Bob Stanneveld - Professional Profile
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If you want to write an application that would help reduce development costs you will first need to narrow your scope. The development process is quite large and there is room for a cost saving utilty at most any time during the process (There may be tools that can be used throughout, however, but these are generally much more comprehensive tools but if you have the time this can also be the scope!).
After you choose the direction you want to focus on I would then find out what tools currently exist. I would find news groups, message boards and find out what problems developers face that you believe may reduce costs if they had a simpler solution. You could even start your own poll. Once you find out what their problems are, see what tools they use and if there are already existing tools. If there are find out why they don't meed the requirements. You may then take these requirements into a new tool or you could find out if existing tools have integration APIs that would allow you to extend them.
Here are some examples.
Development Phase: Design
Sample Tools: UML, XML, Microsoft Word, MS Paint, Photoshop, Graphical Flow Charts
Sample Complaint: The UML designer is hard to use so I spend most of my time manually creating my designs in MS Paint.
Development Phase: Implementation
Sample Tools: Visual C++ IDE, Visual Slick Editor
Sample Complaint: Visual C++ IDE locks up constantly and I spend a lot of time waiting for information tags to show up.
Development Phase: Unit Testing
Sample Tools: VM Ware
Sample Complaint: VMWare doesn't support my USB mouse. I have a hard time managing multiple VMs and it takes me hours to setup the test.
Development Phase: Testing
Sample Tools: Mercury Loadrunner, Scripts, UI Automation, Bug Tracking Software
Sample Complaint: The UI automation tester constaintly misses UI and the test stops half way through. A machine runs out of memory but before I come back to check on it it's already hosed and I can't get any useful information to fix it so I need to take another 5 days to rerun the test. Bugtracking is manual process and our tools are very slow.
Development Environment: Entire Process
Sample Tools: document repository, bugtracking software, unit test library, source control software
Sample Complaint: I have to go to 50 tools to do my job.
So I would do some research and find out what's a big complaint with engineers and what's not already out there that could be done to make people more productive.
BTW, Check out the November issue of C/C++ User's Journal!
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