iRise Adds Application Simulation To BEA WebLogic Workshop

iRise Application Simulator 3.1, which provides business analysts with a way to simulate an application during the requirements phase of the application lifecycle, also includes enhancements to the tool's data sourcing and business logic features, said Emmet Keeffe, CEO and co-founder of iRise, El Segundo, Calif.

iRise's Application Simulator allows business analysts without technical expertise to simulate applications according to the business requirements they write for the application, Keeffe said.

Business analysts can use a combination of text and visual cues to build a simulated application in a whiteboard environment, and then run the program to see how it would behave in a deployment situation. This allows them to find possible errors or missing requirements before the application is coded by the development team and deployed, Keeffe said.

New in version 3.1 is integration with BEA's WebLogic Workshop 8.1 tool through iRise's longstanding relationship with BEA, Keeffe said. Now once a business analyst has built a simulated application in iRise's software, he or she can pre-generate those assets in Workshop to help developers write code that is more easily associated with the simulated application, he said.

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This integration between the tools also gives project developers "traceability down the road do impact analysis if any of those requirements change," he added.

Application Simulator 3.1 also includes new features allowing users to tie data sources to the simulated application so they can see how the application will access data from back-end sources in actual deployment, he said.

iRise was formed in 1996 as a consultant firm providing custom application building and services, but four years ago began developing software when it discovered that there was an opportunity to make the requirements phase of a project more efficient for a development team, Keeffe said.

"We discovered a painful problem in the area of requirements and how these systems get specified," Keeffe said. "It's hard for people to articulate the requirements of [an application]."

Keeffe said that on most projects, application requirements, written by business analysts and others in the company who require an application to behave in a certain way to meet business needs, are compiled in various documents such as Word or Excel files. Those documents are cumbersome and sometimes do not forsee everything detail business analysts might need so developers can build a suitable application in the end, he said. In some situations, this can result in costly late-cycle changes to an application once it is deployed.

"It's similar to building a house and at the end you find out the garage is in the wrong place," Keeffe said. "That's an expensive change to make."

In addition to its partnership with BEA, iRise also works closely with IBM and Sun Microsystems, and has several partnerships with regional solution providers. The company is working to build out its channel presence and encourage more systems integrators to include iRise software as part of their services methodology, Keeffe said. "We want to work with large consultancy firms so they can have visual simulation be a regular part of their practice," he said.