Reasoning Inc has launched what might be the answer to business managers’ and auditors’ Year 2000-compliance nightmares with a tool that enables automatic inspection of programming code supposedly fixed for Year 2000 compliance, and reports on any non-compliance prior to systems going into the testing phase. Reasoning/2000 for Inspection is designed to inspect Cobol code that has already been remediated to correct Year 2000 problems, whichever method has been used for the remediation. It could be the first tool on the market to offer some form of proof that a system either is, or is not, Year 2000 compliant. As well as shortening the time needed for testing systems for Year 2000 compliance, the Inspection toolset could well be used by companies that want to ensure their suppliers are or will be Year 2000-compliant. The company can enter its own definitions about what constitutes compliance, and it is conceivable that a big organization might insist its suppliers have their code inspected. Similarly, any manager having to sign a document to say the company’s systems are Year 2000-compliant and any auditor could use Inspector to provide a reasonable idea of the state of readiness of the code. Reasoning itself has its own Year 2000 ‘find and fix’ tool, Reasoning/2000 (CI No 3,293), which uses the company’s Code Base Management System to perform code transformations.
By Joanne Wallen
However, the company says it has never promised a ‘silver bullet’ which would fix 100% of problems. It gives no guarantees that it will catch 100% of dates, and accepts that the new Inspection tool could easily find non-compliant code among code which had been remediated using Reasoning/2000. Terry Rollo, the company’s vice president sales for Europe, said any remediation tools, and certainly any work done manually, would throw up errors and date fields that had been missed. The Inspection tool takes methodologies used in manual code inspection, such as those developed by Edward Yourdon in the US, where an independent inspector would sit down with the code author, a scribe and a mediator, and go through every line of code checking the logic of that code, and produce error reports. Reasoning’s tool produces both detailed non-compliance reports showing each line of code concerned, and also summarized audit reports, which would give managers and system auditors numbers of lines of code tested and numbers of errors. Based on the detailed reports, the find and fix tools can be given different sets of rules, and re-run. One of the biggest problems with Year 2000 compliance is its definition. What exactly do we mean by a system being compliant? The Reasoning/2000 Inspection tool incorporates 50 parameters or definitions of Year 2000 compliance, based on commonly accepted definitions, but it also enables users to add their own definition criteria. While Reasoning is more than happy to license the tool to companies, Rollo says organizations would need a huge infrastructure in place, including some hefty Sun Microsystems Inc machines to run the programs, and he believes most people will take a service-based offering either directly from Reasoning, or from one of its service partners. Companies will send their code to a Code Transformation center, either one of Reasoning’s or its partners, and the center will run all the inspection work for them. In the UK, Reasoning has just licensed reseller Ciriz Technologies, Marlow, Buckinghamshire, which already provides Reasoning remediation services, to provide code inspection services, and it will be recruiting other partners across Europe. A 50-person operation can handle around 200 million to 300 million lines of code in a year, Rollo says. The cost is likely to be between $0.50 and $0.60 per line of code.
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