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March 28, 1996

X/OPEN CREATES SOFTWARE REGISTRY

By CBR Staff Writer

X/Open Co Ltd is taking another run at trying to ease users’ procurement decisions by creating a Software Registry of application plugs that work with architectural sockets conforming to its Common Application Environment specifications, including Spec 1170 and the Common Desktop Environment. The Registry is the latest in a series of false starts for X/Open, which has had little joy encouraging users or independent software vendors to test software against its specifications. X/Open will make the Registry’s information repository freely available to all users and is designing the thing to answer fundamental questions such as what works with what? The Registry will record details of what applications run on which X/Open-compliant systems as well as which pieces of application code are dependent on other pieces and/or specific system implementation. It will also store details of which application programming interfaces those applications call. X/Open hopes use of the Registry as part of users’ procurement processes will encourage independent software vendors to test their applications against its specifications – using tools from companies such as Mortice Kern Software Inc, Abraxus Inc, Parasoft Corp and Knowledge Software Inc – and submit the results of testing to the Registry. A beta program runs to the end of June using a Lite version of Mortice Kern Systems Inc’s Code Integrity application programming interface tester, which is a product version of the TenDRA compiler technology developed by the UK’s Defense Research Agency. The standards body – now subsumed under the Open Group umbrella – believes the Registry process will help independent software vendors create a single version of an application that will run across multiple implementations of X/Open or other standard group’s specifications. The hope is that with each new specification a standards body – X/Open, the Object Management Group or any other – will deliver an applications programming interface database which can be made available to the Software Registry. One proposal is to include APIW – the ersatz Windows application programming interface concocted by the anti-Redmond brigade – once it is ratified by the International Standards Organization. The next part of the jigsaw is to bring plug and socket testing into line. X/Open is already using Sun Labs’s Assertion Definition Language to generate application programming interface test suite documents for the Object Group’s Corba 2 socket, its first large-scale use of Assertion Definition Language. Although TenDRA’s Ptech notation is currently incompatible with Assertion Definition Language’s C-like syntax, X/Open says it will not take too much work to bring them together in a future release of Assertion Definition Language supporting TenDRA and other test tool syntaxes. However there is not much point in trying to match plugs to socket specifications that do not yet exist, it observes.

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