Compuware has announced a modernised development environment for managing mainframe application development.
Compuware Workbench provides an Eclipse-based graphical user interface (GUI), which the firm said will help to extend the value of mainframe investments by improving developer productivity.
Rose Rowe, Compuware's mainframe strategy vice president, told V3.co.uk that the launch is in response to customer demand for a common framework and single development platform to simplify application management in mainframe and distributed environments.
"Our customers are very happy with Workbench because the only alternatives [cost more] than the value they were getting from them," she said.
Tyler Allman, mainframe solutions product manager at Compuware, added that " less is more" when it comes to preparing new generations of developers to work with mainframes.
"Some competitors' products offer local compilers for the desktop and laptop and all sort of different frameworks and methodologies," he said.
"But add the cost associated with per-seat licensing, and then substantial new kit to run this all on, plus the requirement for a highly educated helpdesk to maintain hundreds of thousands of development images, and some enterprises have said enough is enough."
Roy Illsley, principal analyst at Ovum, said IT departments had realised that mainframes still offer certain characteristic advantages over distributed infrastructures, including security, reliability and cost effectiveness. He added that it was therefore no surprise that Compuware, like its competitors, had extended more modern development features to its mainframe products.
"The differentiator for Compuware is that it seems to be positioning [its new GUI Workbench environment] as a platform for non-dedicated mainframe users, whereas competitive products have been mainly aimed at mainframe-centric users, " Illsley said.
"It seems to be offering a lighter-weight environment for those developers more familiar with Ruby On Rails or .NET, for example, where all they want to do is develop their application and then use an extensible tool they can pick up and quickly apply in the mainframe world. They may need to move it into another area for testing and debugging, but I think Compuware is quite right to give younger generations of application developers the tools to adapt to mainframe environments quickly."
Compuware is offering Workbench at no extra cost to existing product maintenance customers, along with the choice of a traditional 'green screen' (TSO/ISPF) interface or GUI environment. This will increase developer productivity across different skill sets, according to the company, while speeding application deployment time and return on investment.
The initial release of Compuware Workbench is scheduled for August.
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