tools provided in the performance package allow users to run existing code through an auto-parallelization algorithm, which then displays how the code can be modified to improve performance. In cases where the code cannot be parallelized, Williams says, the program identifies the barrier and allows the programmer to override it, thus permitting the parallelization program to further speed up the process. In some cases, Williams says, the auto-parallelization tool will identify a situation the developer might not have known existed.

While many of the features found in the WorkShop also are available from other vendors, Williams says the integration of all the features is less common. Instead, he says, it is more common to buy the performance tools separately from the GUI testing and reengineering tools, and the runtime error checking tool as yet another separate purchase.

List price for the Visual WorkShop for C++ or Performance WorkShop for Fortran is $3,495, with upgrades priced at $1,095. A competitive upgrade for the Visual WorkShop product for Hewlett-Packard and Centerline users is $1,995, although Williams says he does not expect this option to have many takers. Centerline, he says, asked Sun to offer the upgrade due to Centerline's move out of the tools business and its focus on the testing business. This upgrade will be used to support existing customers. Workshop TeamWare lists for $1,295 with upgrades priced at $340. The packages also are available through Sun's Try-and-Buy Web site. All products are currently being shipped.

A WorkShop University Edition, which includes Visual WorkShop C++, Fortran 77 and Fortran 90 compilers, the performance library, and a Pascal compiler, is also offered with a domain-based license. Universities are recommended to contact Sun for details.

--Stephen Lawton

Click on our Sponsors to help Support SunWorld


What did you think of this article?
-Very worth reading
-Worth reading
-Not worth reading
-Too long
-Just right
-Too short
-Too technical
-Just right
-Not technical enough

[Table of Contents]
Subscribe to SunWorld, it's free!
[Next story]
Sun's Site

[(c) Copyright  Web Publishing Inc., and IDG Communication company]

If you have technical problems with this magazine, contact

Last modified: